AP uncritically quoted "dirty trickster" Roger Stone -- founder of C.U.N.T. -- attacking Obama's patriotism

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

An AP article about conservative attacks on Sen. Barack Obama's patriotism quoted Roger Stone, identifying him only as a "Republican consultant." The article did not mention that Stone established the anti-Hillary Clinton 527 group Citizens United Not Timid, which emphasizes its acronym on its website and on T-shirts, or that he reportedly was forced to resign from a political campaign in August 2007 after allegedly leaving a threatening telephone message at the office of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's father.

In a February 24 Associated Press article about conservative attacks on Sen. Barack Obama's patriotism, staff writer Nedra Pickler quoted Roger Stone's assertion that "[Sen.] Barack Obama is out of the McGovern wing of the party, and he is part of the blame America first crowd." But Pickler identified Stone only as a "Republican consultant." She did not mention that Stone established the anti-Hillary Clinton 527 group Citizens United Not Timid, which emphasizes its acronym on its website and on T-shirts, or that Stone was forced to resign from the campaign of New York state Sen. Joseph Bruno in August 2007 after "allegations that he left a threatening telephone message at the office of Gov. Eliot Spitzer's father," according to an August 22, 2007, New York Times report. In a January 28 Weekly Standard article, senior writer Matt Labash described Stone as "a professional dirty trickster and high priest of political hijinks."

The Times article also noted that "Mr. Stone is known as an aggressive strategist, having once, while still a teenager, recruited a mole to infiltrate the 1972 presidential campaign of George S. McGovern." A June 17, 1986, Washington Post article also documented Stone employing deceptive campaign tactics as far back as the 1970s:

In the fall of 1970, Stone moved to Washington to attend George Washington University. He became president of the District of Columbia Young Republicans. While his roommates were protesting the Vietnam War, Stone says, he was attending meetings of the Young Americans for Freedom. He also volunteered to work for Chuck Colson at the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). He became an assistant to Bart Porter, who helped manage the dirty tricks operations. Under the pseudonym "Jason Rainier," Stone went to Kentucky and recruited a political spy, paying him $5,800 for information on Democratic opponents. He also went to New Hampshire and donated money to the abortive presidential campaign of Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.) in the name of a left wing group called the Young Socialist Alliance. Stone then drafted a letter to the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader describing the contribution, enclosing a receipt from the McCloskey campaign.

Stone was a guest on the January 28 and February 18 editions of MSNBC's Tucker, the latter coming just days after NBC apologized for Jane Fonda's use of the word "cunt" on Today during a discussion of the play The Vagina Monologues, as Media Matters for America Senior Fellow Eric Alterman and The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins noted.

From the February 24 Associated Press report:

Sen. Barack Obama's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.

Now Obama's wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she's really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.

"The reason it hasn't been an issue so far is that we're still in the microcosm of the Democratic primary," said Republican consultant Roger Stone. "Many Americans will find the three things offensive. Barack Obama is out of the McGovern wing of the party, and he is part of the blame America first crowd."

Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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