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A Smear Attack on James Webb

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This piece originally appeared on The Patriot Project

In the last few days there have been accusations from several sources that Virginia Senator George Allen has a serious race problem.  Of course this hit the news when a videotape surfaced showing Allen calling a brown-skinned man “Macaca” and saying to him “Welcome to America” (the man, unlike Allen, was born and raised in Virginia).  But more recently there have been accusations of regular use of the “N-word” racial slur as well as a charge by two people that Allen placed a severed deer head in the mailbox of “the nearest black person.”

If you have been reading Patriot Project you know how these kinds of things are handled:  Accuse the accuser.  A strong attack “provides cover,” deflecting attention from your own problems.  And today, the day after new racial charges surfaced against Sen. Allen, we see exactly that.  From WUSA TV 9 News Now in Washington, DC, comes: More Racial Accusations in Va. Senate Race,

"A Vietnam vet who interviewed U.S. Senate candidate Jim Webb for a newspaper article in 1983 says the Democrat told him of college pranks he took part in 20 years earlier in which racial epithets were used and guns pointed at African Americans on the streets of Watts.

Dan Cragg, who later worked with Webb at the Pentagon during the Reagan Administration, says Webb's account is missing both from the tape recording and transcript of his interview with the rising star among Vietnam veterans. Cragg says he doesn't remember if he erased that part of the tape or failed to record that part of the interview." [emphasis added]

This is about what we have come to expect from a smear these days – a completely unsubstantiated claim from a right-wing partisan regarding something from 23 years ago, not reported at the time, no tape, no notes and no surprise.  Except for one thing – with nothing to substantiate it, and with suspect timing, the Washington Post repeated the smear

"Webb's comments to the Times-Dispatch prompted Allen campaign officials to direct a reporter to Dan Cragg, a former acquaintance of Webb's, who said Webb used the word while describing his own behavior during his freshman year at the University of Southern California in the early 1960s. Webb later transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Cragg, 67, who lives in Fairfax County, said on Wednesday that Webb described taking drives through the black neighborhood of Watts, where he and members of his ROTC unit used racial epithets and pointed fake guns at blacks to scare them.

"They would hop into their cars, and would go down to Watts with these buddies of his," Cragg said Webb told him. "They would take the rifles down there. They would call then [epithets], point the rifles at them, pull the triggers and then drive off laughing. One night, some guys caught them and beat . . . them. And that was the end of that."

Cragg said Webb told him the Watts story during a 1983 interview for a Vietnam veterans magazine. Cragg, who described himself as a Republican who would vote for Allen, did not include the story in his article. He provided a transcript of the interview, but the transcript does not contain the ROTC story. He said he still remembers the exchange vividly more than 20 years later."

Dan Cragg is a prolific “military science fiction” author, who has written Op-Eds and over 100 book reviews for the Unification Church (“Moonies”) publication The Washington Times.  He is described in his author bio as “an analyst for the Defense Department.”  A search for Dan Cragg does, in fact, turn up several recent (as in Bush administration employee) Defense Department references.  So while the story is correct that Cragg worked for the Reagan administration, it omits the information that Cragg also worked or recently worked for the Bush administration.

There is something else we have come to expect from a smear: a very wide echo and amplification effect from conservative outlets.  Note how the accusation is amplified and extended into “racist past,” and “terrorized Black Americans.”

Media Research Center’s Newsbusters:  WaPo - Shhh ... Jim Webb May Have Racist Past

Right Wing News: James Webb's Sex And N-Bomb-A-Palooza!

…now there is an accusation out there that Webb was calling black Americans, "racial epithets and pointed fake guns at blacks to scare them."

(Includes an extensively-researched list of out-of-context quotes from Webb’s books.)

Captain’s Quarters: Did The Washington Post Miss Its Own Story Yesterday?

… but the Post published this rather damning story from one of Webb's former acquaintances:

Webb's comments to the Times-Dispatch prompted Allen campaign officials to direct a reporter to Dan Cragg, a former acquaintance of Webb's, who said Webb used the word while describing his own behavior during his freshman year at the University of Southern California in the early 1960s.

La Shawn Barber: George Allen and James Webb: Confederacy of Dunces?

So I heard that one of Virginia governor George Allen’s old college football teammates said that someone told him Allen used to call black people “niggers,” and some guy told someone else that James Webb, his Democratic opponent, used to call black people “niggers,” too.

Sister Toldjah: Did Webb use the “n” word, too?

Redstate: Jim Webb And The "N" Word

Redstate: Jim Webb's Very Bad Day

GOP Bloggers: Webb's N-Word Problem

United Conservatives of Virginia: Jimmy's Got Some 'Splainin' To Do

Spark it Up: Jim Webb goes Hunting in Watts

Bearing Drift: Jim Webb has a colorful vocabulary too?

SkepticalObservor: BREAKING NEWS --- James Webb Terrorized Black Americans

“… reporting that James Webb organized his ROTC unit to terrorize Black citizens in the Watts section of Los Angeles.”

 

So how far will this smear spread?  That's up to you. 

The Patriot Project is working to expose the front groups, their funding, their connections and their tactics.

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