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January 27, 2012
On January 4th, a video entitled “Jon Huntsman’s Values” was anonymously uploaded to YouTube. The following day, this video went “viral” on the internet. By the morning after that, it was being discussed in countless newspapers and television news studios nationwide. The anonymous creator(s) of this absurd video — which has been nicknamed the “China Jon” video based on one of the titles displayed about halfway through its 72-second runtime — presented it as though it was intended to be an “attack” against Huntsman and a promotion for Ron Paul. In reality, the intended purposes were exactly the opposite (as this website has now demonstrated, and as will be further demonstrated momentarily.)
On January 6th, the day this “story” broke in the Establishment media, The End Run published an article entitled, “Huntsman Complicit in “False Flag”-Style Dirty Trick Against Paul“. This article provided preliminary documentation of the suspicious way in which the Huntsman campaign and others had gone to work egregiously and cynically exploiting the “China Jon” video almost immediately after it appeared on YouTube, as well as early evidence that the video originated from within the Huntsman campaign itself. The article quickly went “viral”, and drew citations from the San Fransisco Chronicle, Reason, The New American, The Atlantic Wire, and others.
Since then, The End Run has investigated this matter in much greater detail, uncovering a mountain of additional evidence confirming the original article’s premise. A thorough follow-up article was in the works, but was temporarily shelved, with a plan to complete and release it ASAP, after more pressing and less time-consuming matters were dealt with. However, around January 18th, it was reported that the Paul campaign has filed a lawsuit against the video’s anonymous creator(s). At that point, The End Run dropped everything and worked around the clock to refine and expand the original draft into two extremely detailed and well-sourced reports on this matter in the shortest time frame possible, in the hopes that this critical information reaches the Paul campaign and helps with their lawsuit, and also helps in the “court of public opinion”. This is one of those two reports. The other is entitled “Twitter Trail Confirms ‘China Jon’ Video as ‘False Flag’, Points to Huntsman Campaign“, and you are urged to read it before or after this one.
As documented and demonstrated beyond any doubt in these two reports, the “Jon Huntsman’s Values” video (aka the “China Jon” video) was a “false flag”-style dirty trick designed to sabotage the Ron Paul campaign and defame the candidate and his supporters — a goal which was accomplished with considerable success. Furthermore, all roads lead to the Huntsman camp, and especially Huntsman’s “viral video”-producing, social-media-utilizing, Establishment-media-darling daughters, or the “Jon2012Girls”, as they are known on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Before proceeding, let’s get something perfectly clear: These pieces have not been commissioned, endorsed, vetted, or even seen by the Paul campaign prior to publication, and in no way speak for them. Likewise, the author does not speak for a single other Ron Paul supporter, let alone “Ron Paul supporters” everywhere (as if this should even need to be explained).
If you appreciate the hard work that went into producing reports of this scope on such a short time table, please consider making a donation to The End Run today.
FIRST: WHAT IS A “FALSE FLAG”-STYLE DIRTY TRICK
Generally speaking, a “false flag” attack is one that is carried out by one entity, but purposely designed to look as though it was carried out by another. It’s your old-fashioned frame-up, basically. The term is derived (to quote Wikipedia) “from the military concept of flying false colors; that is flying the flag of a country other than one’s own”, and it has been used in a wide variety of contexts in modern history, from military affairs to economic sabotage to terrorism. In the political realm, it is a vicious, underhanded, and fraudulent way to play on people’s emotions and manipulate public sentiment for and/or against certain candidates or causes.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand the concept as it applies to politics is with a brief example. So, let’s begin with an anecdote published by Atlantic Magazine in November of 2004, taken from an article about Karl Rove, a political strategist and former Senior Advisor to George W. Bush, who is notorious for his political dirty tricks.
