Stop Attacking My.BarackObama.com

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The conservative blogosphere is in a full-on feeding frenzy over an anti-Semitic, user generated blog post on My.BarackObama.com entitled "How the Jewish lobby works." The Obama campaign has, appropriately, scrubbed the post from its website.

At LGF, Charles Johnson sums up the usual guilt-by-association argument:

By the way, it is absolutely no excuse to say that “anyone can post a blog there.” Barack Obama isn’t running a Blogspot blog, he’s running for president of the United States, and his official web site is full of hatred and antisemitism.

The Obama campaign is right and Charles, Hot Air, Malkin, and the rest of the conservative blogosphere are wrong.

Stories like this win tactical, one-day skirmishes but lose us the broader war. The damage to the Obama campaign will last 24-48 hours, and by then we'll have moved on to the next line of attack. But in the meantime, thousands more people will sign up to My.BarackObama.com. They'll form groups, RSVP to events, and yes, maybe write an off-color blogpost or two. They'll solidify their commitment to a community that's fanatically dedicated to electing Barack Obama president. And while the pundit-blogosphere may dismiss them, the people on MyBO are building the most fearsome volunteer organization in the history of Presidential politics. 

The old school consultants will take heart in the blog feeding frenzy, and feel vindicated in their decision to run a play-it-safe, Web 1.0 campaign. So they'll use the clips from this to veto open systems and user generated content on candidate websites. And a few months later, they'll wonder why their website is so lame and why they're getting clobbered by the Democrats online.

This is not the first user-generated content scandal on MyBO (see here and here), and it won't be the last.

Each time, the blogosphere could take pleasure in getting its scalp. But what's happened after each of these incidents? Has the Obama online operation been weakened? No. They keep growing bigger and bigger and bigger. And by continually harping on stuff like this, you're teaching our people to build lame one-way sites that don't raise any money or generate any activism.

There's a reason that we here at The Next Right have chosen an open format in which anyone can blog, not unlike MyBO. Because it works. It builds more traffic, more community, and more engagement. If someone posts something defamatory or racist or antisemitic, you can be sure we'll do exactly what the Obama campaign did: take it down.

I hope the media doesn't bite on this. I hope this story blows over. Because we don't need to discredit the My.BarackObama.com model. We need something just like it.

UPDATE: Micah Sifry has more thoughts on the organization that Obama has built in part through My.BarackObama.com. If you don't think this is a problem, you need to lay off the crackpipe.

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Comments

I thought the bigger story here was...

.....the fact that the article was posted by a guy running "Socialists for Obama".  Apparently the Obama campaign feels it is ok to host a socialists group on their official webpage.

My gut here is that Patrick is right

I do think that Obama's associations are fair game. I am just not sure that this is the way to do it.

No association

This really wasn't an Obama association. It was some crackpot who took advantage of My.BarackObama.com's openness.

You'd think by now people would accept on the web works. I'm sure in LGF's and Hot Air's cases they've had plenty of nasty comments that ended up being deleted. Imagine if ThinkProgress took the time to document all those instances.

Hey Mr. Ruffini...

...its called politics.  Its a full contact sport.  Don't be such a girlie man. 

Priorities

It's not about having weak-kneed politics. It's about not accepting the current state of technology for what it is, and not thinking through.

How does pointing out a nasty weblog post prevent Obama from winning the election? It doesn't when the campaign took said post down. Critics should spend more time actually analyzing how liberal Obama is or do some actual investigating to solidfy the links between the Senator and Chicago radicals. Doing that would have a more lasting effect.

critics should...

...use every opportunity available to expose BO's closet anti-semitism.  Including this opportunity. Its there. Laying [not so] dormant.  We know because of his past associations. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW4ZcY-VHA4&eurl=http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/07/video-hannity-on-the-obama-khalidi-connection/ 

You know we've had to endure this disgusting, weak, nauseating, "New Tone"  method of dealing w/dem's for over 7 years now.  Long since past time to take the gloves off.  DD

Not about "New Tone"

I believe in intellectual honesty and a move away from pointless tit-for-tats.

If I actually see evidence of anti-semitism from Obama I want that pushed to the max. All I've seen at worst (based on his AIPAC speech) is incoherent foreign policy. But that's something I knew he had for months.

