Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"The most effective anti-smear message of the campaign"

Jed Report:
One of the big challenges with defending Barack Obama -- or anyone else, for that matter -- against false, viral smears is that the last thing you want to do is to inadvertently reinforce the smear.

In late June, Professor Sam Wang, a neuroscientist at Princeton (mindgeek at Daily Kos), penned a New York Times op-ed describing how debunking falsehoods by repeating the falsehoods can in fact strengthen the original falsehood. Consequently, the best way to spread the truth is by leading with the truth to debunk the smear. For example, emphasize that "Barack Obama IS a Christian" instead of saying what he is not.

Today, Ben Smith posted a new mailer from AFL-CIO aimed at debunking several of the most prominent smears against Barack Obama, and it is by far the best effort I've seen during the entire campaign to combat the smears.

As you can see, instead of answering each smear in the negative, the mailer instead poses questions that can be answered positively. In this fashion, the flier is reinforcing who Barack Obama actually is instead of who Barack Obama is not.

It's excellent -- kudos to the AFL-CIO and whoever designed the mailer. Great job -- and thanks.

Update: Greg Sargent (who originally posted the flyer earlier today) picks up on this post here, noting the contrast between this flyer and the official anti-smear website, which leads with the smears.

Update 2: If you want to let the AFL-CIO know that you appreciate their flyer and want to encourage them to to distribute as much as possible, you can leave them thank you note here. pdf version of the mailer

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