A typical instance [of Rove using unscrupulous political tactics] occurred in the hard-fought 1996 race for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court between Rove’s client, Harold See, then a University of Alabama law professor, and the Democratic incumbent, Kenneth Ingram. According to someone who worked for him, Rove, dissatisfied with the campaign’s progress, had flyers printed up—absent any trace of who was behind them—viciously attacking [his own client] See and his family. “We were trying to craft a message to reach some of the blue-collar, lower-middle-class people,” the staffer says. “You’d roll it up, put a rubber band around it, and paperboy it at houses late at night. I was told, ‘Do not hand it to anybody, do not tell anybody who you’re with, and if you can, borrow a car that doesn’t have your tags.’ So I borrowed a buddy’s car [and drove] down the middle of the street … I had Hefty bags stuffed full of these rolled-up pamphlets, and I’d cruise the designated neighborhoods, throwing these things out with both hands and literally driving with my knees.” The ploy left Rove’s opponent at a loss. Ingram’s staff realized that it would be fruitless to try to persuade the public that the See campaign was attacking its own candidate in order “to create a backlash against the Democrat,” as Joe Perkins, who worked for Ingram, put it to me. Presumably the public would believe that Democrats were spreading terrible rumors about See and his family. “They just beat you down to your knees,” Ingram said of being on the receiving end of Rove’s attacks. See won the race.
Another quick example: Last week, several Machiavellian political activists were caught planning to dress up in hooded Ku Klux Klan robes and “follow [Ron] Paul around South Carolina” with pro-Paul signs, making “sure to get photographed by the media”. The idea was to create the impression that the presidential candidate is supported by the widely reviled organization in order to turn off South Carolina voters in the run up to the state’s GOP primary. A similar ploy was carried out against Ron Paul’s son Rand when he was running for Senate.
Jon Huntsman — a former CFR member, fellow Mormon and distant cousin of Mitt Romney, and the son of a billionaire chemical magnate — entered the GOP race on June 21, 2011, immediately announcing his plan to skip Iowa and instead focus on New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.
As he stood in front of the Statue of Liberty on Day One, Huntsman called the current political debate “corrosive”, and vowed that he would run a campaign characterized by its “civility“. “We will conduct this campaign on the high road,” he said. “I don’t think you need to run down someone’s reputation in order to run for the office of President.”
Three months later, Huntsman had gained virtually no traction in South Carolina or Florida, two of his three target states. He was consistently polling around one or two percent — last place, or statistically tied for it. So, in September, Huntsman decided to switch to what he later called a “Vegas” strategy. To quote the Associated Press, he “moved his national headquarters from Florida to New Hampshire”, having made the decision that “going all in” there was his best hope. However, he “struggled to win big-name endorsements in the state“, and throughout October he still remained stuck in the 5 to 8 percent range in the polls, no better than he was doing in September.
That month (October), his three 20-something daughters began drawing the attention of the national media (international actually) with increasingly racy tweets sent out from their @Jon2012Girls Twitter account, such as a “tweet heard ’round the world” (so to speak) making fun of Mitt Romney’s supposed lack of knowledge about China.
The “High Road” Huntsman Campaign was reportedly “unnerved” and “jittery” about this change in content and tone, which the The New Yorker characterized as a mix of “acid put-downs” and “goofy humor”. Months earlier, Jon Huntsman himself had apparently asked Liddy, the “wild child” and “troublemaker”, to delete her personal Twitter account because she did not, in Liddy’s words, “have campaign-appropriate stuff up”. “With that account deactivated,” reported The New Yorker, “she and her sisters launched a more politically correct venture” (the Jon2012Girls account). And indeed, before October, their Tweets had been relatively tame, and had not drawn nearly as much attention.
Whether the racier Twitter tone was really initially the result of a “rogue” effort by the girls as claimed by the Huntsman campaign, or a deliberate publicity stunt that the campaign had actually approved behind the scenes, Huntsman’s “hot” and “telegenic” daughters did what was (as far as I can tell) their first major interview of the campaign on October 16. The interview was conducted by Shannon Bream of Fox News, who was curious to know more about their “saucy tweets“, in addition to life on the campaign trail. This was just days after the “famous” tweet attacking Romney was published.
