Rusty Shackleford has put together a devastating report that makes two basic claims:
- that the smears against Sarah Palin are the result of a professionally-orchestrated effort to manufacture false grassroots outrage (i.e. “astroturfing”);
- that David Axelrod, Obama’s chief adviser, is ultimately responsible.
I think Shackleford has proved charge 1 beyond any reasonable doubt.
He admits that his argument on charge 2 is conjectural. But it does raise serious questions that journalists ought to ask Axelrod and Obama to provide answers to, including:
Has the Obama campaign paid Winner & Associates to do work for them?
Who is the voiceover artist from Axelrod’s firm, Axelrod Kupper Plouffe & Del Cecato (AKP&D)?
Has Axelrod’s other company, ASK Public Strategies, hired contractors to “astroturf”?
- Did the Obama campaign order the Sarah Palin smear effort?
Whatever the answers, it seems clear that despite Obama’s outrage at so-called “misinformation” campaigns about him, Palin is being targeted by a professional operation unlike anything that has ever attacked Obama.
And if the driving force turns out to be the Obama campaign itself? Perhaps he doth protest too much about “misinformation”…