I Read The News Today Oh Boy.

We often focus, and frankly understandably so, on the big deceptions the Right plays because it’s hard not to notice the impact of climate change denial.

But those big deceptions are really, in some ways, a thousand small deceptions carried out all day every day, for weeks and months and years. Pay close attention to, or perhaps believe, all these smaller deceptions and next thing you know, Michelle Bachman starts making sense.

This morning, have followed some strong Democratic and Progressive issues like the voting down of the collective bargaining law in Ohio, I was genuinely interested in how the Right was spinning last night. So I went to Drudge Report.

Now, first, before we get into specifics, remember that Drudge is read literally by tens of millions of people every month, a huge number of journalists and editors get their ideas there of what’s happening in the world and a large percentage of those reading Drudge don’t actually know that it is a Far Right Echo Chamber super site. They actually think it’s real news, fairly presented.

So what did they see this morning?

Well, Dave has already addressed the Christmas Tree Tax issue right here.

But again, the biggest political news last night was the overwhelming reversal of Governor Kasich’s assault on union rights. It’s nowhere to be found. On the left, we have four links about Herman Cain, the conclusion from these links? Women accusing Cain are finacially-motivated and perhaps linked to Obama? Essentially Drudge is washing Cain’s laundry for him

In the middle, we learn that Ohio voters have opted out of the health care mandate but, since we’re talking Ohio Matt, how about a note about the vote on the union law? No such hope. We also have an unflattering picture and a story about the emergency system and a note about Gingrich. Now, his campaign is really dead in the water but he is the ‘tortoise’ so maybe he has some hope right?

On the right, we have immigration handled nicely. It’s literally a ‘border’ war, we’ve had to break out the SWAT teams. Clearly, we are a nation in need of a wall, or a fence, or something to prevent what is almost war. Fannie Mae is costing us MORE money and then we learn that being married to Barack Obama is ‘scary.’

That’s it, that’s the above the fold headlines from Drudge. That’s it. Nothing about the people in Mississippi voting down the horrible warped ‘personhood’ amendment. Nothing about some strong Democratic gains or some strong Democratic holds.

Nothing. And we wonder why no one knows what’s happening in our country?




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Let’s Just Lie — ‘Christmas Tree Tax’

Here’s how propaganda works. You start with a narrative, and then you twist every current events story to confirm the narrative. Here is an example: the ‘Christmas Tree Tax.’

Narrative: “Democrats tax and spend.” Second narrative, “Democrats hate Christians.”

Current event: The Christmas tree industry wants to promote natural Christmas trees because more and more people are using artificial trees. So they all got together and agreed to chip in and do a joint promotion, like the “Got Milk?” campaign by milk producers. They needed agriculture department approval before doing this jointly, and it just came through. Details: Christmas tree farmers hope ads will stem growth of artificial trees

Following an extended debate that pit one region against another, the Agriculture Department on Tuesday gave the green light to a new industry-funded Christmas tree promotion program.

By taxing themselves, growers will raise $2 million a year for ads promoting the merits of real, live trees. Or, at least, trees that once were living, as opposed to the artificial kind that have seized an increasing share of the holiday market.

… Akin to similar programs that promote milk, beef and cotton, the new Christmas tree program will impose on U.S. domestic producers and importers an initial fee of 15 cents per tree.
A 12-member board will direct the money to generic ads and other promotions, as well as research. The promotions, according to the Agriculture Department, will present “a favorable image of Christmas trees to the general public,” with the intent of improving the public “perception” of Christmas trees and, hence, their sales.

The propaganda campaign: The Heritage Foundation, never a fount of truth, took this and turned it into a “Christmas Tree Tax.” Heritage: Obama Couldn’t Wait: His New Christmas Tree Tax,

President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.

Look at the flat-out lie in that sentence: the Department will “impose” a tax. The industry asked the department to be allowed to chip in, but Heritages turns this into an Ayn Randian, “taxes are theft” statement. They conclude their statement with “The economy is barely growing and nine percent of the American people have no jobs. Is a new tax on Christmas trees the best President Obama can do?”

The propaganda-propelling machine: Remember as you read the following that the industry requested this, and was waiting for Ag Department approval, to help them promote natural over artificial trees.

Look at this huge headline at Drudge. Look at the racial-imagery choice of a picture. With this at Drudge, you can be sure the right’s propaganda machine will propel this lie across the world faster than truth can get its boots on.