About two weeks after that, they launched what the The Washington Post would characterize as a “strange viral video strategy” to supplement their now “vigorous Twitter campaign” (to quote Greta Van Sustren). They donned fake mustaches and spoofed a Herman Cain campaign ad, uploaded it to their newly-created “Jon2012Girls” Youtube account (on October 28), drew lots of attention from the “blogosphere” and press, and promptly hit the media circuit to promote the video and serve as what you might call “ambassadors” to their dad’s struggling campaign. Over the next couple weeks, they repeatedly appeared on national TV for interviews with Bob Scheifer of CBS’s “Face The Nation”, Greta Van Sustren of Fox’s ” On The Record”, CBS’s “The Early Show“, Piers Morgan of CNN, and others.
In mid-November, CNN’s Morgan told Jon Huntsman that they were “a rather unusual trio of campaign operatives”, and wondered aloud whether they were a “a force for good or catastrophe” in his campaign. “We’ll have to let the historians deal with that one,” Huntsman replied (we’re on it, Jon). “I don’t even want to hazard a guess. Here’s a reality in my life, Piers. I give a major foreign policy speech on America’s role in the world in the 21st century. I get five hits on YouTube. The girls put up this corn ball video spoofing another candidate’s video. They get half a million views within 24 hours. And I say the world isn’t fair. But I’m beginning to understand how political communication works these days.”
Morgan pressed the issue, citing the Jon2012Girls’ “naughty” behavior on Twitter (his word), and asking Huntsman whether their sometimes childish and capricious behavior would ultimately sink his campaign. “Do you worry that your daughters are going to land you — you’re going to wake up one morning and all hell has broken loose on Twitter?” he asked. Huntsman replied (not so jokingly, in my estimation): “Piers, I don’t have a choice. I know it’s going to happen at some point. All I’ve told them is give me a chance. Let me get out there. Let me get known before you completely destroy the campaign.”
Huntsman’s daughters released another “viral video” a couple weeks later. “In their latest video, three daughters of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman rap insults about the rest of the GOP presidential field to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Sexyback’,” wrote the Washington Post on December 1. ” It’s funny,” they said, “although not as good as their mustache-heavy parody of the smoking Herman Cain ad last month.” They noted that Huntsman’s daughters’ videos “have gotten lots of attention”, but also observed that “silly attacks on rivals might not be the best strategy for the candidate who’s pitching himself as the sane adult in the room”. RT anchor Lauren Lyster went further, calling the video “cringe”-worthy and “horrible”, and saying that Jon Huntsman was just “trying to pimp out his daughters”.
Another observation from the Washington Post article was that “viral videos may catch fire online, but they rarely seem to translate into votes.” This echoed what Piers Morgan had hinted at to Huntsman two weeks earlier, namely that “when it comes to New Hampshire, when it comes to this big vote, you’re not just going to win just because you have three appealing daughters.”
And indeed he wasn’t. The next New Hampshire poll to come out after the release of the “SexyBack” parody (CNN/Time) showed Huntsman still way down in 4th place at 8%, far behind 3rd place Ron Paul (17%), 2nd place Gingrich (26%), and 1st place Romney (35%). These poll numbers were particularly problematic because, again, Huntsman still had “all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket”, as Dan Weil of Newsmax put it on December 9th. This characterization was echoed by The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer on December 13th, and Huntsman himself later that month, who said that “putting our eggs in the first primary basket is a good strategy.”
“HIGH ROAD” HUNTSMAN ATTACKS RON PAUL
By the second half of December, with the New Hampshire primary only a few short weeks away, Huntsman was still only polling in the nine to thirteen percent range. So, despite his promise to “conduct his campaign on the high road,” and his corresponding assertion that “I don’t think you need to run down someone’s reputation in order to run for the office of President,” the Huntsman campaign published back-to-back video spots attacking Ron Paul’s character — and even sanity — in a dishonest, “low road” kind of way. (Just two weeks earlier, Ron Paul had complimented Huntsman on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, saying that he was a “good diplomat” and erroneously referring to him as a reasonable, “nice” and “thoughtful” person.)
