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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The days of the jackals

Character assassination is a major business and blogs are to the character assassins what AK-47s are to the Mexican drug cartels.

Sen. John Thune has been appointed to important "outreach" positions within the GOP U.S. Senate caucus apparently because of the reputaiton he earned by making character assassination the major effort of his 2004 e
lection campaign.

The use of defamation, disinformation, and good, old-fashioned lies, such as pioneered by Thune, has been adopted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Brown is embroiled in a scandal because his main henchman has been caught defaming, disinforming, and propagating good, old-fashioned lies in Brown's behalf. The Week magazine chronicles the whole nasty business.

Damian McBride was chief strategist for Gordon Brown. He got caught planting lies about political opponents and their families on left-wing blogs. He was known among journalilsts as McNasty and McPoison. He so alienated reporters that Brown was forced to remove him as his communicaitons director last October. According to press reports, he took every opportunity to smear former Prime Minnister Tony Blair as Brown put himself in position fo the job.

The Mirror examines the role of blogs in all the nastiness. It says that McBride was planning to circulate rumors on a left-wing blog to counter "the smears that routinely emanate from right-wing blogs." The Mirror bemoans the fact that blogs lower the tone of discourse for the whole country. It says they are "cretinous, infantile forums of abuse dressed up as argument" in which "pompous prigs of all political persuasions try to pass themselves off as intellectuals." The best way to handle them is to ignore them, says The Mirror. They are merely :"small-minded attention seekers" who have "seduced the real political world into thinking they matter. They don't."

They are noisy. They are destructive--of indiviiduals and the rhetorical integrity of the country. Unfortunately, they do matter. They have brought us the days of the jackals.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States