Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 09/14/2011
Attack Watch, new Obama campaign site to ‘fight smears,’ becomes laughing stock of the Internet
By Elizabeth Flock
(Image via Twitter) As the 2012 presidential campaign heats up, President Obama’s campaign team has set up a new Web site, AttackWatch.com, to challenge negative statements about the president made by Republican presidential candidates and conservatives.
Obama for America national field director Jeremy Bird told ABC News that the site’s goal is to offer “resources to fight back” against attacks. Mostly, that means fact checking statements from the likes of GOP presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Rick Perry and conservative commentator Glenn Beck and offering evidence to the contrary. The site is designed in bold red and black colors, and uses statements like “support the truth” and “fight the smears.”
The response to the site has been less than stellar.
On Twitter, where the Web site has an account to help Obama supporters submit evidence of “attacks” on the president using the hashtag #attackwatch, nearly every tweet about the site has ridiculed it.
“There’s a new Twitter account making President Obama look like a creepy, authoritarian nutjob,” an Arizonan tweeted. “In less than 24 hours, Attack Watch has become the biggest campaign joke in modern history,” a contributor to conservative blog The Right Sphere wrote. The contributor linked to the following parody commercial for Attack Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XYKRokgX00
While the initiative is reminiscent of a similar online effort launched during the 2008 campaign, called Fight the Smears, the hysteria-inducing design and language of the new site seems to be what’s causing a bigger ruckus.
Fight the Smears looked and felt far less scary, quoting Obama at the top of its page in a classic hope-change statement: “What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon — that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge but enemies to demonize.”
Attack Watch, on the other hand, used the shorter — and somewhat scaremongering — tagline, “Get the Truth. Fight the Smears.”
It’s safe to say that in its 24 hours of existence, Attack Watch has already backfired in drumming up support for Obama 2012. This tweet summed it up: “Wow, not only are Obama & Co. incredibly thin-skinned, they’re paranoid.”
By Elizabeth Flock | 12:56 PM ET, 09/14/2011
Notwithstanding the url has not changed (see above), the Washington Post has decided to change the article up by retitling it from “the Internet” to “conservatives”. They also removed the Twitter image of #AttackWatch and replaced it with a huge photo of Mr. Obama, moving the Twitter pic down into the article a bit.
They also added “mostly from conservatives” within the 4th paragraph –
New read: “…nearly every tweet about the site — mostly from conservatives — has ridiculed it.”
Added an entire paragraph between paragraphs 5 and 6 which reads:
“Tommy Christopher of Mediaite noted sarcastically of the site, “Great. Sounds like a terrific content-generating resource for right-wing bloggers, too. Everybody wins!””
Paragraph 6 altered – “…the hysteria-inducing design…” was changed to now read “…the intimidating design…”.
Paragraph 8 altered – “…— and somewhat scaremongering —…” removed.
Last paragraph altered –
Original: “It’s safe to say that in its 24 hours of existence, Attack Watch has already backfired in drumming up support for Obama 2012. This tweet summed it up: “Wow, not only are Obama & Co. incredibly thin-skinned, they’re paranoid.””
Altered: “It’s safe to say that in its 24 hours of existence, Attack Watch has already backfired, becoming a tool for conservatives to use against Obama 2012. A tweet by conservative author Brad Thor summed up the critics’s argument: “Wow, not only are Obama & Co. incredibly thin-skinned, they’re paranoid.””
And so it seems that the Washington Post itself was reported to Attack Watch, either that, or “they must be incredibly thin-skinned [and/or] they’re paranoid.”