Thursday, May 22, 2008

Email and Flag Pins

In this edition of stalking the racist Appalachian voter, Jay Newton-Small finds one of the guys that George Packer found when he went on safari:

“I ain’t gonna vote for that colored guy, he ain’t pretty,” said Willie Jessie Littleton, 70, a retired sawmill worker and lifelong Democrat who said he’d vote for McCain if Obama’s the nominee. “I don’t like the way he talks.”

Two others had obviously read scurrilous e-mails about Obama, saying they weren’t convinced Obama was a Christian and were afraid to vote for a Muslim.

Email is a big cog in the attack machine this time 'round. I saw it for myself in Maine on caucus weekend when an old family friend resisted entreaties to caucus for Obama, saying he couldn't support someone who refuses to say the pledge of allegiance. The email had come from a trusted source, and was firmly set in his mind.

Real process coverage would be exploring this--where does the mail come from, how much is out there, what false things does it say--and debunking it. But I doubt we'll ever see the phrase "scurrilous email" in the dentist office TIME.

What we get instead is Obama's patriotism questioned over lapel pins. This isn't just Stephy being silly. Raising it validates the much nastier calumnies being spread by email.