September 17, 2008

The Obama Campaign's Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

Barack Obama really, really doesn't like people mentioning his past.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Now Obama's presidential campaign is increasingly using the list to beat back media messages it does not like, calling on supporters to flood radio and television stations when those opposed to him run anti-Obama ads or appear on talk shows.

It did so as recently as Monday night, when it orchestrated a massive stream of complaints on the phone lines of Tribune Co.-owned WGN-AM in Chicago when the radio station hosted author David Freddoso, who has written a controversial book about the Illinois Democrat.

The latest use of the database, called the Obama Action Wire, is proving yet another new and potentially powerful tactic in the closing weeks of a campaign that has already been dominated by Internet-based messages and media. ...

"The Action Wire serves as a means of arming our supporters with the facts to take on those who spread lies about Barack Obama and respond forcefully with the truth, whether it's an author passing off fiction as biography, a Web site spreading baseless conspiracy theories or a TV station airing an ad that makes demonstrably false claims," said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Sen. John McCain's campaign uses the Internet for fundraising and organization but does not have anything like Obama's alert system to bombard a specific media outlet in real time.

Obama's campaign says supporters have placed thousands of phone calls to TV and radio stations and sent even more letters to newspapers.

A page on the campaign's Web site, headlined "Hit 'em where it hurts," told supporters how to complain to advertisers at stations that ran a recent anti-Obama ad.

"We'll provide you with talking points on this maliciously false hit ad to help guide you through the process," the page said, citing a spot run by a conservative group called the American Issues Project.

The campaign says supporters sent roughly 100,000 e-mails in August to stations that aired the ad, which criticized Obama for his ties to former 1960s radical William Ayers.

WGN also was flooded with calls and e-mails shortly before and during an Aug. 27 interview with Stanley Kurtz, a conservative writer who has examined Obama's ties to Ayers.

"WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears," read the first message confronting the station, an e-mail that also provided detailed background information on Kurtz, Obama and Ayers.

The WGN alerts were sent primarily to Obama supporters in the Chicago area but were quickly posted to electronic message boards and Web sites, spreading them worldwide. Many of those who called to complain were from outside Illinois, and they flooded the station's switchboard in a way a WGN producer called "unprecedented."

On Monday night, Zack Christenson, executive producer of "Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg," said the response was about the same. "It's just constant, constant phone calls, and the e-mails are pouring in," he said, adding that the extra volume of calls made it more difficult to run the show.

Obama's campaign describes the system as a grass-roots truth squad that arms supporters with information. But others see an attempt to stifle free speech.

"If Barack Obama demonstrates this little regard for free speech from his opponents during the campaign, what could the American people expect from him as a president?" Ed Martin, president of American Issues Project, said in a statement.

I've read Fredosso's book. If there are lies in it (and I didn't notice any), Obama should sue for libel. Lotsa luck with that, Barack.

The emerging method of political power, as pioneered by Berlusconi in Italy, and imitated by Putin in Russia and by Chavez, less effectively, in Venezuela is to control what can be said on television and radio.

Obama won't actually own the airwaves and there is still that pesky First Amendment, but it appears that his team is working out a plan to use mobs to intimidate media outlets. Think about it from a station manager's point of view -- We could interview some reporter who has spent months investigating Obama's relationship with Tony Rezko, and have all our advertisers receive countless fulminating emails forwarded from Team Obama threatening to never buy their products again ... or we could do a segment on Megan Fox.

Sure, it's hard to sell books without doing publicity tour interviews, so there will be fewer books about President Obama, but the publishers can instead sign Megan Fox up to write her autobiography, so everybody's happy, right?