The first attack video, titled “Unelectable“, was posted to the Huntsman campaign’s official YouTube account on December 28th. It perpetuated the years-old, bogus “racist newsletter” smear against Paul and implied that he is not worthy of the “trust” of “New Hampshire voters”. To make their “case”, Huntsman’s camp used (for example) a totally out of context clip of Ron Paul talking to reporter Gloria Borger, meant to make Paul look evasive on the “newsletters” issue. The clip had been utilized in the same capacity by CNN a week earlier in a deceptively edited hit piece, prompting similar misrepresentations by others in the media. However, CNN subsequently released the raw, unedited version of the interview from which the clip was taken, causing even major corporate news outlets to admit that while “earlier reports made it seem like Ron Paul stormed out of the interview”, the raw footage shows “something entirely different”, namely that the interview actually “lasted nearly ten minutes, which is not unusually brief on the campaign trail”, and “was simply done” (i.e. over) when Paul began removing his microphone. The raw footage — and these corresponding admissions/clarifications — were published no less than four days before the Huntsman campaign’s attack ad came out; yet, they not only went ahead with the smear, but chopped the clip into an even smaller, more out of context piece than the original dishonest CNN hit piece.
The Huntsman campaign’s next attack video, “The Ron Paul Chronicles”, was published to their official YouTube channel on December 31, just three days after the first one. This video, characterized as “tacky” and “glib” by political analyst Paul Joseph Watson, was essentially a compilation of Ron Paul making demonstrably true (or easily defensible) statements on various issues. Instead of attempting to rebut Paul’s assertions, the Huntsman campaign simply added “Twilight Zone” music in the background. So much for “the high road”.
Three days later, the Iowa caucuses took place. According to the official results, Huntsman got less than one percent of the vote (0.6%, to be precise), while Ron Paul got 21.4 percent. From the @RonPaul Twitter account, a campaign staffer sent a tweet to the Huntsman camp poking fun at the candidate’s poor finish: “@JonHuntsman We found your one Iowa voter, he’s in Linn precinct 5 you might want to call him and say thanks”.
JANUARY 4: HUNTSMAN OWES PAUL “A TWEET IN RETURN”, DAUGHTERS HAVE SOMETHING “UP THEIR SLEEVES”
Huntsman was asked about the tweet by CNN’s Piers Morgan the following day, January 4. He said that he “actually found it to be pretty humorous”, and that “you’ve got to have a little bit of levity and humor in this business or you’d go crazy”. Huntsman then asked Morgan to “tell Dr. Paul that I owe him a tweet in return, and he should be — he should be expecting one sometime soon.” Morgan suggested that he “get the dirty work done by someone else,” adding, “maybe your daughters can unleash themselves on Twitter on him”. With a grin, Huntsman replied: “They’ve got plenty — they’ve got plenty up their sleeves, Piers. And you might be surprised on what they release in the next few days”. Morgan said he had been “hearing noises of more stuff coming” and couldn’t wait. (Also reported on by Politico.)
“NHLIBERTY4PAUL” AND “CHINA JON” ARE QUIETLY BORN
That very day (Jan 4), a YouTube account was anonymously created called “NHLiberty4Paul”. The anonymous creator of the “NHLiberty4Paul” account promptly uploaded a video entitled “Jon Huntsman’s Values”. The crude, amateurish video featured photos and video of Huntsman (the former U.S. Ambassador to China) speaking Chinese and spending time with his adopted Chinese and Indian daughters, as Chinese instrumental music plays in the background. Interspersed between these images were asinine captions calling him “China Jon” and ludicrously suggesting that these qualities made him a “Manchurian Candidate” who lacked “American Values”. Toward the end, a Photoshopped image is shown depicting him as Mao Zedong.
An “NHLiberty4Paul” Twitter account was created the same day, and at 10:35pm that evening, a single tweet with a link to the video was posted. The tags included #jon2012girls and #fitn (a tag associated with the Huntsman campaign and jon2012girls in particular. For more details, see “Twitter Trail Confirms ‘China Jon’ Video as ‘False Flag’, Points To Huntsman Campaign“)
THE “ONLY ONE”?
