The information on the post yesterday on ‘Grass Roots Smear’ is growing more intriguing all the time. Rusty Shackeleford of Jawa Report has some interesting background on this scheme. I am linking to this story without much of my own take,,,I believe this says it all. I do suggest you go over to Jawa Report and read all the updates, Truly some good investigation work here. Don’t think I would want to get on Dr. Rusty Shackleford bad side. Check out the video’s he thankfully saved before they suddenly left the building.
Check out the blog post link below
Updated Excerpt from JawaReport
So, the million dollar question is who, if any one, paid Winner & Associates to produce this ad?
[NOTE: The JawaReport legal department has pleaded with me to point out that everything from this point forward is pure conjecture on my part.
THE OBAMA CONNECTION
My initial money was on George Soroswho has contributed to Winner run campaigns in the past, . The sheer viciousness of the attack bears all of the hallmarks of Moveon.org.
But it could be any number of 527sthat Obama has now given the wink-wink-nudge-nudge to start hammering away at McCain.
Or the money could come from an untraceable source like the “charitable organization” run by Justyn Winner.
So why would any one hire a PR firm like W&R? Did I mention that they specialize in “crisis communications?”Again, from the Publicis website:
Which leaves open the possibility that Obama or the Democratic Party might also be the ones paying for the campaign. Is there anything that might be suggestive of that? Yes there is.
First there is Ethan Winner’s Facebook account. Among the 27 friends Ethan has on Facebook, one of them is David Washington. Dr. David Washington is described as a senior Obama campaign adviser in California.
[Update: Facebook account vanishes, but here’s the cache.]
In and of itself, that’s not much of a link. Washington is involved in hosting fundraisers for Obama in the L.A. area, and as we’ve already noted the Winner family has contributed to Obama’s campaign. Perhaps that explains the connection. But there are more compelling links between the video which we believe was uploaded by Ethan Winner and the Barack Obama campaign.
PROFESSIONAL WORK FOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN?
We began this post by noting that a video uploaded to YouTubeappeared to have been produced with a voice over done by a professional. As this Politico article makes clear, voice over artists are often used over and over by the same campaign. That shouldn’t be shocking to any one. That when called upon to make an advertisement a producer will use people that they’ve worked with before.
What is surprising is that voice artists are often partisans. Not only do they work for the same producers over and over, they often only work for one side of the political aisle. For instance, Betsy Ames is one of the premier voices for Republican campaigns. Kathryn Klvana is often heard on political ads — but only Democratic ones.
We believe that the artist in the “eswinner” Palin smear video has also worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign. What we think is her voice can be heard in Obama’s “Burden” video, released on Sept. 15th — less than a week after the “eswinner” Sarah Palin, a Heartbeat Away video.
Audio from each advertisement was ripped by Dan Riehl and spliced so that a better compare and contrast between the two voices could be made. I then equalized volume levels on the two ads, producing this video. Sorry about its poor quality, I don’t have the resources of a PR firm!
Are the two voices the same? You be the judge.
We think it is.
We also believe that she worked on this Obama ad, released on Sept. 20th, and this one, from August. She may be on others, but with over 1300 videos on Obama’s YouTube channel we just didn’t look for any more.
LINKS TO THE “KING OF ASTROTURFING” — DAVID AXELROD
We believe the voice can also be heard on these AKP&D Message and Media produced videos. In fact, all of the female voice overs showcased on the AKP&D website seem to belong to the same woman. That’s right, all of them. The same voice heard in some Barack Obama ads, and which was used for the “eswinner” slime campaign.
More importantly, though, what is AKP&D? It’s the Chicago based political consulting firm headed by David Axelrod. Yes, thatDavid Axelrod. As in theDavid Axelrod who is Barack Obama’s chief media strategist.
David Axelrod is also known as The master of “Astroturfing“, which is what PR industry insiders call the practice of “manufacturing grassroots support.” As Ace notes:
It tries to disguise itself as a “grassroots” phenomenon — but it’s artificial and inorganic. Hence, “Astroturf.”And David Axelrod is notorious for making extensive use of this controversial tactic — and was notorious for it even before he begain running Barack Obama’s campaign.
According to Businessweek, one of Axelrod’s astroturfingcampaigns stealthily spent $15 million convincing Illinois taxpayers that their power would be shut off if they didn’t approve an increase in their electric bills. It wasn’t until a complaint was filed with the state’s regulators that it was revealed that Axelrod’s “grassroots” campaign was fully funded by ComEd — the power company which would benefit from the rate hike.
Axelrod is a “community organizer” you might say.
