The Janesville Messenger (Gazette affiliate) on Sunday carried a blurp about Rep. Paul Ryan's recent InsuroCorp listening sessions on the front page. It contained this piece of trumped up misinformation...
Janesville Messenger Excerpt:Liberals "sabotaged" his sessions with love. That was about the extent of it.
Despite an effort by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Organizing for America and Community for Change to "overwhelm" the sessions with reform supporters, Ryan said the vast majority of those attending the meetings were opposed to the so-called public option for health care coverage...
Two things about these accusations thrown about by the media. One, the original email at the center of the controversy contained language that appears to be standard if not downright tame citizen grassroots rally talking points. I'm not making excuses for anyone but no shout downs were recommended, no violence was encouraged. That's a good thing. So they zeroed in on one word: overwhelm. No question it was a bad choice of words but what exactly does it mean? Well, we're not talking about "shock and awe" here.
And two, all is fair in love and war. I hate to admit this but I would do the same if I received a leaked email from the AFP or an official GOP source with the same information. I'd post it on my blog and send it to my buddy's radio station. Politics is a tough game. Except there's one glaring difference. I'm not anybody's elected representative.
Congressman Paul Ryan himself, or operatives from his office at some point made the decision to actively participate in undermining legal citizen activism when they became a willing link in the chain of misinformation. Everything seems to be pointing to his office. Bloggers battling the media or grassroot's citizen groups opposing legislators are one thing, but an elected official using his office to sideswipe constituents civil opposition? And exaggerating the claims and ginning up the already inflamed passions at a time when calm is required?
Community for Change Excerpt:I'm not making any excuses for the community organizer, stuff happens.
"The Office of Paul Ryan put a target on our backs during a time of incredible public hostility. They fabricated a story designed to incite hate and gave them a road map to our homes."
However, because they became the target through deliberate misinformation and trumped up propaganda from a hybrid congressman/activist, the community organizer at the center of most of this attention should consider the heavy handed tactics employed against them as a badge of honor. Ryan is a hardball partisan game player and he's in it for keeps - be prepared.
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