Anatomy of a Smear

Oct 5, 2010

by Pat Cleary

It's interesting to see how a partisan group on the left can spin a yarn without a germ of truth to it and see it sweep otherwise-responsible sites in the span of a few hours. We saw that today with the latest broadside from John Podesta's left-leaning Center for American Progress that, as Tita Freeman said above, was nothing more than "a partisan effort to attack and silence the voice of business and free enterprise."

It started last evening when the left-leaning HuffPo got the jump on the even more-left-leaning Think Progress (part of the aforementioned left-leaning John Podesta empire) and ran a piece accusing the Chamber of using "foreign funds" for use in US political races. The confusion - willful though it was - stemmed from the various American Chambers of Commerce (known as "AmChams" by any US ex-pat who has ever lived abroad) around the world.  There are 115 of them and the first one was founded in France in 1896. Not exactly a new development. The truth (anybody remember the truth? ) is that AmChams are independent organizations, not controlled in any way by the US Chamber, and whose money does not in any way pay for US political activity. The AFL-CIO has a robust international program. Might the Chamber allege this as de facto evidence of the same infraction? Ridiculous.

And so, among the breathless - and totally legal and ho-hum - allegations made in this piece are that AmChams are opening up around the world (correct), the Chamber has a bunch of companies in its membership who create a bunch of jobs in the US but are headquartered overseas (correct) and the Chamber is very involved in a wide range of political races (also correct). This is all swirled together in a xenophobic gumbo of two plus two equals a million. Almost makes one wonder whatever happened to Lou Dobbs? He would have LOVED this story.

In fact, there's no story at all - that is, unless you're part of the left's Amen Chorus. But that didn't stop the frenzy. And so this story will continue to be blogged and tweeted, facts be damned, until the left goes on to some other made-up issue which the far left will dutifully pursue. For our part, we will continue to advocate for free enterprise and for a climate - and candidates - that allow business to thrive and prosper.

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