Here's one of the ways the right's smear machine works. Far-right blogs post something. Then a site higher up their food chain picks it up, like NewsMax, CNSNews, WorldNetDaily or Politico. Then the Drudge Report or Moon's Washington Times gets it from there and spreads the story further. Somewhere in there Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity talks about it on the air. Finally the corporate media picks it up and uses the excuse that "the story is circulating."
Here's an example today. "Someone" posted an anti-semitic comment at the Obama blog. (See if you can guess who posted a comment that a right-wing blog knew about a few minutes later.) A few minutes later the hate site Little Green Footballs wrote a post saying that the Obama blog says so-and-so. (If you don't know about this site, spend a few minutes there and you'll get the picture. No, it is not a parody of right-wing nuttiness.) Then dozens of far-right-wing sites quickly echoed the "story." It rapidly turns into a great big right-wing hissy fit.
Soon the right's Politico has picked it up. (Which shows they're spending time reading hate sites.) And then Rush Limbaugh talked about it on his show.
You see, someone (guess who) leaving a comment at the Obama site proves that Obama is anti-semitic. You'll be hearing about it from every direction very soon.
Here is what Politico wrote:
So bloggers - watch out. Right-wingers are posting vile comments at blogs, and then claiming that blog's readers are saying vile things.
Little Green Footballs finds some eyebrow-raisin stuff on Obama's site with the search term "Jewish Lobby." Of course, it's not fair to hold Obama responsible for the occasional crazy post. But it seems reasonable to try to characterize the community, something I haven't seen done, and it's interesting to see what gets taken down and what doesn't -- inevitably a community and moderator choice.