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  • Crossing the Rhetorical Line: An Update

    Earlier this week, The Heritage Foundation uncovered a disturbing posting on President Barack Obama’s perpetual campaign website, barackobama.com. Under the Organizing for America (OFA) banner, a user of the site had created an event urging fellow Obama supporters to use 9/11 as a day of action for Obamacare. The message urged Americans to call their U.S. Senators and “fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.” It went on to call conservatives the heirs to Bin Laden.

    Since then, liberals have defended the post as merely the work of one person who had no connection the White House or the DNC. DNC Spokewoman Hari Sevugan said: “I’m sure the Heritage Foundation or Fox don’t agree or condone some of the things posted in sections of their website open to the public.” Comments on our blog, The Foundry, have also likened the post to nothing more than a craigslist.org posting. Yesterday on the O’Reilly Factor, Newsday columnist Ellis Henican referred to the poster as “some dope” and said the minute the “grown-ups” saw it, they took it down…”what’s the problem?” We’re happy to address this confusion.

    User Generated: It appears that this post was generated by a registered user of barackobama.com, however their identity remains unclear. If this were simply some salty language on a blog post, we would not have spent five minutes addressing it. However, this was an event that was organized, and then distributed to members of OFA in Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina and possibly other states. If Heritage took comments from our blog and distributed them en masse to our members, we believe we should be held accountable for the content as well.

    Grown-Ups: Many commenters, as did Ellis Henican, credited the site with cancelling the event once it was discovered. However, it must to be noted that they only did so after The Foundry brought light to it. Without this intervention, were there sufficient filters to keep this hateful language out of the mainstream, and if not, was this event simply scrubbed to prevent a public relations disaster?

    The OFA Banner: Here in The Foundry, we take special pride in our forums for reader feedback. We do our best to moderate a thoughtful and deliberate discussion on issues, but there is no mistaking that emotions do sometimes get the better of folks, and when reader comments go too far, there is no mistaking whose voice they represent…their own. This event listing was distributed under the Organizing for America banner with official tone and language without disclaimers.

    Organizing: Soccer Moms, Nascar Dads and Senior Citizens have spent four weeks being assaulted by liberals for ‘organizing’ against Obamacare. They have been likened to brown shirts by Congressman Baird (D-WA), called un-American by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and called fascists by former White House Chief of Staff Lanny Davis. The reality was that this was a bottom-up organization rooted at dinner tables across the nation. But when the President’s campaign arm distributes this call for mobilization on 9/11, there is no such condemnation.

    Perpetual Campaign: This episode is the result of the President choosing to run a perpetual campaign rather than lead the nation through difficult economic and geo-political times. There is a time for campaigning, and now is not that time. By embracing barackobama.com as his method of interaction with the American public he continues to divide the nation in a way that makes this rhetoric flourish. He needs to immediately put to rest the OFA website and leave the campaigning to political parties.

    The President has a tough road ahead. He cannot continue to bring us together in one speech, and divide us in the next. By organizing his campaign volunteers into a frenzy and orchestrating them to act out on his behalf, he ensures that no consensus will be possible on health care reform. We want to work together on real solutions for American’s health care needs, but when barackobama.com is creating this toxic environment, no winners emerge.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Crossing the Rhetorical Line: An Update

    1. Karen. Michigan says:

      Excellent article. I don't buy the statement by whomever runs a website that they can't control content because they can and they should

    2. matthew, queens ny says:

      One thing is certain with this White House. Nothing goes unintentional, if they did not post it they left it up long enough for the media to catch it. Demonizing conservatives or moderates who stray to far from the reservation is something they are good at. The media will then cover for them. They get the best of both worlds, they get to rip their opponets while appearing innocent of doing anything wrong. Never in my lifetime have I seen major media outlets so connected to an administration as now.

    3. Andrew, New York says:

      Keep shining the light on these subjects Heritage. This time around lines are well defined. However, I'll ask the question. Can they handle the truth? (I heard that somewhere….)

    4. Larry Miller, Burlin says:

      Received an e-mail several days ago from info@barackobama.com announcing the event and urging participation. To say this was a "rouge" posting on the web site is ludicrious.

    5. Daniel Eldridge, Bir says:

      As I do 100% agree with this article. No page/site should ever allow "unofficial" content, then claim "they didn't know" after the fact. We should never assume and continue this endless cycle of "us" and "them". Conservatives have as long a history with distorting the facts as the liberals. I seem to rememeber not too long ago, those against the war in Iraq, were called traitors, scum, unAmerican, etc. Those people where none of the above. This does nothing to solve the challenges we are facing today. Give solutions, not bravado.

    6. marcia says:

      Bravo! Bravo! well put, thank you for your well thought out response!

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    8. Roger S., Ma. says:

      If somebody sneaked an unmoderated comment into the comments section of some article here at HF, that would be conceivable, although I believe he would have to exert considerable "viral" energy to do so. What I think I saw on the OFA site was of an entirely different gauge. To me that amounted to the equivalent of replacing an entire article, or even subsection, on this site without anybody responsible at HF noticing? Somehow unlikely. Doubt it was "rogue". Doubt it very much. There's "method to this madness".

    9. Demetrios says:

      Kudos on this article. As a registered Democrat and liberal, that's right, liberal, I just wish someone from the OFA had found it first and had the sense to remove it. OFA needs to get a heck of a lot smarter about how they manage user generated content on the site. A stronger apology and specific steps to prevent something like this from happening again are in order.

      That said, both sides need to learn that overheated rhetoric and comparisons to fascists or terrorists are not helping us solve some very pressing problems we have as a country. Everyone has a right to voice their opinions. Call me naive, but I like to believe that the vast majority of liberals and conservatives have the best interests of the county at heart and the best solutions will emerge when we work together. So how about all of us stop with the name-calling.