Politico dutifully echoes: USDA OKs Christmas tree tax

Fox does its duty: Obama’s New ‘Christmas Tree Tax’

More Fox: Merry Christmas? Agriculture Department Imposes Christmas Tree Tax


Forbes: Scrooge Comes Early This Year With “Christmas Tree Tax”

Cato: Yes, Virginia, There Is a Christmas Tree Tax

Watch the narrative explode at the Conservatives4Palin site: Obama’s New Christmas Tree Tax, Big Government Has Officially Exploded

Limbaugh isn’t on the air yet, but I suspect this will lead the show.

Posted in Let's Just Lie, Marketing, Propaganda, Smears | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Why We Are Bringing “Smoking Politics” Back

Five years ago, we started writing blog posts together. While we each have our own interests, we share perhaps a perverse fascination with the corporate/conservative movement right, the ways they communicate and their ability to communicate without conscience or concern for facts and sheer hypocrisy. It is often an unrecognized theme in American Politics, the simple fact that the right doesn’t even concern itself with simple facts and the effect that has on our discourse and ability to solve problems. It is all just propaganda – saying whatever they need to say to gain power.

As part of our work together in 2006 and 2007, and especially with James’s Kerry Campaign experience and our work together on “The Patriot Project,” a project funded by John Kerry and run by James in 2006 which helped defend among others Joe Sestak, John Murtha and Patrick Murphy from smears on their service records, we saw more and more how pervasive this strategy of factual ignorance was becoming common place. As we looked into where it came from – the smears, the phrasings, the tricks, the front groups, the consultants, the “institutes-for-money,” the media machine, the echo chamber, the money, the money, the money — we discovered that many of the right’s consultant heroes, Rove, Atwater, etc. had started out in tobacco marketing. We discovered that many of the right’s “think tanks” and front groups and various other organizations had started out fronting for tobacco interests.

That clicked for us, on two primary levels.

First, people who do tobacco advertising and marketing are purely in it for the money. It is a financial transaction, nothing more, nothing less. You pay me and I will help you sell your product. This is also how the right operates politically. People on the left, we believe, actually believe in what they are selling, The right is just selling, for money, and those providing the money just want power. It’s just business.

Second, if you can sell cigarettes based upon making them the symbol of clean healthy living (Marlboro Country) or the claim that more doctors smoke them (Camels), then the minor inconvenience of an economic fact or global warming, well, that’s nothing folks. And by the way, did you know that the oil industry hired the same tobacco lobbyists that created tobacco denial to create the ‘manufactroversy’ of global warming. “It’s not proven science.” “Scientists disagree.”

So, after a bit of a hiatus we’re bring back www.smokingpolitics.com. If anything, the right has gone FURTHER with this strategy and it’s working better than ever. (See decline of support for climate change legislation.)

Our role, our vision is to help shine the spotlight on how the right does this, how they operate, because it’s important that when we are talking jobs, tax cuts, global warming, Herman Cain etc, someone is standing up and pointing out how they are attacking.

So please follow us AND

if you have a post that deals with this, with front groups, etc., please please let us now and we’ll feature it.


Dave Johnson and James Boyce

Posted in Blogging and the blog, Front Groups, Smears, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Yes, It Would Have Been Amazing If The Washington Post Had Printed It.

I have an uncle I love dearly, but to say he is a Republican is an understatement. But one thing he has taught me politically is how email has become such an effective tool of transmitting political commentary.

This might be happening on both sides, but it appears to me, biased as I am, that the Right, and its supporters, have turned this strategy into a communications vehicle on steroids. It’s like the old shampoo commercial, and they email ten friends and they email ten friends and then, I have had the personal experience of having an email thrust in my face, printed out in ripe indignation as if it was a page of the Bible.

“How can you say that when Michelle Obama’s European Trip cost $100 million?”

Uh, well, I see your point Uncle Ken.

Today, I was forwarded an email with the headline

Amazing that the Wash. Post would actually print this. Amazing!
The Washington Post
August 18, 2011 Obama: The Affirmative Action President by Matt Patterson (columnist – Washington Post, New York Post, San Francisco Examiner)

Well, yes it would have been amazing. And let’s forget the rest of the entire email, let’s ignore the commentary in the email because clearly the commentary has value because this was printed in The Washington Post! A liberal paper in Washington DC printed this! You see how it works!

And clearly this Matt Patterson knows his stuff, look where he is a columnist for!

Well, google Matt Patterson and here is his site. Seriously, go see it.

Matt Patterson Online

And here is his contribution as a ‘columnist’ to The Washington Post. A single online letter to the editor from 2009

Now, Google Matt Patterson Washington Post August 18, 2011 and guess what you get? Hundreds of conservative sites linking to this remarkable article. But what you won’t get is any evidence that the article every actually ran in The Washington Post.

