A word from Ben Smith

In “Critics on the left and right,” John Hinderaker commented on Ben Smith’s Yahoo! News/Politico story “Some on left target McCain’s war record” (the story was originally published on Politico here). Yahoo! News tagged Smith’s article via a link reading “Critics on left and right attack McCain’s war record.”

After taking a look at Wesley Clark’s attack on McCain’s military service, John commented that Smith’s article “tr[ies] to create the impression that conservatives as well as liberals are attacking McCain’s military record.” Taking a close look at the article, John concluded:

So what is going on here is that Politico–and still more the anonymous Yahoo News headline writer!–know that attacks on McCain’s service by the Obama campaign and other Democrats are poisonous and likely to backfire. So they are trying to give the Democrats cover by creating the misleading impression that these disgusting smears are somehow bipartisan.

Ben Smith responds:

Noticed your item, and I basically agree with its gist — as my headline said, I was writing about stuff coming from the left.

But the origin of all the “collaborator” calumny is basically on the right, and if you poke around, it’s still active. Ted Sampley is obviously sort of the leader, but there’s a real (if utterly fringe) group out there that thinks McCain collaborated with the Vietnamese communists and covered up the continuing presence of POWs in Vietnam. The people on the left are drawing from his “research.”

Here are a few links, fwiw.

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