Further, considering how much the U.S. government suddenly seems to more or less own as of this week, all sorts of new possibilities are opened up. Matthew Yglesias is already salivating over what President Obama could do as the ultimate owner of the country's biggest insurance company:
In November, there’s going to be an election. And in January, there’ll be a new President. And in the interim, progressive groups will probably come up with a lot of “ten ways to make everything awesome” proposals. And it’ll take 41 conservative senators to filibuster them all, and so they’ll all be filibustered. But if the government directly controls major financial institutions, that would give the new administration extraordinary leverage over the national economy. Suppose the new CEO of AIG decided he didn’t want to insure assets of companies whose executives make unseemly multiples of the national median income? There are all kinds of crazy things you could do. And of course not all of them woul dbe good ideas. But some of them would! And the smart folks on our side need to be figuring out which ones they are. It seems doubtful to me that a progressive administration would ever be able to get away with this much nationalizing of everything, but what’s done is done and I think it creates a real opportunity for “socially conscious insurance underwriting” or whatever you care to call it.

Fortunately, Obama has a trusted long-time adviser with decades of experience running socially conscious public-private partnerships. That man is otherwise occupied at the moment, but a President Obama has the Presidential Pardon to spring Tony Rezko out of the correctional facility and into the West Wing.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Obama won't actually own the airwaves and there is still that pesky First Amendment,"

The Second Amendment narrowly avoided being disembowled solely because Anthony Kennedy flipped a coin and decided to vote to uphold the constitution this year.

If Obama gets a chance to appoint leftist SCOTUS justices, we could see people being executed for "hate thoughts" in 10 years.

Oh my God, we are fucked!

Anonymous said...

Obama won't actually own the airwaves and there is still that pesky First Amendment, but it appears that his team is working out a plan to use mobs to intimidate media outlets.

A man with the desire to do it and the true believers to help him. I sent my Obamaite cousin links to some of those Wright/Ayers videos and she hasn't spoken to me since.

If Obama gets elected, though, he's gunna need something to keep all his followers on the same page, to make sure they don't get out of hand. Maybe he can give them all a little red book.

Given the Marxist beliefs of his father, mother, and paternal grandmother, I have a hunch it's in his blood.

Anonymous said...

Given the Marxist beliefs of his father, mother, and paternal grandmother, I have a hunch it's in his blood.

Careful there - you seem to be suggesting that there is a genetic component to these things.

Anonymous said...

“to control what can be said on television and radio” “as pioneered by Berlusconi in Italy”

Sorry Steve but you bought the leftist myth here. Italian TV is not under any Berlusconi monopoly, the state media is leftist (like the US the professionals bias matters most, not the owners”), and even Berlusconi own TV-channels are not all right-wing, there are some very very leftist programs there (he is in it for the money, and he can't produce TV without journalists, who are leftist).

Italian TV-news is full of hard core communists.

A better comparison is Fox, where the dominant channel is right, and everything else left or center. Interestingly the public Italian channels have a implicit contract, one with center-right bias, one centrist and one hard-core leftist.

The assumption that Berlusconi controls Italian state tv is like the Chomsky clam that the MSM is "corporate" and therefore right wing.

rightsaidfred said...

Mob rule by the Obamazoids. Lovely. Sounds like a possible plot for a horror movie.

Danindc said...

Steve, I'm interested in your thoughts about the hard-core left's reaction if Obama loses a close one? I've heard some metion of riots etc....it would be a site to see.

SF said...

If McCain isn't sponsoring an internet disinformation barrage, then someone is doing it for him. In the last few days, I have gotten totally false E-mails about illegal foreign fundraising by Obama, and another claiming Obama will tax all profits on house sales 28%. The first was falsely attributed to Maureen Dowd. The second was easily refuted by checking Factcheck.

Anonymous said...

i feel like steve is in the tank for obama. that, or his position is that we are screwed either way and he can't bring himself to publicly acknowledge it because it is so hopeless. such is the curse of understanding.

rightsaidfred said...

I don't like this penchant for 'clearing the field' we get from the Obamanation. Don't win on your merits. Instead, eliminate the competition.

Stalin was asked once what the biggest mistake Ivan the Terrible made: "He let too many of his enemies live."

Anonymous said...

Given the Marxist beliefs of his father, mother, and paternal grandmother, I have a hunch it's in his blood.

