So I got put in a pickle. Let me illustrate:
[rock] [eric] [hard place]
You see. I made it known how we were gonna fight anonymous email smears of Barack Obama:
1. Reply to everyone who got the email that you can tell (you may need to copy addresses from a quoted email that was forwarded). Tell them the truth.
2. Forward it to email@example.com
3. Forward it to me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll blog it (include the entire message including original sender/recipients)
All well and good until you get one from your own mother. This is how insidious this thing is. It’s like a hyperactive viral form of cancer. So now what, right? Post mom’s email? Post her friends who sent it to you?
Hell no I’m not posting my mom’s email address.
The object of this exercise has always been to fight the anonymity. To draw out into the open those who would hide behind an email address and a false attack smear sent to their entire address book. My mom is not anonymous to me. I can answer these smears directly by emailing or even picking up the phone. What I DID do that is consistent with the strategy is to answer her and the others who were copied along with her:
Hi everyone. I’m Eric Vessels, son of Judy and George. I received a forwarded email that contained your addresses as well.
The information in that email that you received about Barack Obama blowing off the troops in Afghanistan is false. It has been thoroughly debunked by the Army Times and the author, Capt. Jeffrey S. Porter, has recanted his story:
“I am writing this to ask that you delete my e-mail and not forward it, after checking my sources some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong. This e-mail was meant only for my family. Please respect my wishes and delete the e-mail and if there are any blogs you have my e-mail portrayed on I would ask if you would take it down too.”
The Army refuted the accuracy of the account of the Obama visit.
“These comments are inappropriate and factually incorrect,” Bagram spokesman Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green told the New York Daily News.
Obama didn’t play basketball at Bagram or visit the Clamshell, she said.
“We were a bit delayed … as he took time to shake hands, speak to troops and pose for photographs,” Nielson-Green said.
You can find out more information about this particular smear here:
I’ve been in or around the military for the better part of my life. I grew up on Fort Knox, where I met at least one of you on this list as a kid. I have fond memories of it all. I know from this experience that there are a range of cultural, political, racial, and ethnic experiences within the military life. These diversities are a large part of what formed the person I am today.
Let’s have political debate. Let’s exercise our American right to vote for the person we think best represents us. But let’s not propagate lies, innuendo, and false attacks against those we have decided not to support.
It belittles us as Americans and certainly is beneath a code I first learned on a rock at West Point.
So my request is that you don’t accept receiving nor allow yourself to send these types of false email smears, no matter which candidate for POTUS you support.
Thanks for your time and I wish you all well.
This is what makes these kinds of attacks so pervasive and dangerous. Long after they have been debunked they float around and get forwarded by people who take them at face value and that lie spreads. This is why we fight.