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.