Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ethan Winner Admits He Produced the Palin Smear Video

Yesterday I wrote about suspicions that a viral anti-Palin smear video being distributed on YouTube was actually produced by a professional PR firm. More to the point, if production of this video were paid for and not reported to the FEC, it would be a campaign law violation.

The initial investigation was done by the authors of the Jawa Report. Today they have the proof that they were correct in their accusations. Ethan Winner, the man they named as behind the video, has released a statement admitting that he was indeed responsible for the production.

The statement (which you can read at the bottom of that link, above) is ridiculous. The analysis at the Jawa Report:
So, he produces the video. He pays for the video production -- out of his own pocket. He then posts it to YouTube using multiple phony identities.

Then he gets his friends at one of the largest PR firms in the world to post it on the internet, to suggest to others that they pass it on, and spend company time defending the outright lies in the video --- all for free?

And the multimillionaire who is President of the firm also spends his free time defending the lies on his "homemade" -- yet professionally voiced over -- video?
There is no smoking gun (yet) that proves that Winner was paid for any of the work he did or that he paid others that were involved in the production.

I find this whole story fascinating because it has the feel of Rathergate Part II. This is yet another example of investigative reporting by blog authors--not mainstream media. They had suspicions, they performed online investigations, and they got their target to admit his involvement. That is impressive and encouraging. If the thought that bloggers might catch you in the act even if the media will give you a free pass makes people hesitate to pass off lies as truth then we have all won.

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