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Think Progress, MSNBC 'Manufacture' a Story With Putative Smoking Gun 'Mob' Memo

5:35 PM, Aug 5, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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- Try To "Rattle Him," Not Have An Intelligent Debate: "The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down...

The attempt to paint him as a professional, funded operative is off-base, MacGuffie said, laughing.

"I guess they don't believe that people in America will stand up and fight back when government gets overbearing," said MacGuffie, who added that he originally e-mailed the memo to 8-10 Connecticut activists in June.

As is often the case, MSNBC anchors and the DNC alike have taken Think Progress' inaccurate sleuthing at face-value, elevating the humble Right Principles to heretofore unknown levels of national importance.

The Rachel Maddow Show repeated Think Progress' reporting on MacGuffie's connections, showing the memo, and declaring its author "affiliated with an organization called FreedomWorks."

The DNC has now made the memo the centerpiece of its "Mob" ad out today, from which I grabbed this screen shot, at the :40 mark:

Mob ad.png

The voice over for this image says behavior at health-care town halls is "straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives."

Or, the memo of Bob MacGuffie of Fairfield, Conn., who once wrote a blog post on Tea Party Patriots, a site that is not funded or hosted by FreedomWorks. It's all the same if you're looking to discredit an entire movement of real voters, I suppose.

The memo also includes these phrases, which are left out of the reporting and demagoguery:

"Do not bring the signs into the hall if you want any chance to be picked for a question."

"Don't carry on and make a scene, just short, intermittent shout-outs," which may sound familiar because the shout-out part was quoted without context by Think Progress.

It also offers such guerrilla tactics as, "When the formal Q&A begins, get your hands up and keep them up- be persistent throughout the entire session. Keep body language neutral and look positive to improve chances of being selected." It instructs participants to be ready with follow-up questions and insist that representatives answer questions instead of launching into talking points.

The memo outlined strategies MacGuffie had used during a town hall meeting with his Rep. Jim Himes in May of this year. While organizing that event and writing the memo, he emphasized that critics should not get out of hand, he said.

His objective was to "make sure we didn't get kicked around, asked good, thought-out questions, and had follow-ups ready," he said. "We took him off his script, but we did not shout him down."

The tactics in the memo produced this horrifying civic spectacle. This is what the liberal blogs, Rachel Maddow, and the DNC are intent on preventing. I dare you to find even one errant word or rude action in Bob MacGuffie's "orchestrated, hateful" action. After all, he is the father of our movement:

"[Our representatives] work for us, and there's a lot of good people up here who feel that way," MacGuffie said. "All of us have better things to do with our lives...and these are all real people. They just have to paint us as something else, I guess."

Update: Meredith Jessup at Townhall has a round-up of all the mainstream media accounts that include the false Think Progress narrative about the memo. Funny how that works, huh?