The Obama campaign, known for being technologically savvy, launched a new website today called “Attack Watch.” The website serves to fight back against accusations launched at Obama, labeling them as “smears” and “lies.”
The site resembles the fact-checking site Politifact. The black and red color scheme lets viewers know that this is a battle and they are on the front lines combating the “enemies” of Obama’s policies and positions. For example, the tag line at the top of the website states, “Get the Facts, Fight the Smears.”
Attack Watch features hot topics that are in the news concerning Obama’s policies and provides links to professional fact-checking sites such as Media Matters. However, the site also has a section where the viewer can report, “lies,” “rumors,” and “smears” they encounter either by word of mouth, email, articles seen in newspapers, video and other sources.
“There are a lot of folks on the other side who are chomping at the bit to distort the President’s record. It’s not a question of if the next big lie will come, just when – and what we’re prepared to do about it,” said Jim Messina, campaign manager for Obama for America in an email released Tuesday.
“[Opponents] didn’t just attack Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They went after everything this movement is built on, and everyone who supports it. It’s not easy being an Obama for America volunteer, especially when you feel ill-equipped to respond to the waves of attacks from his critics,” said Jennifer Kickliter, a Tennessee college student who signed up for the 2012 campaign, according to ABC News.
Kickliter hopes the new website will help prepare her and others like her to respond to these “attacks.”
However, the premiere of the website might not have gone according to plan. The site is a throwback to Obama’s 2008 campaign website, “Fight the Smears,” which had similar motivations to combat negative statements against his campaign. It also mirrors the hotly contested email account, firstname.lastname@example.org, in which citizens were encouraged to inform Obama of negative things said about his healthcare policies in 2009.
Many people, conservatives in particular, see this as a “tattle-tell” or an Orwellian-like website. The new campaign site also has a Twitter feed, @AttackWatch, for people to follow for updates. It is currently a trending topic on Twitter, perhaps, for very different reasons the Obama team was hoping to achieve. It has instead become a new punching bag for Republicans and conservatives who claim the president has thin skin when it comes to critiques of his policies.
Instead of praise and legitimate attack claims, the Attack Watch twitter site is receiving mockery and jabs from many users:
@jasonfwright tweets: @attackwatch I'd like to report a guy wearing a profane shirt and attacking my sense of morality
@Beers_n_Broads: @AttackWatch Saw a guy on tv lying about all the stuff POTUS (President of the United States) has done since he took office. Please look into it. His name was @barackobama
As an alternative, if the viewer has no information to report, they are encouraged to donate $5 to Mr. Obama's campaign fund.