Obama Campaign Placed Anti-Hillary Stories in Press – Where is MSM Outrage at Being Used?


By: Warner Todd Huston

On Thursday, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet picked up on a story related by the Atlantic Monthly’s Marc Ambinder that claims that a few months ago the Barack Obama campaign sought to place the Norman Hsu scandal in the press in an effort to create anti-Hillary buzz in the MSM. Such a political “dirty trick” would seem to be a juice story for members of the MSM, wouldn’t it? So, why is Lynn Sweet the only one focusing on this one, anyway? With the sneaky actions of the Obama campaign, one would think that the MSM would be in an uproar for having been used so badly by a political candidate. And, were this a GOP “dirty trick,” it would be sure that news creators the nation over would be wagging their fingers and clucking their tongues at this violation of their purported integrity and independence for being used so by a mere political campaign. But, so far the condemnation of the Obama campaign is nearly nonexistent with this barely even causing a raised eyebrow. Don’t you wonder why that is?

Sweet’s story is written with little sign of surprise or any indignation that the press is being used as a mouth piece for a political campaign.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Barack Obama’s presidential campaign “scored a significant hit” against chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton “by helping to place” a story about tainted Democratic donor Norman Hsu, according to an article about Obama in the December issue of The Atlantic.

Sweet also reports that Ambinder is claiming that an Obama aide came up to him and, in an effort to stir the pot, asked why the press isn’t discussing Bill Clinton’s sexual misadventures more often during the campaign coverage.

“…And at a campaign event in Iowa, one of Obama’s aides plopped down next to me and spoke even more bluntly. He wanted to know when reporters would begin to look into Bill Clinton’s postpresidential sex life,” Ambinder writes.

Naturally, the Obama campaign is dismissing Ambinder’s claims as untrue.

Asked for comment on whether the campaign had a hand in “helping to place” the Hsu story, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said “We had no knowledge of Norman Hsu’s past criminal activity, fugitive status or potential straw donor scheme until reading it in the newspaper.”

Regarding the unidentified aide wondering about Bill Clinton, LaBolt said, “In no way, shape, or form would anyone who would say such a thing be representing our campaign.”

For his part, Ambinder stands by his report.

Sweet lamely says that if Obama operatives had actually done what Ambinder claims, well it would be a bit of a reversal of their claim to want to run a different kind of nice guy’s campaign.

If Obama’s operatives had a hand in “helping to place” the Hsu story, it would be counter to the claim that Obama was running a different and unconventional campaign.

Do ya think?

But, here is my question. If the name Obama had not been part of this story but it had been Giuliani or Thompson or any other GOP nominee instead, wouldn’t it be expected that the press would accept the word of Ambinder and report his claims without incredulity? Surely the focus on the story would be on how evil the GOP candidate is for trying to spin the MSM’s coverage his way with the campaign’s denials painted as a weak excuse for a lie. Were this a GOP dirty trick, the press wouldn’t be able to hide their pique and their mock outrage over the abuse they would claim to be suffering.

But, thus far, the MSM is giving Obama a complete pass.

What a surprise, eh?



Warner Todd Huston is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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