Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith now concedes that Barack Obama sought the socialist New Party’s endorsement in 1996–but continues to give Obama, and the New Party, the benefit of the doubt on whether Obama was in fact a member. While admitting the Obama campaign misled the press and the public about the New Party, Smith continues to let the campaign get away without comment–when, in fact, David Axelrod responded yesterday.
Granted, Axelrod’s response was to claim that he had “no idea” about the New Party–but that is almost certainly a lie, given that he controls Obama’s image tightly, and given that the campaign targeted the New Party allegation as a “smear” in 2008. It is widely known that Axelrod micromanages his candidates’ speeches and biographies, and there is almost no chance he has “no idea” about Obama’s New Party ties.
To his credit, Smith allows that “if the Obama campaign falsely denied that detail of his liberal past in Chicago, it wouldn’t be the only fishy statement they made in 2008 about that period.” But he disagrees with Kurtz that Obama’s ties to the New Party “would have been the straw to break the camel’s back.”
It might not have been–because the mainstream media deflected each new fact about Obama as it emerged. (John Nolte has covered Smith’s own role in that deflection, calling it “BenSmithing.”) When the media could no longer write “nothing to see here” pieces about Obama’s past, as in the case of Jeremiah Wright, it eagerly accepted and celebrated Obama’s supposedly historic (but in fact fraudulent) explanations and excuses.
Smith places the burden of proof on Kurtz, as always. Why? How many lies from the Obama campaign are necessary before the mainstream media holds it accountable? Has Smith pressed the campaign for an apology to Kurtz, whom it smeared as a “crackpot”? When will “no idea” no longer be an acceptable answer?