7/01/2008

Political Freelancers Use Web to Join the Attack

JIM RUTENBERG writes in the New York Times:The video blasted across the Internet, drawing political blood from Senator John McCain within a matter of days. Produced here in a cluttered former motel behind the Sony Pictures lot, it juxtaposed harsh statements about Islam made by the Rev. Rod Parsley with statements from Mr. McCain praising Mr. Parsley, a conservative evangelical leader. The montage won notice on network newscasts this spring and ultimately helped lead Mr. McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, to reject Mr. Parsley's earlier endorsement.

In previous elections, an attack like that would have come from party operatives, campaign researchers or the professional political hit men who orbit around them. But in the 2008 race, the first in which campaigns are feeling the full force of the changes wrought by the Web, the most attention-grabbing attacks are increasingly coming from people outside the political world. So it was with the Parsley video, which was the work of a 64-year-old film director, Robert Greenwald, and his small band of 20-something assistants.

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