It’s early in the 2012 presidential election campaign, but dirty tricks are alive and well, at least on the Internet.
In the days after President Barack Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden, someone bought a new Internet URL, “GutsyCall.com,” and set it to redirect to Obama’s BarackObama.com campaign re-election website. The reference was to reports that John Brennan, a White House counterterrorism adviser, had characterized Obama’s order to send troops after bin Laden as “one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory.”
The connection was seized upon by conservative-leaning media, which portrayed it as an attempt by campaign officials to politicize bin Laden’s death despite their assertions that they did not intend to do so. The problem with that assertion? The campaign and the Democratic National Committee insisted they had nothing to do with the URL and knew nothing about it.
Aides at the DNC were angry that writers ran stories on the link without looking into who was behind it. One worker in new media at the party headquarters struck back with some URL redirection of his own. He bought another URL — www.weeklyNOstandards.com — that redirected readers to the homepage of The Weekly Standard, which had written about the URL. The point of buying the URL was to show how easy it is for anyone to buy one and redirect it to another site, and to keep the story from spreading, the DNC said.
The Weekly Standard in turn said it spent yet another $8.93 to buy a new URL — www.DNCcrybabies.com – which on Friday afternoon at least was still redirecting readers to democrats.org, the DNC’s homepage.