The media love covering grassroots attacks on major political candidates. The attacks signal a large base of Americans disturbed by a particular candidate or issue. When those grassroots attacks are manufactured by public relations firms, they aren’t real: they’re astroturfed — fake attacks designed to look like a grassroots movement.
David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s chief strategist, is a master of astroturf campaigns. It should come as no surprise then that Axelrod and the Obama campaign appear to be behind anonymous attacks against Sarah Palin surfacing on the internet.
The attacks on Palin started online shortly after McCain named her his running mate and quickly spread to the mainstream media. Palin was allegedly a member of the John Birch Society. She became a member of an Alaskan separatist group. She showed no compassion for rape victims in Wasilla, Alaska. The attacks cited news organizations but were all quickly debunked. Unfortunately, the attacks went viral and started circulating through email and across the internet.
What struck many bloggers as unusual about these “grassroots” attacks was the production quality of the videos. They were well done for amateurs. The Jawa Report, a noted right of center blog known for tracking down online terrorists, observed that the videos had a female voiceover strikingly similar to the same voice David Axelrod has used in Obama advertisements and other work.
Breaking yesterday, the Jawa Report has provided stunning documentation and evidence that fairly well proves the videos are tied to David Axelrod and the Barack Obama campaign.
The Jawa Report has so well documented the ties to the Obama campaign that it sent the posters of the online attack videos into a coverup frenzy. The posters have been hard at work yanking all the attacks from the internet. Here, in a nutshell, is what the Jawa Report has shown.
The ads were put on YouTube by user “eswinner.” The Jawa Report alleges that eswinner is actually Ethan S. Winner of Publicis Groupe, whose subsidiary company Winner & Associates is run by Chuck Winner, a Democratic operative and Obama donor. The firm has also represented Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson as well as the European Union in its efforts to sell the European Union treaty to the public.
After eswinner put his attack video against Gov.Palin on YouTube, another user, cnwinner, whom the Jawa Report alleges is Chuck Winner, added comments to the original video giving it legitimacy. Around the same time, another YouTube user, “stckyfngz”, posted the video at the far left site, Democratic Underground. Based on information tracked down by the Jawa Report, stckyfngz appears to be Jared Liu-Klein, another employee of Winner & Associates. Mr. Liu-Klein also represented Valerie Plame.
The ties from Winner & Associates trace back to David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama. As previously noted, Axelroad is a master of astroturf campaigns. After the Jawa Report broke the story, someone mysteriously edited Axelrod’s Wikipedia entry to delete all references to his various astroturfing campaigns.
Nonetheless, as the Jawa Report notes, “Each and every political ad showcased on Axelrod’s website that has a female voice over seems to be the same voice from the Palin smear ad. That Axelrod used her over and over again in his videos going back several years. We also believe that Axelrod has used her in several official Obama campaign videos.”
Couple the circumstantial evidence with the ongoing coverup — Axelrod’s Wikipedia entry suddenly edited, eswinner and friends removing evidence from the internet, etc. — and it appears the Jawa Report has uncovered a real story of organized online astroturfing designed to smear Sarah Palin on behalf of the Obama campaign.
The Jawa Report lays out all its compelling evidence here.