Anti-Obama Echo Chamber in Full Swing

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Inter Press Service

Anti-Obama Echo Chamber in Full Swing

by
Bill Berkowitz

OAKLAND, California - Right-wing
groups are stepping up their campaign against Democratic presidential
candidate Barack Obama, with two new books on the best-seller lists,
another on the verge of publication, and a full-length documentary that
will premiere during the party conventions later this month.

Jerome Corsi, a veteran
of the 2004 Swiftboating campaign that helped sink the candidacy of the
Democratic Party's John Kerry, had his book 'The Obama Nation: Leftist
Politics and the Cult of Personality' debut at No. 1 on the New York
Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list on Sunday. Aug. 17 --
although the list's editors noted that some bookstores have reported
receiving bulk orders.

'The
Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of
the Media's Favorite Candidate' by David Freddoso is currently ranked
at number five. And another Obama-bashing tome, expected sometime next
month, is tentatively titled 'Obama Unmasked,' and is written by Floyd
Brown -- the creator of 1988's infamous Willie Horton television
advertisement that helped put the kybosh on the presidential hopes of
the Democrat's Michael Dukakis.

Now, on Aug. 24, the eve of the
Democratic Party's convention in Denver, 'Hype: The Obama Effect' -- a
full-length documentary that attacks everything about the Democratic
Party's presidential nominee -- will be premiering at the Regal
Pavilions 15 in the host city. The free showing is being sponsored by
Citizens United and Chairman Dick Wadhams of the Colorado Republican
Committee.

(The Regal Entertainment Group, which own Regal
theaters, is the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world -- it
operates nearly 20 percent of all indoor screens in the U.S. The chain
is owned by Philip Anschutz, an oil magnate, media mogul, and long-time
contributor to conservative political causes.)

The film, through
interviews with a host of Republican Party supporters, criticises
Obama's political positions, mocks the so-called cult of personality
that many critics claim embodies his campaign, casts doubts about his
judgment, and questions his character.

'While 'Hype' may not
generate large box office receipts, it is sure to become another prong
in the right-wing attack machine,' Mike Reynolds, a longtime
investigative reporter covering politics and religion, told IPS.
'[Citizens United head David] Bossie might be hopeful that as the
campaign moves forward, some right-wing websites might offer the film
as a premium as they have for the books.'

'In order to get
regular voters to go see the movie, it will have to garner media buzz
on the cable television news networks, like the anti-Obama books have,'
Reynolds said. 'Looking at both the television advertisement for the
film and its five-minute trailer, it's clear that neither Bossie nor
Alan Peterson, the film's director, have chops; they're no Michael
Moore.'

During the 2004 presidential campaign, one of the
earliest attacks against the Democratic Party's presidential candidate
Senator John Kerry -- predating by several months the Swift Boat
Veterans for Truth mega-attack on the candidate's military record --
was spearheaded by Floyd Brown's group, Citizens United, a long-time
conservative enterprise.

The ad became one of George W. Bush's
major themes: Based on Mastercard's famous ad campaign, the spot
cataloged the cost of Kerry's expensive taste in clothes and his
ownership of properties worth millions of dollars. It ended with
'Another rich liberal elitist from Massachusetts who claims he's a man
of the people? Priceless.'

The goal of the Citizens United
advertisement was to make Kerry look like an elitist; a premise that
Bush advisor Karl Rove and the campaign of the Republican Party's
presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, has revived again this
year. These days, in addition to the Obama-is-an-elitist message, he is
also being defined by McCain as an empty suit -- a 'celebrity' who is
out of touch with regular folks.

In June of this year, Rove --
now a roving right-wing commentator with the Fox News Channel, the Wall
Street Journal and other mainstream media platforms -- pulled the snob
card from the deck. Speaking at a country club, Rove likened Obama, to
'the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini
and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments
about everyone who passes by.'

In other words, Obama, the first
African American to run for the presidency, is oddly enough being
tagged as an elitist who is out of step with the U.S. public.

Bossie,
who co-produced 'Hype: The Obama Effect', which was directed and
written by Alan Peterson -- who also directed 'Fahrenhype 9/11,' a
response to Michael Moore's award-winning documentary 'Fahrenheit 911'
-- recognises that the film will likely have a very limited -- if any
-- run in theaters and he intends to market it via mail-order sales on
the Citizen United website, and through other DVD outlets.

'Bossie
is a political hatchet man whose career is based on smears and
attacking Democrats,' John Stauber, the executive director of the
Centre for Media and Democracy, told IPS. 'His Obama documentary will
provide plenty of footage for use on the internet and in commercials,
but I doubt that in and of itself that 'Hype' will make much difference
in the campaign.'

'I assume that the overall theme of Obama as
'socialist agent disguised as cult hero' must be resonating in the
political marketing surveys of the Bossie-types and the McCain
operatives, or they would switch to something more effective,' Stauber
added.

'Going back to the days when he was unremitting in his
attacks against Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bossie's forte has never been
accuracy,' Reynolds said. 'It has been bloodletting. And in that
regard, if 'Hype' gets any traction at all, it is likely to be viewed
as the political counterpart of [the horror movie franchise] Saw V, due
to be released just before the election.'

Bill Berkowitz is a
longtime observer of the conservative movement. His column
'Conservative Watch' documents the strategies, players, institutions,
victories and defeats of the U.S. Right.

 

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