(Originally posted shortly after midnight, carried forward to the top)
What if I told you that sheriffs and prosecutors in, say, Indiana, had formed “truth squads” and “subtly” threatened prosecutions of critics of John McCain?
Does anyone think that the New York Times, Washington Post and Old Media in general wouldn’t be putting the news on the front page, even with the bailout-apalooza going on in Washington?
Well, there is a “truth squad.” It’s in Missouri. It includes prosecutors and sheriffs. Oh, and they have formed their truth squad to threaten and intimidate the critics of ….. Barack Obama.
News Anchor, first name Russell: Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading television ad during the presidential campaign.
News 4′s John Mills is live at the County Election Board in Maplewood. He’s been learning more about which members of law enforcement are getting involved in this. John, tell us more about this.
John Mills, reporter: Russell, good evening. Prosecutors and sheriffs from across Missouri are joining something called the “Barack Obama Truth Squad.” Two high-profile prosecutors are part of the team. We met them this afternoon in the Central West this afternoon. They are Jennifer Joyce of the city (and) Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney. They will be reminding voters that Barack Obama is a Christian, who wants to cut taxes for anyone making less than $250,000 a year. They also say they plan to respond immediately to any ads and statements that might violate Missouri ethics laws.
Jennifer Joyce: We want to keep this campaign focused on issues. We don’t want people to get distracted, and Missourians don’t want to be distracted, by these divisive character attacks. So we’re here to respond to any character attacks, to set the record straight.
Bob McCulloch: Whether it is directly attributable to the campaign, or to one of the soft-money operations, if they’re not going to tell the truth, then somebody’s got to step up and say “Wait a minute, that’s not true. This is the truth.”
Mills: Now the Obama campaign tells News 4 that others, prosecutors and sheriffs, are also part of the team, including some from the Kansas City area, and from rural parts of Missouri. We’re also told the truth squad is expected to include Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyle. Live in Maplewood John Mills, News 4.
Old Media has now had plenty of time to catch up to this story and, as unfortunately expected, is clearly ignoring it. Specifics:
- A New York Times search on “Obama Missouri” (not in quotes) has nothing relating to the truth squad.
- The Washington Post, with the same search — Nothing.
- A Google News search between September 24-29, on [Obama "truth squad" Missouri] (typed as indicated between brackets) returned 24 results shortly after midnight (the first page indicates 59, but it is incorrect). None of the roughly 20 truly relevant results are from Old Media outlets.
- The Associated Press? Of course not (search is on “Missouri Obama Truth Squad).
News 4 reporter Mills has more recently tried to back away from his original report:
“If they think a group has put out a misleading ad, they’re basically going to call a press conference and say the ad is misleading,” reporter John Mills told the News-Leader on Sunday. “I’m sure the Republicans would do the same thing.”
In his TV report, Mills said the prosecutors “also say that they plan to respond immediately to any ads and statements that might violate violate Missouri ethics laws.”
….. In Mills’ Sept. 23 report, there is no mention by St. Louis County Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Attorney Jennifer Joyce that they would invoke their prosecutorial powers to stop any perceived mistruths from being spread about the Democratic presidential candidate.
These people are prosecutors.
How do prosecutors “respond” to actions they feel violate the law? They prosecute. Most reasonable viewers would have concluded that they were planning to act against “offenders” in their official capacities.
This backoff by Mills is baloney. The original plan, from the Obama campaign, comes from people who simply didn’t realize how ugly what they were saying, planning, and probably still doing, sounds — and is.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.