Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chasing Spamalot


Dr. Danielle Allen's investigation into e-propaganda, in a profile Saturday by the WaPo:
"What I've come to realize is, the labor of generating an e-mail smear is divided and distributed amongst parties whose identities are secret even to each other," she says. A first group of people published articles that created the basis for the attack. A second group recirculated the claims from those articles without ever having been asked to do so. "No one coordinates the roles," Allen said. Instead the participants swim toward their goal like a school of fish -- moving on their own, but also in unison.

Obama's campaign, for better or worse, is writing the manual on combating this new asymmetrical guerrilla warfare. Obama has not shied away from the rumors -- he mentions them frequently. "Before I begin," he told a pro-Israel group this month, "I want to say that I know some provocative e-mails have been circulating throughout Jewish communities across the country. . . . They're filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president. And all I want to say is -- let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty frightening."
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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