June 28, 2008

Backtracking the Obama Smears

Interesting piece in the Washington Post on attempts to find patient zero in the "Obama is a Muslim" e-mail smear.  This bit was interesting:
"What I've come to realize is, the labor of generating an e-mail smear is divided and distributed amongst parties whose identities are secret even to each other," she says. A first group of people published articles that created the basis for the attack. A second group recirculated the claims from those articles without ever having been asked to do so. "No one coordinates the roles," Allen said. Instead the participants swim toward their goal like a school of fish -- moving on their own, but also in unison.


Pomeroy Kinsey said...

That's fascinating. I've only been barely following this story, but for a long time, I took it for granted that some of these stories had merit. There's a lot of rational ignorance among voters, and I bet you viral campaigns like this is key to successful malignant memes in a voting cycle.

j said...

One of the things that surprised me was the jump from 8% to 13% in people who believed that Obama was a Muslim, and the attribution of that to the email smear - that seems a crazy big jump, all thanks to your aunt forwarding emails around. The other wasn't surprising but still interesting to see it repeated so regularly - the citing of the internet for the source material and the firm belief that by googling around they were uncovering hard truths heretofore unknown.

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