So, on Sunday GoLocalProv ran a story entitled “Democratic Attack Book Against Brendan Doherty Revealed.” There was also a slideshow of accompanying bits from the “attack book.” Essentially, the story is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (the Democratic Party organ which works to get Democrats elected to the U.S. House of Representatives) has a book of opposition research on Brendan Doherty.
The GoLocal stories utilized an image of a file labelled “Top Secret” making it seem as though this document was slipped to GoLocal and thus dragged kicking and screaming from the shadows. Lost was who was doing the revealing: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Yes, that’s right, the Democratic Party is making its opposition research publicly available. Now, from a strategic point of view, it might be considered a point of idiocy that the Democrats are tipping their hand in such a manner (GoLocal quotes Mr. Doherty’s campaign manager Ian Prior as having “been aware of the document for several months”). On the other hand, it might be that the DCCC simply wants to distribute these as far as possible instead of keeping it for a few party insiders.
In all fairness to Dan McGowan, the reporter who wrote the story, his article is actually a fine overview of what’s in the document. Its flaws are that it omits saying that the DCCC made the document available (though Mr. McGowan does link to the actual site) and the misleading headline and picture.* And that’s really what gets me here. The DCCC wasn’t making this a secret. If the headline had been a simpler “DCCC Publishes Opposition Research on Brendan Doherty” it not only would’ve been clearer, but it would’ve been less misleading (assuming the “Top Secret” images were removed as well).
Instead, what’s “revealed” is that the DCCC is working as it’s supposed to. I don’t know, maybe this is the kind of stuff that raises Republican hackles; such as Providence Republican Committee Chair Tara Pinsky freaking out in a letter to The Journal about David Cicilline’s campaign conducting opposition research (file that under “101 Reasons Republicans Are Losing in Providence). But every time I read this stuff, I think, “do they not know how this works?”
Anyhow, it’s the height of hypocrisy for Republicans to get worked up over this. After all, the DCCC’s Republican counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee notably doesn’t openly publish its opposition research (though its “Race of The Day” feature does publish attack articles).
Favorite bit of Mr. McGowan’s article? When Mr. Prior warns anyone using the book to verify its facts; something the DCCC book itself does on its first page!
UPDATE: This article has been changed to reflect that in the GoLocalProv article that the DCCC site is linked to, and language has been clarified.