    10. Dale, Cincinnati says:

      Leadership. That is what the United States is currently in dire need of. The left confuses the ability to read from a teleprompter with leadership. It is time for Washington to stop polling the population to see what direction they want to travel prior to shouting "I'll lead you there" because most of the population does not understand the hardships that lie ahead. Our wonderful educational system has seen to that.

      True leadership is displayed in the ability to take the American people in a new direction, a direction that they may not want to go but one that is needed. Obama has failed miserably in that regard. Most politician do, that is why this country has struggled during the last twenty years. During the past six months Obama has only succeeded in revealing that within his soul lies a hidden agenda that most Americans find contemptible, untrustworthy and "un-American". Therein lies the reason for his falling poll numbers.

      It is time for real leadership. It is time for Washington to look to the best and brightest in the American public sector for solutions to health care. They're not in Washington anyway. A real solution cannot be drafted by political cronies, lobbyists and special interest groups and should not be dominated by industry insiders. Each of these have far too much to loose to do the right thing. The product of such an effort would be readily accepted by the American people. At that point we would hope that our elected officials could find courage draft legislation unburdened by pork and not vote party lines, or political contributions, or special interests. Just do the right thing…..that's leadership and Real Change.

    11. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      I think it is clear that the president likes to play the game of good guy, bad guy where he is above the fray but, in actuality, is in agreement with the sentiments. Just like in the Illinois senate, he carries the ball only after the damage has been suatained by someone else.

    12. Anita says:

      Dale, your are right on! We do need strong leadership and we're not getting it from the present administration with all the czars, some of which are admitted radicals and communist. Remedy……..vote them all out and start over.

    13. Ross writes, Undisc says:

      Hadn't seen that one before. Great job, Heritage! Does not surprise me. My expection of Obama is for his administration to continue to unabashly seize power and the Democrats to continue to be the bottom feeders they are. I lowered my expections of the Republicans during the Bush administration and see no reason to raise it anytime soon.

    14. S Clark, Colorado Sp says:

      As an unsolicited recipient of David Axelrod's vicious email and something new (unsolicited) from the Barack Obama website, I am enraged by the lack of concern for The People of the US. I sign privacy statements in my physician's office to get care, yet the BarackState has invaded mine via email. Dump the OBAMACZARS, Obamacare, Obama spying and Obamarogance! Dr. S.

    15. Bill San Antonio TX says:


      A agree completely. But, how can we have bi-partisianship when the Democratic Liberal Leadership lock the opposition out of key committees and conferences AND THEN complain there are no Republican or Conservative solutions? Everyone knows this is pure nonsense. The fact is the leftists own and control your party and they do not want to accept anything but ultimate one-payer system.

      Until they wakeup and put a moderate in as Speaker and get rid of Nancy Pelosi (as devisive a character as you will ever encounter)there is no way for any opposing viewpoint but extreme liberalism.

      Most Americans ARE NOT LIBERALS. In fact, more Americans are Conservative. It is not a "them or us" issue. Americans come from both parties and no parties.

      BUT, when the Democrats put a polarizing figure in the top position what kind of leadership is that? And, when the POTUS turns over the task of writing health care legislation to an extremists, then what does that say about POTUS?

    16. Kristina from Massac says:

      May I play devil's advocate?

      What proof do we have that this is not a forgery? The screen shot that is being shown around does not contain a URL. We cannot even verify what section of the site it comes from. I searched for news outlets that have covered the story, and only conservative outlets have brought light to it. Although this is often the case with things that offend conservatives, I feel like it needs addressing.

      Scenario #1: Major networks agree that conservatives are the enemies of the state and don't even recognize this language as hateful; therefore, the story isn't worth covering.

      Scenario #2: This is indeed a forgery put out by conservative media outlets.

      Do I personally believe that the current administration does feel as though conservatives are enemies of the state? Absolutely. But I must also question the validity.

      If someone can provide a screen shot with a URL, that would be helpful. Thank you.

    17. Evlish says:

      So HF made a colossal mistake by accusing the entire administration of concerted effort to promote the alleged political proposition which turned out to be patently false yet it's still their fault for HF's over-the-top, unregulated, unvetted zinger? Nice try to deflect your short coming at the accuser. And you have the audacity to call the administration divisive when the entire right wing population oozes out unctuosity and operates under malice and mendacity.

      Perhaps a formal apology to everyone is at hand, don't you think Heritage? If not for yourself but for Reagan. But of course, this comment, like many others won't get published and we all know it.

      P.S. Has anyone read the Townhall.com blog entries? There is absolutely no moderation there. At least HF and HuffPost have some filtering.

    18. Bobbie Jay says:

      Closed eyes see nothing. Closed ears hear nothing. Closed minds know nothing.

      Watch out, that last sip of Kool-aid may do you in.

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    20. Kristina from Massac says:

      Can someone help me out? I received an email from Heritage with an embedded graphic detailing the hateful language used pointing us out as enemies of the state. There's a URL in the graphic. However, when I enlarge the graphic, there's no URL.

      I'm just looking for the URL for my own personal reference.

      If that Kool-Aid comment is directed at me, please stop. I am only asking for help. Thanks.

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    22. Curtis, Idaho says:

      You cant say anymore criticism about democrats anymore without it being "hateful". When ive seen so many democrats posting anti conservative stuff everywhere, prejudicing us as hate-filled racists that will shoot you when we get the chance. I also agree with that we need some form of leadership in this country now, the presidents have forgotten that their main purpouse is to enforce the laws that congress write, not tell congress what to write so he can sign it.

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