Bad Moveon.org

Over the past two weeks in the liberal blogosphere, the SBVFT ads have caused more than a few heads to explode with rage. However, as angry as it made us, it generally has been a non-story in the national and local press. In fact, the vast majority of news about these ads has been overwhelmingly negative, featuring McCain's slam against the ads rather than the ads themselves. This is why I was disturbed to learn that Moveon.org plans to run ads aginat SBVFT: On Tuesday, the liberal group MoveOn PAC is expected to release a commercial that calls on Bush to condemn an ad being aired in a few states by a group known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The group says Kerry exaggerated his military record. Kerry received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star for his actions during the Vietnam War. Didn't we lean anything from how the publicity behind Fahrenheit 911 was significantly driven by the hysterical GOP denunciations of the film? Maybe next Moveon.org should run an anti-Nader ad in the top 200 media markets nationwide. I wonder if they would be stunned when Nader's poll number promptly tripled. Moveon.org is a great organization with innovative media campaigns, but this one is a real stinker.

Journalist Wants to be a Blogger

Jodi Wolgoren of the New York Times blogs her way through an article on Kerry:So it went on Mr. Kerry's cross-country tour these past two weeks. Same speech, different opening joke at each stop.(...)

The local crowds generally eat it up, their laughter and applause drowning out the collective groan from the traveling press corps.

The outside is becoming the inside, thus signalling our success at whatever it is we are trying to achieve.

Movie Review: Bush's Brain

A couple of weeks ago I received an advance copy of the forthcoming movie Bush's Brain, based upon the book of the same name by James C. Moore and Wayne Slater. The subject of the movie is Karl Rove's professional history as a political operative, his relationship with George Bush, and the series of terrible events and slander that have been thrown at any candidate who has ever run against a Rove-led campaign. The movie opens in Texas on Friday and will gradually expand to other cities starting on August 27.

To avoid spoilers, I have placed the review in the extended section.

There's more...

Real Lies

While the right-wing Blogosphere has moved on to the Cambodia schelp after failing to get anywhere with the Swift Boat crap, MoveOn.org has announced the winner of their "Real People" ad campaign. It details the real lie about war in this campaign, and is told by Lee Buttrill, a Marine Corps veteran who has returned from the war that is still raging:We were given these idea that there's weapons of mass destruction, but where are the weapons of mass destruction? They said they were so sure where they were, but where are they? When we were over there, we looked around. I was, I was on an intelligence gathering team. We looked, we looked in scientific installations. We never found anything. It was just a lie and it wasn't a proper use of American troops. It wasn't a proper use of my life, or my friends' lives, or the marines who I've seen die around me. It was not a proper use. Pure and simple, the administration lied about WMDs in order to go to war. They had been planning to lie about them to go to war even if the September 11th attacks never took place.

This is a very good ad. Watch it here. MoveOn plans to air it during the RNC, so consider contributing and helping them out.

RNC Protests Will Neither Help Bush Nor Hurt Kerry

Eric Alterman worries that the New York protests against the RNC will backfire: Anarchists and idiots ruined the Seattle protests and the media--loving conflict and hating context--will eat any violence and property destruction, even bad language, to smear not only the protesters but also anyone and everyone who opposes Bush. Chicago '68 unquestionably helped elect Nixon. (I've read the polling data.)

And the same thing could happen here. Second, as with Johnson, Nixon and Reagan, it hardly requires an act of imagination to prepare for the possibility that Republican conservative spies and thugs will infiltrate these protests and cause the violence themselves, with the knowledge that it will be blamed on the protesters and their cause.

I would be surprised if they don't do this, but of course, it will be years if not decades before we ever found out that those crazies who wanted to start fires and break windows were actually right-wing operatives. The media will treat this possibility as beyond the pale, just as they did when the CIA and FBI did it to the antiwar movement under both Johnson and Nixon, and when the FBI did it to the anti-intervention in Central America movement under Reagan.

Second, the protesters themselves are pissing me off. As I said, I support the cause--as well as the cause of free speech -- but that does not mean I want to sacrifice the well-being of Central Park for the cause. I imagine millions of New Yorkers feel the same way. They made a deal for the West Side Highway and they should stick to it. Perhaps the deal was unfair, but now they seem to be brewing a potion for pure chaos, that will rebound the Republicans' benefit and also screw up the Park.

Alterman's worries about infiltration and other attempts to tarnish the protests are well founded, but his fears about political ramifications seem to be based on the media of the past. Simply put, the national media doesn't cover protests anymore, even if the protests are infiltrated and ruined by violent thugs. You can expect significant local TV coverage, but don't expect any on CNN. The sad fact is that on February 15, 2003, when the largest single day protest in the history of the world took place against the invasion of Iraq (30,000,000 people worldwide), it was the feature story on evening news programs for a few minutes that Saturday night. In the same coverage, the "counter protests" of a few hundred people received nearly equal time, and then the story was completely dropped the following Monday after Bush's quip about focus groups. The March for Women's Lives, the largest protest in DC since the pre-Telecommunications Act Million Man March, received maybe 10% the coverage of the MMM. In 1999, Seattle was a splash because it was so new to American viewers. However, since that time, many other anti-globalization protests of similar, equal, or greater size have been all but completely ignored by our national media. Because of this extremely lax media coverage of modern dissent, the protests in NYC will ultimately not affect the national political landscape of this election one iota. Outside of local news, there will simply be little or no coverage of them.

As for Eric's other worries, Steve Gillard and Jimmy Breslin have thought provoking responses.

Personally, I am going to New York to send a message directly to the Republican delegates, warmongers and GOP corporate cronies themselves. They started a war, and now they feel they need a 20,000-member army to protect them in their own country from their fellow citizens. They are actually frightened to death of pacifist, geeky wimps such as myself, so I plan to fuel that fear by showing up, protesting and blogging in an attempt to counteract their spin. They do not represent us, and they do not represent New York. That is something I want to tell them personally. I will try to tell the truth about the protests and the conventions to as many people as possible, and as a group us protesters and bloggers might just be able to make a dent. However, I am not holding my breath.

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