cheap-racist-smears.jpgThe NYT’s Michael Luo wrote up a nice little fluff job today on Floyd Brown and his gang of scum-chumming operatives that in the end is little more than a free advertisement for Brown in his search for right-wing sugar daddies.

See, for instance, his description of Brown’s ads:

At the heart of the effort is a Web site,, that has featured two Web advertisements, one on Mr. Obama’s record on crime and the other on his religious background.

My, isn’t that benign. It somehow manages to neglect pointing out the fairly naked dog-whistle race-baiting that is contained within those ads — as we noted, anyone watching them can see that there’s a larger, underlying theme: they’re all about associating Obama with black criminality and supposedly lax liberal policies to "blame" for it, or conversely about his supposed "Muslim background". It’s all about scaring white suburbanites while giving them the cover of hand-wringing about his "judgment."

But then, the NYT isn’t alone — in general, most of the mainstream media have been content to describe the ads as being about the cover "issue" that gives them plausible deniability, while simply pretending that the fairly obvious dog-whistle components of the ads simply don’t exist.

Similarly, the story paints Brown as a semi-legitimate, otherwise mainstream sort of political operative just running another 527. But in fact, ExposeObama is a fringe operation headed up by a far-right nutcase who was disbarred in Washington state for promoting phony "Patriot" tax-conspiracy scams. Which may actually be one of the reasons that Brown is having trouble attracting serious money.

Though that hasn’t stopped him before. The story does note one of Brown’s sleazier episodes:

In 1992, CBS News reported that, while trying to substantiate a rumor of a romantic affair involving Bill Clinton, Mr. Brown hounded the family of a young woman who had committed suicide. Mr. Brown insisted to the network that he had a right to be aggressive in his research.

But there are boundaries even Mr. Brown is unwilling to cross. He said many potential large donors had lost interest after he explained to them that certain harder-hitting advertisements that they favored were not possible through a 527.

If these ads were even "harder hitting" than his current batch, you’d have to assume that they were indistinguishable from your average David Duke ad. But readers of the piece are left to assume that these are just "tougher" — without any sense just how ugly they already are.

Best of all, it makes plain to all those potential sugar daddies out there that Brown is ready to roll, and he just needs some dough. Hint hint, wink nudge.

I’m sure Floyd Brown is grateful. You can’t buy advertising like that.

David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.