Concur Yr Analysis

My eyes opened just now... Not because you wrote "We something just like it" and meant to write "We HAVE something just like it...", but because leftists, racists, socialists and the like WILL and ARE FORMING links and webs, to power their empty suit into a position of power, hoping (as one commenter posted) "rule the world"...

And I concur that we should do the same... and when we find sleazy, salacious, racist stuff on our sites, shovel it off, polish the woodwork and continue forging wide-ranging alliances with similar humanity-based, coherent, rational and change-oriented people.

interesting point

You make an interesting point. I'm not sure I agree with it, but it's a valid point none the less. These are indeed cheap shots, but they do kinda of show the people that draw towards him. while I don't subscribe to the belief that guilt by assosiation, at the same time, your friends and the people that are drawn toward you can still tell alot about you.

However, Things that Malkin and LGF bring up from the website aren't attacks on the structure itself that allows them to talk, but on the people themselves. It shows the kind of people that like Obama and why they like him. The structure, or the format, isn't what they are attacking, but the content instead.

it would have been a good test

This would have been a good test case:

Leave a comment that is clearly as outrageous as these anti-Israeli posts, but make it outrageous against the Palestinians.  See if it stays up as long as the anti-Israeli posts.

This might still be an effective test.  However, I suspect Obama has just in the last 24 hours put some real effort and money into monitoring the comments on his site, so perhaps we've lost the chance for a direct comparison.

 

save our ammunition

accumulate a whole lot of "fouls" from his web ops and then after Labor Day go on the offensive. Winning a news cycle in June is like, how important?

You're wrong, Patrick

This isn't about Web 2.0, it's about mainstream media's willing compliance with the Democrat spin machine.

People have short memories about politics.  If we don't draw attention to things like this, then every time this happens it will be viewed by the public as a one-time event. 

Maybe the fury over this event will only last a couple of days, but you actually contradicted your own arguement by citing the earlier times that things like this happened.  There is a pattern and it's up to us to point it out.  The mainstream media won't.

Re: You're wrong, Patrick

Maybe the fury over this event will only last a couple of days, but you actually contradicted your own arguement by citing the earlier times that things like this happened.  There is a pattern and it's up to us to point it out.  The mainstream media won't.

I agree with that, Jeff. 

The campaign should not dirty their hands with things like this but it's just fine for surrogates to do so. People opinions are changed with cumulative evidence that points to what kind of people support Barack Obama.

There may be a pattern

But this is not part of it. Perhaps there was some anti-semitism on display further down in that blog entry, but the screen shots I saw simply said "How the Jewish lobby works".

Hard to see the anti-semitism there, except to people who think any reference to "the Jewish lobby" is out of bounds.

Indeed he is wrong

This is also not anything like an isolated case.  A keyword search of the Obama site (exclusive of comments) will dredge up stuff that should offend everyone.  It's also part of the larger pattern of Obama's proclivity for political expediency over principle.

A different kind of pattern

The only "pattern" this is is that the Obama campaign doesn't have enough eyes moderating My.BarackObama.com. The campaign built a user-created site. Nasty stuff like this will be posted.

This is true. I looked around

This is true. I looked around the site (interesting "thank you HIllary" promo...didn't McCain already do that?), and it looks like half of the defamatory smut being posted is about Obama himself. Makes it hard to believe there's some sort of concerted effort by the Obama campaign to provide a venue specifically for the proliferation of McCain rumors and anti-semitism, when half the trash is about their own guy. It's simply a public forum; and as such, it reflects the wide range of sentiments/beliefs from across the spectrum. Happens with any open board that's not closely monitored.

 

And Yet

When some one posted something Anti-Obama it wasn't allowed IMMEDIATELY

 

I don't think they care to moderate content beyond that

You seem to know an awful lot

You seem to know an awful lot about barackobama.com.

It looks like they rely on users to report inappropriate content. Obviously, that's not a very effective mechanism.

Naww

I just read some of the blogs who were on this

Malkin vs. See-Dubya

The "Malkin" post is actually by See-Dubya, not Michelle Malkin.

Agree with Ruffini

Ruffini is absolutely right, attacking Obama's community is a very bad idea. I made a very similar point a couple months ago...

