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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Distorting Our Findings, Part II

On Sept. 10, we objected when the McCain-Palin campaign released an ad implying that we’d criticized Obama for “completely false” and “misleading” claims about Sarah Palin. We did use those words, but we used them to criticize anonymous Internet rumormongers, not Obama.

Now that same claim from the McCain-Palin camp is being recycled into fundraising letters. Here’s the passage from an e-mail from McCain-Palin Victory 2008, a joint project of the Republican National Committee and the Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri Republican parties:

Even before our national convention, the Obama campaign dispatched what The Wall Street Journal called a “mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers” to Alaska to dig up dirt for their personal attacks on Governor Palin and her family. FactCheck.org has called the attacks on Governor Palin, “completely false” and “misleading.” However, the Obama Democrats continue to launch these attacks, hoping you’ll never find out the truth.

This is slightly better, but still misleading. We’ve certainly called some attacks on Gov. Palin “completely false” and “misleading,” but those attacks aren’t coming from the Obama-Biden campaign, nor have we attributed them to any sort of nebulous “Obama Democrats.”

The fact is, we have no idea whether the people propagating Palin rumors are Obama Democrats, Barr Libertarians or just plain ol’ anti-Palin Republicans. These things are on the Internet, people. For all we can tell, this could be the work of those dastardly Canadians. What we do know is that we’d very much appreciate not having our findings taken out of context.

On a side note, however, we’re very pleased that McCain now is aware of our Web site.