These are patented Whitewater-style “smell test” stories. They are based on complicated details that make the casual reader’s eyes glaze over and about which the subject has to issue long confusing explanations in return. They feature colorful and unsavory political characters in some way. They often happened in the past and they tend to be written in such a way as to say that even if they aren’t illegal they “look bad.” The underlying theme is hypocrisy because the subjects are portrayed as making a dishonest buck while pretending to represent the average working man. Oh, and they always feature a Democrat. Republicans are not subject to such scrutiny because a craven, opportunistic Republican isn’t “news.” (Neat trick huh?)
No single story will bring down a candidate because they have no substance to them. It’s the combined effect they are looking for to build a sense overall sleaziness. “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” right?
As steverino pointed out before: the phone call would mean nothing if the Globe hadn’t run stories on the drapes or the cadillac. We are watching them start up this nonsense. And the media will be perfectly happy to hyperventilate over empty stories day in and day out.
If we sit and watch them puff up this nonsense, they’ll derail the effort we made last fall.
So what do we do?