Monday, December 05, 2011

Smear Machine Mission Accomplished

Two weeks ago right wing front group Media Trackers made wild accusations against Senator Lena Taylor for which they provided no real evidence. Most informed observers instantly approached it with extreme caution. Unfortunately too many divisions of Journal Communications Inc apparently didn't see that clear fact and they ran with the story. To their credit, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting today that the primary point of Media Tracker's smear against Senator Taylor was not accurate after all.

This and other recent examples of Media Tracker's false claims reveals that they are all about smearing the opposition and getting negative stories in the media about their political opponents. It seems clear that they have no concern for facts or reality as long as they accomplish those goals. You can really see how this pattern played out in the baseless smear against Senator Taylor.
  • They played some twisted version of "Six Degrees of Separation" by trying to somehow link the Senator to voters that temporarily lived at her mother's ministry to the homeless.
  • They found one homeless guest at the ministry that had a felony on their record and that voted in the spring elections.
  • They rushed to promote the smear on Senator Taylor, feeding it to their friends at Journal Communications Inc without taking the time to confirm that the man in question wasn't actually eligible to vote.
All of these steps show you that the real intentions of Media Trackers was not to do honest research. It was only to find something, ANYTHING that they could even remotely tie to a political enemy. If they really wanted to find out if the primary person that they focused on in this smear was actually eligible to vote they could have easily done so and without much effort at all. They could have clearly read his sentencing information such as his Judgement of Conviction. They could have called Probation and Parole to find out if/when he was on "paper". They could have also placed a simple call to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's office. Given the dishonesty that they were promoting through Journal Communications Inc, they clearly didn't bother to do any of those very basic checks.

This very clear smear job of Senator Taylor comes on the heels of their lying attacks on two African American women who signed recall petitions in Milwaukee. The same basic Media Trackers pattern applies.
  • They take video of the two young women signing the recall petition in Milwaukee.
  • Someone at Media Trackers apparently fancies themselves as an age expert and determines that these young women are underage.
  • Rather than taking the next logical step of a responsible investigator (trying to actually confirm the age of the women), Media Trackers again uses their friends at Journal Communications Inc to quickly perpetuate the lie.
In both of these smear jobs Media Trackers essentially followed the same irresponsibly disingenuous pattern. More problematic is that Journal Communications Inc was so easily and/or willingly drawn into both baseless smears and served as the primary promoter of them.

In both of the aforementioned cases critics were immediately skeptical of Media Trackers smear and once someone actually bothered to look at the actual facts, those critics proved to be correct on all counts. However even after Media Trackers false accusations and innuendo-based efforts were fully debunked they remained unapologetic. The likely reason? Because their goal was never to illuminate, objectively report or to properly investigate the issues that they raised. It was to simply find any possible hook (real or imagined) to smear their political opponents and to use the larger media as an "accessory" to the baseless smear. Whether their accusations were eventually debunked is immaterial because for many people on the right it has already become conventional "wisdom".

Mission Accomplished.

UPDATES: One Wisconsin Now's Response
Senator Taylor's Response
New logo for Media Trackers?


Display Name said...

Amazingly, no shame seems to stick to the patrons who pay for this.

Anonymous said...

It's the very same tactic, writ small, that led to the totally unjustified destruction of ACORN. Smearing for political profit.

jimspice said...

This is business as usual -- saturate the marketplace of ideas with a lie, and when caught, just ignore it; damage already done. My peeve is that the original article at JSOnline still stands uncorrected. One nice thing about internet publishing is being able to correct mistakes IN PLACE so those coming upon misinformation in the future won't walk away with the wrong idea. Failure to correct at the source allows the lie to fester.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Shame may not stick to them, but a big fat libel suit might get their attention. I say fight fire with fire, and make them pay in the one language they and their benefactors know- MONEY.