In fact, if you go to www.washingtonpost.com and search for Matt Patterson, you get nothing.

This is an example of what is remarkable about the Right’s echo chamber.

Here it echoed with a million plus links on Google, something that never was actually fired in the first place.



Posted in Media, Prop Mail | Tagged , , | 113 Comments

Cain – Now There’s A Pattern

In a post a few days ago, The Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Accusation, I wrote that what had come out so far didn’t add up to enough yet to make me question Cain’s character.

My take on it: I don’t see it. Unless something else comes up I have not heard enough evidence to make me question Cain’s character — on this issue. (His 9-9-9 plan is a whole different story.) I haven’t heard of anything that might indicate a pattern.

Well, it sure is getting there now. It is starting to look like there could be a pattern, and is enough to make me start questioning his character.

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Howie Carr Showcases How The Right Views The World Without Facts.

Howie Carr, a minor clog in the Right’s noise machine, who writes a column for The Boston Herald among other things, did a beautiful job showcasing what the world looks like when you have the innate ability to look at situations without logic or facts.

In his day, Howie would have done a terrific job telling us how “more Doctors smoke Camels” or that if you smoke Marlboros, welcome to the great outdoors and Marlboro Country.

In his “column” “Lefty Media Pounce On Vague Allegations” Carr addresses the Cain Harassment issue. He starts, fairly enough, by noting that we don’t really know what happened with Cain and the women, but he ignores the fact, conveniently, in the entire column that Cain settled not one but two sexual harassment lawsuits.

Never mentions it.

He then juxtaposes the treatment of Cain with the treatment of Edwards and his affair in 2008.

The mainstream media knew it was all true. But they wouldn’t say boo. Edwards was one of the Beautiful People.

This wonderful ability to think of himself, a writer for a major newspaper in one of America’s largest cities, the host of a daily radio show, and someone who has done this for decades, but is he part of the “mainstream media?” Of course not.

Next, compared to his fair treatment of Cain and the concept of we don’t really know what happened there, he takes an accuser of Bill Clinton’s and makes her word gospel, quoting directly from her allegations.

What’s also missing from his article is the core of the issue. One of his fellow Republicans planted this story, who was it and why did they do it? Are Perry and Romney (and I would presume Carr would have pretty good contacts in the Romney camp) really this afraid of Herman Cain?

Sometimes, it’s nice to take a step back and look at a single article, by one writer, and realize the power of hundreds of men and women writing and dispersing misinformation like this.

If you read Howie’s take on it, Politico is a liberal site (it’s not) Cain never settled the charges (he did) and you would presume that this ‘high-tech lynching’ is the work of the left when it was clearly someone on the right who brought out the rope.


Posted in Candidates, Marketing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Follow Us On Twitter @SmokingPolitics

Facebook Page is on the way but for right now, you can follow us on Twitter and please do!


If you are further interested, I am @jamesboyce and Dave is @dcjohnson.



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How Cain Episode Shows Us Again – Republicans Play A Different Game.

Yesterday Dave wrote an insightful post about the Herman Cain media blow up on harassment claims. He’s dead on with his analysis.

But there is one thought I would add to the debate over the issue and the coverage of the issue. The Republicans flat out play a different game. And, as a Democrat who has worked on two Presidential Campaigns, here’s why it matters.

A Democrat would have never done this. First, they would have debated about whether the original harassment claims were valid. Then they would have worried about getting found out as the leak behind the story. Then they would have worried about the impact on the women in the original claim. And the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace in general.

Then they would have worried that once, somewhere, a Democrat was accused of the same thing and how can they possibly bring this up in case someone says well, fifteen years ago, what about Bill Clinton?

So they would have passed. They would have let the story go and gone on to attack what some genius in Washington thinks is Cain’s real weakness and that is issues within his tax plan.

Republicans? No way. This was a way to derail a potential frontrunner and the facts, the ethics, the potential cross claims be dammed. Shoot first. Ask questions later.

In fact, this small example is part of the reason this site exists. The Republican Strategists, the men and women who sell tobacco as part of a healthy outdoor lifestyle, do you really think that the chance that Cain might not have actually done anything would bother them? Or that it could cause terrible trauma to the women involved? No, this is a business and the ends justify the means.

The press coverage on the Right also proved this. People who pay attention think it’s hypocrisy, it’s not. It’s just you have to put yourself in a reverse enlightment, a place where facts don’t matter. And then it’s easy to call Politico the main stream media and describe this as a “high tech lynching” by Democrats. It’s laughable, if it wasn’t so effective.

Democrats, you want as friends. Republicans? Watch Cain fall now and you’ll realize. You want those bastards running your campaign.


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