I meant, of course, "maternal grandfather" on the last.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Barack Obama Uses Google to Combat Vicious Rumors
By Kevin Whitelaw
Posted September 17, 2008
usnews.com

Barack Obama is waging an quiet battle in the Googlesphere to combat damaging rumors, as well as his opponent, John McCain.

Specifically, Obama's campaign has waded into online auctions for Google search terms to snap up not only obvious phrases like "Barack Obama" but also potentially negative ones like "Barack Obama birth certificate" or "Barack Obama as a Muslim," according to Hitwise, an Internet audience monitoring firm...

headache said...

"I don't like this penchant for 'clearing the field' we get from the Obamanation. Don't win on your merits. Instead, eliminate the competition."

This is not Stalinist. It's African. The African default political mode of operation has been exemplified by Mugabe, which is why most Africans, also African-Americans, revere him. Obama is just employing African political methods in a European sort of non-violent way. He sees any competition as being unjustified.

Anonymous said...

Megan Fox, Jessica Alba. I guess we've discovered Steve's type: dark haired, swarthy sylphs with pouty mouths. Not that that isn't most peoples type.

Anonymous said...

I've known this for months. Whenever any questions are posed about Obama that don't follow the cut-out that his handlers have put forward, you see a barage of emails, one after the other, denouncing such dissent in outraged terms. They appear EVERYWHERE, even on alternative radio shows featuring paranormal subjects. The Machine running Obama has been planning this for a couple decades. I would think that anybody who knows about the paid commenters and bloggers would discard any positive comments on Obama as untrustworthy.
One thing about these emailers is that they seem not to grasp the reasonableness and rightness of asking these questions. The emails may even be computer generated--wouldn't surprise me.
As I've been saying, the Obama-Brzezinski crew has paid bloggers and commenters from all over the globe which is one reason for the rather simple-minded sound many of them have. Members of this Machine have threatened the lives of anti-Obama people, who only want answers to valid questions. Joe Biden's, Beau, has much to answer for in this capacity. http://www.bbsradio.com/cgi-bin/webbbs/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/23394

Many of the more passionate pro-Obama comments may be black and are simply blind to any flaws in their hero. I admit it's hard for me to believe so many whites could actually believe this person will do anything positive for them other than assuage the "guilt" they enjoy massaging. A black candidate is sure to bring positive change? Why? Did they do that in Detroit? Anywhere they've been mayors? I guess blacks are happier seeing them in office, but what on earth do they do for anybody else?
I really don't get the delusional white support and I suspect that in most parts of the country it is proving to be gossamer. This doesn't mean I couldn't vote for a black candidate--of course I could, but when there are so few viable one, the pickins' are slim.
There have been a couple good blacks in politics that might have made decent candidates. But not this person.

neil craig said...

"The emerging method of political power, as pioneered by Berlusconi in Italy, and imitated by Putin in Russia and by Chavez, less effectively, in Venezuela is to control what can be said on television and radio."

Hardly emerging. WEhen, since 1990, have you seen anybody on the media mentioning the Nazi antecedents of of the poor helpless democratic Croats & Bosnian Moslems, or voicing suspicions of the repeatedly changed & evidence free story about the evil Serb's Srebrenica massacre, or doubting the repeatedly changed & evidence free stuff about global warming. If the first amendment was worth that much why would it be impossible for anybody on TV to report the massacres, child sex slavery & kidnappings & dissection of living people to sell their organs carried out by NATO Police (formerly the KLA) in Kosovo.

MQ said...

The emerging method of political power, as pioneered by Berlusconi in Italy, and imitated by Putin in Russia and by Chavez, less effectively, in Venezuela is to control what can be said on television and radio.

Funny, I thought that in the U.S. this method was already pioneered by the Republican party, the various attack ideologues of the right, and Fox News. It's a proven winner, too.

If you can't see the origins of these methods in right-wing attack politics, then you're hopelessly partisan. Obama is just fighting fire with fire.

Dennis Mangan said...

