A breathless Christopher Hayes boldly makes a great noise about what is painfully obvious in an expository-flourish titled The New Right-Wing Smear Machine.

Yes, Mr. Hayes, campaigns often disinform or mislead voters or constituencies, both right and left. Some of the asides Mr. Hayes develops, however, are interesting—for example:

It was similar gossip that helped spell doom for John McCain during the South Carolina primary in 2000, when a whisper campaign spread rumors that he had a black daughter out of wedlock. “John McCain was done in by leaflets put on cars in church parking lots,” says Democratic campaign consultant Chris Lehane. Forwarded e-mails, he says, “are the digital version of this and potentially more pernicious and far-reaching because of the obvious efficiencies of the online world. I would fully expect to see it manifesting in the GOP primary.” Sure enough, a few weeks after I spoke to Lehane, Mike Huckabee’s Iowa state campaign chair, Bob Vander Plaats, issued a statement denying that he’d written an e-mail that voters had received bearing his name. In that hoax e-mail, someone impersonating Vander Plaats announced that he was dropping Huckabee because of low fundraising numbers and backing Mitt Romney instead and urging others to do the same … etc., etc.

The emphasis is ours.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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