It is frightening, however, how this smear campaign parallels what is going on around us all the time. When we hear something on Fox news, or anywhere else for that matter, do we take the time to research their sources? Do we even notice if they have even quoted any sources? And, if the piece of news seems cockeyed to us, how many times does it have to be picked up by other media, friends and associates, etc. before we come to believe it is true?
I want to cite a debunked news story from the past couple of weeks that is politically based. It has to do with Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.
From Obama's website -
In the past week, many of you have read a now thoroughly-debunked story by Insight Magazine, owned by the Washington Times, which cites unnamed sources close to a political campaign that claim Senator Obama was enrolled for “at least four years” in an Indonesian “Madrassa”. The article says the “sources” believe the Madrassa was “espousing Wahhabism,” a form of radical Islam.
Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?”
Link - Barack Obama
Further information on the debunking of this lie can be found at an interesting site I found.
Link - Snopes.com
Wait, it gets better. Enter the conservative talk show hosts who then proceeded to report that the Obama story was leaked by Hilary Clinton!!
Summary: Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers, Rush Limbaugh, and John Gibson all forwarded the accusation made by a website controlled by Rev. Sun Myung Moon that Sen. Hillary Clinton was responsible for spreading information linking Sen. Barack Obama to a madrassa, or Muslim school. None of the four cited any evidence, other than the article, that Clinton was responsible for promoting the madrassa story, and the article cited no one by name.
Link - Medidamatters.com
Well now, the debunking of this story has actually been highly reported on. CNN, I am sure, delighted in breaking their expose as it shows their competitor, Fox, in the poorest of light for perpetuating a story without checking sources. But, how many people now have a half buried thought that there could be something valid about the story even though it was proven inaccurate. After all, where there is smoke, there is fire. Right?
This kind of thing has been going on forever, of course, what is an election without smear campaigns? How does this relate to Clay Aiken? Well, it is basically the same thing, make something up that is calculated to destroy his fans belief in him . Rally together some team members (haters) (talk show hosts) and get the word out over the internet. The gossip mags and media will pick it up and pretty soon the main stream press is reporting it as news. And, no one along the line has done any checking of sources.
I have decided to rely on my own instincts as regards Clay Aiken. I watched him on AI, I have been to many concerts, I have read his book "Learning to Sing", I have listened to many interviews and watched him on countless tv talk shows and I have met him briefly in a Meet & Greet. This isn't "knowing" him, obviously, but my instinct tells me he is who he says he is and that's good enough for me. Always has been.
Some other interesting blogs I can recommend:
A heartfelt essay on Clay's journey from AI2 until today, the 4th Anniversary of Clay's AI audition.
And, the 911 blog has a new entry that is thought provoking.