The thing everyone seems to forget about the infamous "Swiftboat" episode of 2004 is that it wasn't really the Swiftboaters themselves who did the damage. That very small group with very small funds initially ran just one ad in just one market.
The true villainy of the Swiftboat episode was in the media, who promoted those guys full time for weeks, giving them free air time and exposure they could only dream of.
But more importantly than even the exposure, it was the media that gave the Swiftboaters their credibility
by treating their charges as a "controversy."
I bring this up because, to some degree we're there again, Obama's patriotism. Regardless of any reality, how exactly would Obama prove he's "patriotic enough?"
But, also notice the things that aren't given "controversy status." McCain's first marriage, how it ended, the fact that he only got into politics because he married money, the several reports of infidelity and dubious lobbying contacts, Keating Five...... all off limits.
With Obama, let's put down, race, Rezco, past drug use.... I don't know what else (ask the Clinton folks, I'm sure they have a list,) but you get the point. It works both ways.
It is the media that stands as the gatekeeper on all this, on what is permissible conversation and what is not. Their decision making is some weird black box equational mashup of balancing ratings, filling the empty airtime, and their own self-opinions of their ethics.
I would love to see the media's role in the Swiftboaters brought back up, but that's not going to happen. The media never takes blame on itself.
But they were the ones who did it.
Just a rant. (I may redit/remove this post.)