Friday, October 24, 2008

Hoax: McCain Campaign Worker Attacked by Obama Supporter

By now, many of you will have read or seen news about Ashley Todd, a McCain campaign worker in Pittsburgh who told police that she was robbed at an ATM and that when her assailant -- a "large black man" -- realized that she supported Sen. McCain (she said the assailant saw her bumper sticker), he beat her and carved the letter "B" into her cheek. Pictures of the Todd were everywhere this morning and Fox News covered the story with as much gusto as they might have covered the assassination of a major world leader. The right-wing blogosphere was really hammering on the story. Take for example, how Advance Indiana described the story:
This Texas woman [showing a photo] volunteering for John McCain in Pittsburg [sic] found out the hard way what happens when you cross the path of a mugger while visiting an ATM machine with a McCain bumper sticker on your car. It wasn't enough that her attacker robbed her. He also used a knife to carve the The One's initial "B" on her face. It's happening all across America. People who dare to express their public support for the McCain-Palin ticket are being assaulted or having their property vandalized by Obama's thugs. Is this the future we have to look forward to in America under an Obama presidency? No tolerance for dissenting views? Looks more like The One's cousin Odinga's Kenya than the United States of America where you lose an election, blame the Christians and then go burn their villages.

Ouch. (As evidence of some of the claims, Advance Indiana gives links to a story about a person allegedly beaten by an Obama supporter and a person whose car was vandalized. That is the evidence of "happening all across America". Of course, no mention is made of similar incidents with Obama supporters as the victims...) And John Moody, Executive Vice President of Fox News wrote that this incident as a potentially game-changing moment:
Part of the appeal of, and the unspoken tension behind, Senator Obama’s campaign is his transformational status as the first African-American to win a major party’s presidential nomination.

That does not mean that he has erased the mutual distrust between black and white Americans, and this incident could become a watershed event in the 11 days before the election.

If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee.

If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.

But guess what? According to news sources in Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh police said a 20-year-old woman who originally said she was robbed and assaulted at knifepoint in Bloomfield because of her political views made the story up.

Ashley Todd -- who has a backward letter "B" scratched into her right cheek -- confessed to faking the story and will be charged with filing a false report, Assistant Police Chief Maurita Bryant said at a news conference Friday.

Todd, of College Station, Texas, admitted there was no robbery or attacker and said she had prior mental health problems, according to Bryant.

It will be interesting to see whether the right-wing (and Fox) will issue a giant mea culpa for jumping on this story so quickly and without due investigation or if the story (and the finding that Todd made it up) will simply die a quiet death. If Advance Indiana is any guide, the fraudulent story will still be held up to prove ... um ... something:
Note that this young lady's psychotic behavior does not negate the fact that there have been numerous cases of assaults and vandalism to property conducted across the country by Obama supporters. Note also that Sen. Obama has never apologized to Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin for spreading false rumors that their supporters were chanting "Kill Him", referring to Obama, at McCain-Palin rallies at which the candidates spoke.

(Note that plenty of sources have reported on the "kill him" reference; however, the Secret Service could not confirm the shout in order to continue an investigation. Note further that Advance Indiana ignores other shouts like "terrorist", "traitor", and "Bomb Obama" that have been captured on audio and videotape.)

Let's remember Moody's thought on this incident (emphasis added):
If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.

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