Sunday, September 21, 2008

Illegal Anti-Palin Video Traced Directly To Obama's Campaign Manager's PR Firm

This is huge.

You may have noticed a lot of 'concerned Christian conservatives' and 'lifetime Republicans' leaving comments on the net and repeating anti-Palin talking points.

Well it turns out that this smear campaign is not exactly the grassroots campaign it was supposed to be, but was orchestrated directly by David Axelrod's PR firm. The PR term for this is 'astro turfing' and Axelrod is reportedly a master of the craft.

And this time, it appears they crossed the line and violated FEC rules. Rusty at the Jawa Report has the story:

Our research suggests that a subdivision of one of the largest public relations firms in the world most likely started and promulgated rumors about Sarah Palin that were known to be false. These rumors were spread in a surreptitious manner to avoid exposure.

It is also likely that the PR firm was paid by outside sources to run the smear campaign. While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign. Namely:

Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.

The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.

Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.

Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.

The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.

This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod's firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as "astroturfing."

David Axelrod is Barack Obama's chief media strategist.

The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.

This suggests that false rumors and outright lies about Sarah Palin and John McCain being spread on the Internet are being orchestrated by political partisans and are not an organic grassroots phenomenon led by the left wing fringe.

So, distasteful as it is, why is it a crime? Because Federal election law requires that all political ads have a disclaimer from those paying for campaign ads is legally mandated to appear on any "electioneering communication" and on any public ad by anyone that advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or solicits funds in connection with a federal election.

Even when the ad isn't paid for by a candidates campaign, "the disclaimer notice must identify who paid for the message, state that it was not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee and list the permanent street address, telephone number or World Wide Web address of the person who paid for the communication."

Guess what ..there's no disclaimer on this particular ad. What it looks like here is that the ad was professionally produced but put on YouTube ( and later places like Democratic Underground) as a 'grassroots' ad then spread in such a way as to make it seem like amateurs had made it and gone viral with it. And that's illegal.

Even 527 groups like MoveOn are required to report money spent on advertising opposing a candidate for public office. So if some group paid for the making of this professionally done video and then didn't report it to the FEC, it's a major breach of federal campaign law.

Proof of how bad this is can be seen by the fact that no sooner had the blogosphere broken this than the videos were scrubbed of of YouTube...but not quite fast enough, as both Rusty and Ace have downloaded copies and will be hosting them on their servers.

Ace connects the dots:

"If, as seems to be the case, Axelrod hired Winner and Associates to do this, then there had better be a disclosure somewhere in Obama's FEC filings that he's hired this company through Axelrod. If he's deliberately hiding firms he knows to be working for him, that has got to be a violation of the law{...}

Tomorrow they will claim this was all inadvertent, etc. They'll say they did produce the ad, and sent it to Winner and Associates to, um, focus-group or something, then decided not to run it, but that dirty Winner family and its employees attempted to get it to go viral without their authorization.


If this is all so innocent, why are the videos being yanked even as we speak?

Just about one hour after the post went up, "cnwinner," "eswinner" and the rest of the winner gang are yanking their videos.

Almost as if... I don't know, some kind of major campaign organization was patrolling the internet 24/7.

Can we believe "cnwinner," "eswinner," and etc. just all suddenly were monitoring the internet and decided to take their videos down simultaneously?

No, we cannot.

Can we believe Winner & Associates scours the internet 24 hours a day for derogatory stories about them?

No, we cannot.

But -- can we believe the Obama campaign has people watching the internet 24/7 and just sent out the call to Winner & Associates to bury the evidence?

Yes we can, friends.

Yes we can.

You guys put it out there. Dishonestly. You tried to get it to go viral without the Obama campaign's fingerprints on it.

Well, it's about to go viral, guys. More viral than you ever expected. And it's now news -- and possible evidence of a crime..."

Caught like the rats they are.... Ace and Rusty, major kudos for breaking this open.


Sabra said...

This is so worthy of front page news. Is it even being reported in any of the papers in the States? Or news networks??? [Yeah. Right...]

Another case of "nothing to see here, folks, move along..."

Freedom Fighter said...

Hey B,

Oh, I think it may have some legs if an FEC complaint is lodged...but we'll see that as a footnote, likely after the elections. That's what happened with Kerry.

Happy Ramadanadingdong!

All Best,