Dan Gainor

Writing in the American Spectator in November 2008, James Taranto said the “crackpot story originated on the Angry Left website DailyKos.com.” From there is spread around the web and to the Atlantic. The kookier the website, the more ridiculous the headline. One such crazy outlet ran this: “We're going with the rumor: Sarah Palin is not Trig's mother.”

It went far enough that Palin had to respond, complaining “it took days for that false allegation to ever be corrected.” Details magazine, the National Enquirer, Gawker.com and others mentioned the story. Once Palin was forced to respond, other media outlets naturally covered it.

Palin was given the Internet version of the classic trap question: “Have you stopped beating your wife?” No matter which choice she took – ignore or respond – the left won.

Today those appalling attacks are part and parcel to the lefty war plan. The typical targeting has one of the bogus liberal sites like HuffingtonPost.com or TheNation.com write something similar to journalism. It then gets picked up and commented on either by the clowns at MSNBC or some marginal left-wing politician like Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. Or even the president of the United States who complained about so-called “foreign money” being spent on the election when he knew the claim was bogus.

Now it’s perfect. Lefty politicians have turned a complete non-story into a reaction story. In one of the laughers of modern spin, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs complained about how other groups are manipulating the political process. “Our democracy is threatened by the fact that big groups and big interests can come in and anonymously attack those that they disagree with,” he told USA Today.

So, nonprofits that don’t want to reveal their donors are bad, but government working hand-in-hand with media outlets to skewer the opposition is OK?

When the left went gunning for the Kochs, they jumped right to quasi-legit news outlets. First New York magazine chimed in on July 25. But calling David Koch “the tea party’s wallet” wasn’t nasty enough. The New Yorker followed a month later with “The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.” That spammed throughout the web as the liberal machine regurgitated the whole mess like Roman diners at a vomitorium.

Victims don’t even have to be involved in the process to earn a beat-down. The Nation went on a year-long jihad against former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs to claim he’s: “Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite.” This sleazy little hit job went after Dobbs because he opposes the open-borders solution to immigration. With all of her work, the lame Isabel Macdonald could only muster rumor and innuendo. One illegal was quoted as saying Dobbs’ daughter might have known the worker was in the U.S. illegally. “I believe she knew." That’s it. A nationwide journalism feeding frenzy based on “I believe.”

And why did they go after Dobbs? Not for 2010. The left has already lost this election as clearly as they did in 1994. This time they are trying to destroy potential candidates for the future and, as The Nation explained, “he has not ruled out a possible Senate or even presidential run in 2012.”

In 2010, even the thought crime of considering candidacy puts a target on your back.

Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.