Am I supposed to know who Megan Fox is, or should I just resign myself to being out-of-touch with the masses?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Megan Fox, Jessica Alba. I guess we've discovered Steve's type: dark haired, swarthy sylphs with pouty mouths. Not that that isn't most peoples type.

Yeah, all those poor pale skinned, blond haired blue eyed girls left on the shelf or taken up as a despairing last resort by the nerdy socially inept guys who just cant catch one of those dark babes, the ones that most people want.

professor said...

danindc wrote "Steve, I'm interested in your thoughts about the hard-core left's reaction if Obama loses a close one? I've heard some metion of riots etc"

That would be the best thing could possibly happen for conservatives.

Martin said...

"Dennis Mangan said...

Am I supposed to know who Megan Fox is, or should I just resign myself to being out-of-touch with the masses?"

Dennis,

I believe the answer to your questions are No and Yes. I think she is the latest disposable girl to grace the pages of Maxim. She is either an actress, a singer, or a professional party attender, or the girlfriend of someone famous. It doesn't really matter, as she will be forgotten within a couple of years. (And on that topic, an interesting exercise in pop-culture would be to compare the shelf-lives of actors and actresses. I'd bet that actors have longer careers on average).

I'm 44, and I am also becoming reconciled to having no idea about who's who in what now passes for our society. Middle-aged white guys are not the target demographic. What we are interested in doesn't count anymore.

Regards, - Martin

Brett said...

"Oh my God, we are fucked!"

And we're so much less fucked with the co-author of McCain/Feingold nominating to the courts. The 1st amendment is in real trouble no matter WHO wins this one.

"Funny, I thought that in the U.S. this method was already pioneered by the Republican party, the various attack ideologues of the right, and Fox News. It's a proven winner, too.

If you can't see the origins of these methods in right-wing attack politics, then you're hopelessly partisan. Obama is just fighting fire with fire."


I think it takes a hopeless partisan to not see the difference between having your own outlet, so that you can get your own speech out, and being determined to keep the other guy from getting HIS speech out. What Obama has going on really is DOS attacks. I'll be shocked if he doesn't go for a revival of the 'fairness' doctrine, too, if elected.

Anonymous said...

So the idea of mob rule originated with conservatives, and Obama's blatant attempt to shout down his critics by proxy is only "fighting fire with fire"...

You betcha...

I keep trying to keep an open mind when it comes to this election, but holy crap, some of you lefties are living in a dream world. You guys keep reminding me of why I abandoned the left so many years ago - because Mylai was a massacre, but the VC were just "fighting fire with fire" in Hue, etc, etc.

I had hopes that Obama might be different. Nope, same old leftist crap. What a disappointment.

Tschafer

rob said...

Obama won't actually own the airwaves

I'm pretty sure the airwaves are public domain. The government does own them. And if an NBC/ABC/CBS that's "too big to fail" parent company ever goes belly up, the feds can end up with a major broadcaster.

But I do wonder, given the demographic direction of the US, a Chicago model of government and economics is more appealing than a Detroit, Brazil, Mexico, or Zimbabwe model. Of course, changing the demographic course is even more appealing.

American Goy said...

Give me a break Steve-o.

AM Talk Radio is like Radio Rwanda in this country, with hosts bleating, screaming, insulting and occasionally calling on people to murder Democrats.

Any discussion on the media role in the American political arena must start with that.

Tsoldrin said...

This reminds me of giyus.org (give israel your united support) tactics, where they've got an alert system that they use to send all of their users to flood a site that has a post critical of israel.

It would seem possible to defeat such a strategy by using pay-for-view/click advertising (ideally, paid for by Obama partisans) and then purposefully attracting the hordes to flood the site. Step 3. Profit.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. You copy the ENTIRE article, except the one small tiny paragraph which gives a justifying rationale for the behavior you dislike:

"The aggressive rebuttals are very much informed by Obama's determination to avoid being victimized by the sort of attacks leveled against Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee stung by TV ads run by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

Now *thats* responsible commentary on your part, eh?