This does not mean that we believe that Barack Obama’s campaign is behind the stealth Palin smear campaign. In fact, a preliminary analysis of Obama’scampaign expenditures filed with the FEC did not find any payouts to Winner & Associates or Publicis. But our familiarity with how to search FEC expenditures is limited, and there are tens of thousands of recorded transactions.
What we do believe we have found is that David Axelrod’sfirm has worked with the voice over artist in the “eswinner” Palin smear video. In fact, each and every political ad showcased on Axelrod’s website that has a female voice over seems to be the same voice from the Palin smear ad. That Axelrod used her over and over again in his videos going back several years.
We also believe that Axelrod has used her in several official Obama campaign videos.
We also know that David Axelrod is considered the master of orchestrating grassroots campaigns that appear spontaneous and which are difficult to trace to him.
In fact, Axelrod has a second company called ASK Public Strategieswho’s sole purpose seems to be running professional astroturfing campaigns. We can’t help but wonder if they ever outsource any of their work?
We also can’t help but ask if the Obama campaign has ever hired Publicis or Winner & Associates to do any work for them? Or the extent to which those advertising firms hired by Axelrod on behalf of the Obama campaign subcontract out to other large corporate PR firms?
A BROADER ASTROTURFING CAMPAIGN?
We believe that the case has been made that the Palin smear video was produced by the Publicis Groupe’s Winner & Associates. We believe the evidence to this effect is compelling.
We also believe that the evidence shows that W&A tried to spread the lies about Palin in such a way as to catch the attention of the left-wing netroot supporters of Barack Obama. We think it is unlikely that one of the largest PR firms in the world would do this for free. That they would pay for video production out of their own pockets, hire a well known voice actress, or that its employees would work together in their free time to help the video go viral.
So, if we’re right, who paid them? As of this writing we cannot answer that question. Our initial reaction was that this campaign had all the hallmarks of the Soros funded Moveon.org, but given David Axelrod’s known predilection to these type of stealth campaigns it would not surprise us in the least if the Obama campaign itself was orchestrating it.
That this is what Obama meant by “taking the gloves off”. Especially given the timing of the video’s release —during the brief period when Obama trailed McCain in the polls, and when most of McCain’s sudden surge was attributed to the popularity of Sarah Palin.
And if the company has been hired to stealthily spread these Palin smears, what other smears might they be paid to spread? Ones in which they more successfully covered their tracks?
The Palinsmear video analyzed here fits in nicely with the post-Palin pick narrative being offered by the Obama campaign. That narrative is that John McCain may not fill out his term in office. The narrative is bolstered by questions about McCain’s age, the present status of the skin cancer he once had, and by demands that his medical records be released.
The second ingredient in the narrative paints Sarah Palin — who would take McCain’s vacated Presidential office — as not ready for the job.Obama’s campaign has called her experience & intelligence into question, but there is also a “grassroots” viral campaign of deception that claims Palin is on the political fringe and is a religious lunatic.
Just in the past week, since we first began following the astroturfing of Sarah Palin, rumors have circulated that Palin was a member of the John Birch Society and that she hates rape victims. Bored with the spreading the lie that Palin thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old and that she banned books, this week the netroots are claiming that she supports witch hunts. Not metaphorical witch hunts, actual witch hunts.
Sometimes rumors and lies get spread organically with no need from direction. But sometimes what may seem to be an organic bottom up grassroots movement, may actually be led from the top and may be professionally organized.
We believe at least one such campaign to discredit Sarah Palin is currently underway. It seems highly likely that others are as well. We’ve done the initial work, but now it’s time for the professionals to take over and ask the tough questions.
UPDATE: Within an hour of this post going up, YouTube videos implicating Ethan Winner were yanked, sockpuppet accounts deleted, and more importantly, the Wikipedia entry on David Axelrod began to edit out mentions of his well know astroturfing campaigns. Hmmm, it sounds to me like we’re on to something.
We have backups of all the deleted websites, and have now included them in the post.
Thanks to all who have linked this post. Due to high interest in the story, we are unable to check all posts relate to it at this time. If you have something important you think should go in updates to this post — something we’ve overlooked — please e-mail Rusty.
Update: Weekly Standard calls Jared Liu-Klein who didn’t deny he was “stckyfngz” …. and then proceeded to hang up.
Nailed! Ethan Winner confesses he was behind video!
So gang, we better get busy contacting the Media to investigate this..probably won’t but we must try. Greta on Fox might be a good bet. No pain, no gain..let’s try them all. Contact and complain..The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Or so I have been told. Dr. Rusty Shackleford has done the tough work of investigation. Can we do no less?