 

[D]oes the Obama campaign deserve criticism for things posted to the community section of their website?  This is a dangerous path to go down.

 

  1. Honesty Do we really want to feign offense at this stuff? I think everybody understands that the people posting that do not speak for the campaign. Let's not pretend we're really worked up over the rants of anonymous and insignificant kooks on the internet.

 

 

  1. Blowback: If we make hay over jerks trolling opponent's sites, then what are the consequences when jerks troll our own sites? Because they do. And they will. We do not want to set that precedent.

 

 

  1. Community: Negative blowback for unfortunate stuff left on community site will cause campaigns and organizations to shy away from community sites, participatory campaigning and public engagement. Is that where we want to go? Punishing people from being open and participatory on the internet?


We will lose that fight. You might score a minor point now and then, but the results would be bad for all of us.

 

 

Least principled response by campaign...

via HotAir

Update: Not only is the post gone, but Charles says they’ve gone the extra mile and taken measures to scrub it from the Google cache and Internet archive too.

Now, if you're going to maintain an open, free exchange of ideas, and disavow yourself of it's contents, is the appropriate response censoring the offending views?

I've not been on Obama's community sites, but I would expect a big disclaimer ought to be standard at the top and bottom of every page saying the views expressed are not endorsed by the campaign in any way.  If not there should be.  And except for profanity, the should mearly edit any really offensive views to state categorically that the views aren't from the campaign.

Now, I'm all for questioning 20 year associations and other very questionable associations.  What plays well in Chicago politics, probably wont play well for much of the US, so there's probably plenty of room for enterprising bloggers to find dirt there.

Patrick and Jon are both correct in that the right needs to emulate the openess if it wants to get ahead in this and future races.

Thank you, Patrick

I was thinking of posting the antisemitism story but kept dragging my feet: It just did not feel like a credible criticism.

Now Patrick has given us a whole bunch of good reasons for not taking this line of attack. While I do not believe we should shy a way from criticizing content we should ask ourselves if our line of attack will reasonate as credible with the broader public.

We should be exposing Obama when he changes policy positions within hours of making a prepared address and not trying to tag him with a less than credible attack.

Patrick is right

Is Little Green Footballs really willing to endorse every comment anyone's ever posted there as an official LGF editorial position?

Of course not.

So it's beyond hypocritical for them to hold My.BarackObama.com to a different standard.  User-generated content is user-generated content.

I couldn't agree less

Obama surrounds himself by a Pastor and Palestinian Terrorists and people who hate the jews and the state of Israel.

 

He atracts these people to his blog communities

 

I am just saying A Seems to Lead to B and that is a cause for an attack

Huh?

The 'pastor' thing is fair game -- "surrounds himself" is a bit strong, but clearly there's an association there.  The 'Palestinian Terrorists' thing is just plain silly, though.  This kind of delusional attitude towards the world will not help the right win elections, in the near or long term. 

Well

He used to babysit the kids of a man who was known as the PLO Lobbyist back when the PLO was a terrorist organization. The charity he was on with Terrorist bill Ayers (they were board members) voted to give a Arab rights group he founded and his wife ran money. When the guy was in Chicago and he and Obama were both professors they had dinner at each others houses. He raised money for Obama.

 

So he worked for the PLO when it was a terrorist org and iirc his son was the obama staffer who talked to Hamas

 

Its not delusional, its the truth. Obama has a long time association with Numerous apologists for Palestinian terror many of whom worked as agents for Palestinian terror groups

 

and they raised Obama money for various campaigns

So Ron Paul is a racist...

Look at the crowd he attracted.

If you're going to be intellectually honest you'ld recognize that every campaign is going to attract a certain number of kooks.  That's far different than who a candidate chooses to surround and associate himself with.  The latter is fair game, the former is suspect, since anyone can post anything on these open forums, true or not.

Yes Ron Paul is a bigot

Considering Bigotted words that he says were written by a Ghost Writer were based on notes his wife and daughter went over.. yeah Ron Paul doesn't like the Minorities

 

Bigotted words

I never saw these "Bigotted words". Have any examples?

