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Max Blumenthal/David Neiwert smear Sarah Palin (true guilt-by-association, bad reporting)

Max Blumenthal - last seen here spinning a fantastic tale - joins with Mr. "white supremacist under every bed" himself, David Neiwert, to offer a smear called "Meet Sarah Palin's radical right-wing pals" (link). Their report was partly funded by the "Nation Institute Investigative Fund", which isn't getting its money's worth.

In this campaign we've heard a lot about guilt-by-association, but most have been using that phrase incorrectly. Thanks to the two authors, we finally have a real example of guilt-by-association. It's also tremendously bad reporting because - besides apparently trying to get a comment from the Palin camp - they don't appear to have interviewed anyone with an opposing point of view. Instead, they base their entire report on the (probably) inflated recollections of Alaska Independence Party gadabout Mark Chryson, combined with the self-interested comments of Palin's local enemies (former Democratic mayor of Wasilla John Stein, a friend of his, and the former head of the City Council, someone who's presumably not friends with Palin).

Consider, for instance, this:

Indeed, Chryson boasted that he and his allies urged Palin to focus her campaign on slashing character-based attacks. For instance, Chryson advised Palin to paint Stein as a sexist who had told her "to just sit there and look pretty" while she served on Wasilla's City Council. Though Palin never made this accusation, her 1996 campaign for mayor was the most negative Wasilla residents had ever witnessed.

Assuming for the moment that her campaign was that negative, there's no evidence that Chryson had a hand in her decision to conduct such a campaign. And, they even provide one example of her not following his advice.

Out of the entire three-page article, there's only one paragraph that might objectively indicate some close relationship between Palin and those linked to the AIP or those that the authors consider "extremists":

Palin attempted to pay back her newfound pals during her first City Council meeting as mayor. In that meeting, on Oct. 14, 1996, she appointed [John Stoll] to one of the City Council's two newly vacant seats. But Palin was blocked by the single vote of then-Councilman Nick Carney, who had endured countless rancorous confrontations with Stoll and considered him a "violent" influence on local politics. Though Palin considered consulting attorneys about finding another means of placing Stoll on the council, she was ultimately forced to back down and accept a compromise candidate.

I might have missed it, but they don't indicate that Stoll is a member of the AIP. They only say that he's 'a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as "Black Helicopter Steve"'. Does everyone call him that, or is that just a smear from his enemies? Is there another explanation for her trying to name Stoll to the Council besides her trying to mainstream the AIP? Oddly enough, the "reporters" don't go into that.

They follow the above with yet another attempt to try to portray a firing of a local official as politically motivated. In this case it's John Cooper, the former museum director of the town.

In small towns like this there are always warring factions and different interpretations of events, and without living there it's not possible to differentiate between facts and fancy. Obviously, that doesn't concern Blumenthal and Neiwert, their only goal was to piece together a smear.

Politics · Thu, 10/09/2008 - 19:35 · Importance: 4

Sun, 10/12/2008 - 07:47
Karlos

My only question is this: who are you? I mean the person that actually posted this blog. I am genuinely curious about the credibility of Max Blumenthal and David Neiwart, but this piece does nothing to confirm nor deny that credibility. At least I know who they are. I can google them and find their work. They have received awards for online journalism. What you bring to the table is anonymity. Once you have the courage to actually publish your name and any organizations you may be affiliated with, then I might actually take you seriously. An no, the fact that I am anonymous myself does nothing to discredit the challenge that I am posing. After all, I am not the one making accusations or assertions. The burden of proof falls on the accuser.

Wed, 10/15/2008 - 17:49
steve stoll

I'm the Steve Stoll mentioned in the article about Sarah Palin’s Right Wing Connections. I've never been a member of the John Birch Society or the Alaska Independence Party. Or the Democrats or the Republicans for that matter. Or the Mormons, Moslems or Baptists. I haven’t ever even been to one of their meetings. Any of them. Look it up. I work hard at my profession; I actually am proud to pay my taxes and I give my Permanent Fund Dividend ($3269 in 2008) to Bean's Café, feeding the urban hungry. I raised two fine sons, both hard-working Alaskans. I never buried weapons in my yard, and no one until now has ever called me "Black Helicopter Steve." I prefer "Stollie." I did become involved in local Wasilla politics when the powers that were, including Sarah Palin, promoted a local sales tax that included taxing groceries, but capped the tax on non-essential items. I still feel very strongly that taxing poor people's groceries is morally wrong. Sarah Palin raised the sales tax by 25% as Mayor of Wasilla. I also felt then and now that it is improper for City Employees to get involved in politics. Holding up signs for the incumbent mayor during an election is not only stupid but just plain wrong. Gossiping and politicking on the job, wrong. The Chief of Police should never have lowered himself to printing and distributing political mud-slinging documents at Police HQ; just plain wrong, Irl. So Mayor John Stein, Museum Curator John Cooper and Police Chief Irl Stambaugh lost their jobs over their practice of politics while on the public’s clock. Go figure. Why they blame me, well, that’s called denial. They’re still trying to defame me, however, even twelve years later, by spreading their crazy little rumors and lies. And yes, when Mr Cooper wouldn't apologize for gossip he was spreading that I secretly had taped and then brought forward at a City Council Meeting- taped comments very similar, by the way, to the current gossip, well, I told him I guess I'd have no choice but to "kick your ass." He disrupted the whole meeting by not being man enough to apologize for his slanderous comments or even agree to quit spreading baseless gossip from his public office. Incidentally, I declared several months ago to my friends and neighbors that I was voting for Barrack Obama. Nothing that has happened recently has changed my mind. This country needs a leader with strength, substance and charisma for the very difficult times which lie ahead. I feel that Obama best meets those criteria. The reporters in this case were totally off-base, uninformed and just plain wrong. Truly, they are incompetents that need to find something really useful to do with their lives. I recommend physical labor. I would like a retraction of the story and an apology. Ah, but how foolish I must be to expect integrity from people like them. If they don’t apologize, well then you know what I’m g

Sat, 10/18/2008 - 01:33
Jordan
generationpatriot.blogspot.com

To Karlos: Give us your name and maybe you won't look like such a dick attacking someone for not giving their name. As for Neiwert, I'm a former fan of his blog. In my lefty days I'd read up on his posts daily, and daily posts were about the racism and hate of the right. Day after day there was some kind of reason why racism is purely a right wing thing. Turns out its not (see Woodrow Wilson; the KKK and the Dems alliance during the 20s and 30s). Neiwert's basis for Fascism is the intelligent, but somewhat misguided view of Robert Paxton, who gives the lame excuse that Fascism, espically Nazism. is right wing because conservatives supported it more. What Neiwert and Paxton refuse to acknowledge is that EUROPEAN conservatism and AMERICAN conservatism are two totally different schools of thought. If you're gonna trust Neiwart in anything, read his books, not his blogs.

Mon, 10/20/2008 - 00:41
Fred Dawes
myspace.com/freddawes1776

karlos you are a right wing red ass Nazi pig who are you ? the head of some monkey disease group? who hate our freedoms? soon you monkeys will be able to rape little boys that is what your type really want!