Earlier today, Sarah Palin made the shocking announcement that she will be resigning as governor of Alaska (link). Unlike probably everyone else, I'm not going to bother speculating on her reasons, but instead on what her supporters can do. Assuming, of course, she does want to continue with her political career, one of the best things her supporters could do for her would be to go after those who've smeared her. The smear campaign that the mainstream media and others conducted against her was probably unprecendented, yet due to her supporters not understanding how to do things in an effective way, it hasn't had a great cost to those who engaged in that campaign.
On the other hand, if smearing Palin had resulted in someone's career being negatively affected, that would associate a cost with such smearing.
So, how do you do that? I'm not going to go into too many details, but if enough people linked some of the individual entries on the Sarah Palin smear page to the names of those persons involved, that would send a strong message.
For instance, if you see an Associated Press article from Justin Pritchard, link his name to the entry about his misleading Palin report like so: Justin Pritchard. And, likewise with the other people listed on that page; when discussing them, link their names to the corresponding entry on that page or similar. If enough people do that, it will send a very strong message to those who'd tell lies about her.
UPDATE: I really don't like giving away the store, but let me provide a counter-example. Someone named Erik Sean Nelson just today wrote a "joke" article about Palin at the Huffington Post called "Palin Will Run in '12 on More Retardation Platform". That was too much for the HuffPost, and they pulled the article. Now, if I were going to write a post about that article, I'd prominently feature his name and make him - and his beyond-sleazy "joke" - into the centerpiece of my post. My goal in that would be to make sure that those searching for his name months or years down the line would be able to find what he did.
And, of course, both give the HuffPost perfectly good links. In other words, at the same time as they aren't striking out - except in a temporary fashion - at the author of the piece, they're helping the place where the smear was published. That's not that smart, but it's something I've seen repeated countless times before.
UPDATE 2: Here's another example. Max Blumenthal wrote a highly speculative blog post called "Did a Scandal Sink the U.S.S. Palin?" at the Daily Beast . A look at the comments will show that it wasn't swamped by Palin supporters. No doubt very few of her supporters even know that site exists, would know about that posting, would have an account there, would understand the utility of fighting back against such postings, or would be willing and able to fight back. To make matters even worse, a site that supports her lists many of the sources with this same smear (link) and gives each a perfectly valid link: "Daily Kos" to the page at DailyKos, "Max Blumenthal" to , and so on. And, the post itself has the useless, uninformative title "Baseless Rumors". In other words, they aren't really costing those sites much in the way of credibility since they're mostly just an echo chamber. And, they're actually helping those sites by giving them valid links (I put a nofollow tag on the last link in order to avoid helping).
Compare that to what I did: when I found out about the Blumenthal post, I used my pre-existing account at that site to leave a comment pointing out that he was engaged in speculatation and suggesting that those who trust his reporting should visit my summary on his work (linked above). If I were really invested in this issue and Blumenthal had crossed the line from just speculating into misleading, I would have written a post with his name right at the beginning of the title in order to make it easier for people to find. And, I would have suggested that others go to the Daily Beast page and leave comments pointing out how he was wrong.
Fri, 07/03/2009 - 15:19 · Importance: 4