 

Old Ron Paul Newsletter articles

If your a ron paul guy you should have heard this by now

 

he refred to people in DC as monkeys and zoo animals once

 

in an article written based on his notes by his top political advisors, his buisness partner, his wife, and his daughter.

 

And there were others to. About how he said David Duke was so awesome

and how various minority groups were out to slander him

 

(The Same David Duke who is now working for Syria and Hezbollah promoting anti-american propeganda)

I'm not

a Ron Paul guy. And I was looking for some actual racist quotes, not more unsourced rumors.

 

More Change we can believe in

All you need to know. . .

Ok, I read it.

They don't like Paul because of his stance on the Iraq war, so they engage in a slimy guilt-by-association hit job that would do a far left web site proud. What they don't manage to do is quote Paul being racist.

 

 

One More thing

littlegreenfootballs.com/article/30260_Is_It_Smart_to_Allow_Unmoderated_Blogs_on_a_Presidential_Candidates_Site

 

Please note this interesting point, made by the person who posted the “Jemaah Islamiya” spoof blog: The My Barack Obama Web Site « The Urban Grind

I decided to try a little experiment. I went to the Obama site, and just for fun, tried putting up a page called Jews Against Obama. Naturally, I received a message saying that my page would have to be approved by an administrator. (Sorry I have no screenshot.) So after waiting a few hours with my page not going live, I decided to try something else.

So apparently, they are watching what gets posted.

 

So yeah if you post something Anti-Obama it doesn't go up but if you post something spouting 9-11 conspiracies, hatred for jews, hatred for Israel, Hatred for cops... No problem

Patrick's Right, And Multiple Other Issues Weigh In

First, let me just say Patrick (and Jon) are right on the money.  Trying to make Obama accountable for every nut that happens to support him is ridiculous.  Do you hold Jeff Bezos resposnible for every crappy product sold on Amazon?  No.  It's absurd to think that a community that large could or should be responsible for every word.

LGF, in questioning whether or not it was smart to allow "unmoderated blogs" ignores two things.  First, look at John McCain's "McCainSpace".  It is heavily moderated.  I tried to create an account there last February.  Three weeks later, it still hadn't been approved.  That's a great way to drive away the people who want to join your community.  It perfectly illustrates Patrick's point.  I haven't been back since.

Second, the trouble with moderating is the moment you take responsibility for one nutty comment and remove it, then you're automatically on the hook for every other nutty comment that appears on your site. 

The easy solution is to disclaim the fact that these people do not speak for the campaign - and then provide an option for people to report spam, offensive comments, etc.  Then the management of the comments becomes a peer review process and takes your people out of it.

With Fred Thompson's site we removed almost nothing, but created a WordPress plug-in that would allow anyone reading a post to click a button marking something as offensive.  If any piece of content got reported five times, it would get sent to an administrator to review.  That cut down on the administrative overhead, but allowed the most egregious violations to rise to the top for skimming.

It is possible, however, that LGF and the diarist at Malkin had another goal in mind.  If they can tie up a handful of Obama staffers on some mundane task like moderating comments, then that's several people that aren't making calls and recruiting more supporters.  While it's a minor impact, at least it takes a few organizers out of play.

One other important factor to keep in mind is "credibility".  Frankly, the GOP spent decades playing white against black to win elections, so for us to feign outrage at an anti-semitic comment reeks of desparation.  A charge that the black man is prejudiced rings hollow when made by the white guys that worked so hard to keep the black man down.

Step back

One other important factor to keep in mind is "credibility".  Frankly, the GOP spent decades playing white against black to win elections, so for us to feign outrage at an anti-semitic comment reeks of desparation.  A charge that the black man is prejudiced rings hollow when made by the white guys that worked so hard to keep the black man down.

Whoa, I don't think we should be jumping on the current group of conservative activists, at least around here. I don't recall ever taking part in playing whites against blacks. I understand the perception in some communities, but we don't have to perpetuate it.

Well Put Pat!

I have dugg the story as well...

I think that of Conservatives spent more time trying to salvage thier party away from the Neo-Con goons who stole it, instead of trying to corrupt the Dems, they'd be doing something.

-Chuck

 

 

Yes because

When some one attracts and surrounds himself with people who hate jews and hates cops thats not relevant at all