It took me all of 30 minutes of roaming the internet before I determined that "Clintons4McCain.com" was a product of the Right-Wing Smear Machine.
Yet, despite the repeated warnings from Chuck Todd that the media were over-hyping the story of a battle between Hillary supporters and Obama supporters, MSNBC's "Hardball" crew took the bait -- hook, line, and sinker -- ending its show Monday by visiting the crowd and interviewing representatives of Clintons4McCain.com.
You can watch the video for yourself, but in short, Hardball host Chris Matthews allowed a woman named Cristi Adkins to proclaim that Obama should not be president because he was a "registered Muslim" in Indonesia. Matthews, smelling something fishy, at first pressed Ms. Adkins and finally walked away in disgust because it was clear Ms. Adkins could not only not support her claims, which amounted simply to untethered religious-cultural bias, but was also citing dodgy "official-sounding" sources for her smears.
Now, maybe MSNBC and the Hardball crew were looking for a fight and wanted to recreate another "Kevin James Beatdown," but if that were the case, then Matthews would have asked Ms. Adkins why "Clintons4McCain.com" is so eerily similar to "ClintonsForMcCain.com", which never took flight because on June 5th Wired reported that the website was registered by the Republican National Committee. ("Clintons4McCain.com" was registered on June 4th...perhaps someone knew about the article that was to come out the next day?)
Matthews could have also asked about the fact that Clintons4McCain co-founder Cristi Adkins is married to a media strategist named Bruce Allen of Allen Media Strategies, a firm with clients that include Fox News Channel employees, and Allen Media Stations, which owns several radio stations, including one that broadcasts The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly.
The Clintons4McCain.com blogspot page, offers a link to the American Issues Project -- yes, the group funded by the SwiftBoater Billionaire Harold Simmons that is trying to tie Obama to the acts of William Ayers when Obama was 8 years old.
Now, the Hardball crew had to have been setting up to shoot for quite a while, and Matthews did not go down to interview the crowd until the end of the hour-long program. Why didn't anyone bother to look up anything on Clintons4McCain.com? After all, they had a huge banner with the Clintons4McCain.com logo on it, and should have had plenty of time.
The truth is, the Right-Wing Smear Machine is ever evolving. More than just a group of conservatives that send out false emails, they are taking advantage of the increasing ratings found on cable news television and jumping at every opportunity to be seen.
There's no telling where the smears are going to show up next, but if the liberal media at MSNBC weren't quick enough to catch it, the Obama campaign will continually be spending more time on the defensive than it would like.
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