Friday, September 12, 2008

BlogWatch: Hoax Column Still Circulating

Here at Dowd Central our crack team of DowdWatchers monitor the internet 24/7 for remarks about Maureen Dowd. If the NSA were as atuned to Al Qaeda as we are to Dowd, Bin Laden would be in Gitmo already.

About a week ago we started picking up chatter relating to the hoax July 29 column where Dowd supposedly claims that Barack Obama is getting anonymous donations from foreign nationals. Nevermind that it is McCain that has connections to shady foreign moneybags like the Rothschilds or Clinton Burkling buddy and Anne Hathaway humping con-man Raffaello Follieri. But I digress.

Ever vigilant of Dowd's precious reputation, when I see this smear emerge from the round-robin e-mail chains and difficult-to-register-for forums out into an actual blog, I try to leave a comment pointing out that it is an unsubstantiated hoax and they should do just a modicum of research before spreading such slander.

For example, Fr. Ryan Humphries of the Catholic Underground quickly removed the article forn his otherwise fascinating Tumblr page but took me to task for being so pompous. But even a more polite tone doesn’t always work. Desert Conservative prefaced a re-posting of the hoax with this:

Get ready, we will have a Muslim in the White House!!!
Or why would they send him so much money!!!
$200 million!!!
That blog then went on to highlight the more salacious and ridiculous claims. My rather respectful and polite comment never quite made it through moderation. Clearly, this blogger has no intention of correcting the record.

The hoax column is even working it’s way into the background of genuine news stories. A Chicago Tribune story about an out-of-date news story nearly bankrupting United Airlines included this line:
Just in recent days, the presidential campaign of Barack Obama had to debunk a spurious column falsely linked to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that raised questions about the source of Obama's campaign finances.
When the story ran, the spurious column had been debunked for over two months, not recent days, but that is neither here nor there. The point is that this shadow smear campaign continues and some people don’t care what the truth is.

Far more valuable are reactions like this from Dave Lindorf that when he got a pass-along e-mail had this reaction:
Now I could see before reading two paragraphs of the alleged column he forwarded to me that it was not Dowd's acerbic and witty writing style, but I cannot expect most people who don't even read Dowd to know that. Two minutes at the computer, however, and I was easily able to confirm, as anyone could do, that Dowd had never written the article.
He goes to explain what he thinks is really going on.
Why this particular campaign dirty trick--and with Karl Rove in the back seat of the McCain campaign bus I have no doubt that it originated in the bowels of that campaign, which has not disavowed it--works, and why the many other vile efforts, like the latest shameful official McCain TV ad claiming that Obama backs "sex education for kindergartners," work is that many otherwise decent Americans like my uncle first of all are primed to believe such crap by a deep-seated prejudice against people of color, and secondly that the corporate media which are supposed to be informing us are afraid to call out a mainstream political candidate for lying and deceiving the public.
I couldn’t agree more. The real problem is that so many people don’t bother to research of verify these scurrilous claims, particularly if they are spread under the false banner of Liberal Media Icon (sic) Maureen Dowd. Actually public appearances of this hoax are just the tip of the iceberg. I know from my traffic reports that this smear got a new breath of life just after the Republican convention. I have no idea by whom, but someone enjoys seeing this lie perpetuate and fester.

Please stop it if you can. Follow the example of the writer of the widowswalk blog who ran across some people that had been duped by the e-mail:
I talked with about 8 households, and left calling cards at the rest. Only one household was pro-McCain. Or perhaps the better description would be “anti-Obama.” My impression was there was a latent racism. The issue the two women had siezed upon was a hoax news column, purportedly written by Maureen Dowd, saying that Obama was getting $200M from “the Arabs” for his campaign. The article is a racist smear and a lie, of course. I printed out the Snopes refutation for them, and will probably mail it to them. Doubt it will change hearts and minds.
Doing so probably won’t change the minds of those already viscerally opposed to Obama, but at least it removes a rationalization from them and spreads the truth, a hard to find commodity in this election.

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