Another video was posted to YouTube that day, but this one was posted to the Huntsman campaign’s official YouTube account (Jon2012HQ). Entitled “Only One“, the video proclaimed Huntsman to be “THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO WILL END THE WAR AND REBUILD AMERICA,” with “END THE WAR” highlighted in red (screenshot); the inference being that Ron Paul — widely known as the “bring our troops home now” anti-war candidate — will not do these things, despite his long and well-known track record as one of the most outspoken anti-war, pro-peace voices in Congress who votes in a manner consistent with his rhetoric. Huntsman, on the other hand, “refused to call the Iraq war a mistake and said repeatedly he was open to another preventive war against Iran,” in the words of The Guardian. (See also: “Huntsman Says He’d Launch A Ground Invasion To Prevent Iran From Getting Nukes“)
JANUARY 5: DESPERATE TIMES AND MORE FORESHADOWING
The following morning (Jan 5), Huntsman’s daughters were interviewed by Jim Axelrod and Nancy Cordes of CBS. Before discussing that, let’s first pause and look at the context:
This was now only five days before the primary, and Huntsman was still on track to do relatively poorly in New Hampshire — certainly not well enough for it to be a “market-moving event”, which is what Huntsman told a crowd that day that he needed in New Hampshire, or else he was “done”.
That morning, Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Williamson — who was on the ground in New Hampshire, and had personally attended a Huntsman campaign event “on a factory floor” just “a day or two” earlier — gave a rather comprehensive and blunt appraisal Huntsman’s prospects. She painted a bleak picture. She also gave some insight into why Huntsman was going after Ron Paul in particular
The video itself is embedded above so you can see it for yourself, but it seems her five main take-away points were:
1) Despite months of campaigning in the state, Huntsman had not gained terribly widespread name recognition.
2) If anything, Huntsman actually seemed to be losing support in the polls, not gaining.
3) Huntsman was competing not so much with Mitt Romney, but rather for the vote of the “true Independents” and the “live free or die crowd”. (Huntsman himself essentially agreed with this point in an inteview with Gwen Ifill of PBS later that evening.)
4) That demographic seemed to be going largely for Ron Paul, and many within it seemed “turned off” by Huntsman’s “down-home pandering.”
5) Ultimately, the notion that Huntsman could have a significant last minute “surge” like Santorum in Iowa did not “look likely for a variety of reasons”.
Obviously Williamson is not the ultimate word on the matter, but her analysis does provide one of the most detailed snapshots available on that day from a veteran reporter speaking from first-hand experience on the ground in New Hampshire. Here is the polling data (in reverse chronological order):
Despite these numbers and the other points made by Williamson, and right after admitting that they had already been in New Hampshire for “months”, “Jon2012Girl” Abby prophetically predicted on CBS that same morning: “I think you’re gonna see a lot change over the next few days.” Her sisters nodded in agreement. As the interview concluded, CBS’s Jim Axelrod noted for the audience that the girls are “on the internet for everyone to see,” at which point Abby quickly interjected: “There may be some other things up our sleeve, we’ll see.” This echoed what Jon Huntsman himself said the previous evening, except, remember, Jon specifically said it in the context of a discussion of his desire to send Ron Paul a “tweet in return”, and right after Morgan suggested that his daughters do “the dirty work” in that regard. Furthermore, again, Huntsman had also said in the same short conversation that his daughters would “release” something “in the next few days”, and Morgan “might be surprised” to see what it is. (Note: One could argue that Abby’s “you’re gonna see a lot change” line was just typical optimistic campaign rhetoric. Readers can take in all of the context laid out in this article and make up their own minds as to whether or not it was significant.)
FALSE FLAG TIME: THE SHORT LIST IS CONTACTED AND THE FIRE IS IGNITED
Meanwhile, the lone tweet sent out by “NHLiberty4Paul” the previous evening (Jan 4) had apparently gone unnoticed. While it had been given a number of hashtags, which could have conceivably led to its discovery, it was not specifically tweeted “@” anyone in particular, except for @JonHuntsman himself. Only one account had retweeted it, and that was @GOPPrimary. However, that account’s description reads: “Retweeting from all candidates seeking the GOP nomination. As well as the #GOP2012 and #2012GOP hashtags.” The “NHLiberty4Paul” tweet had been given the #GOP2012 hashtag, so that explains why it was retweeted (possibly automatically, without any human ever even reading the tweet).
So, beginning at 11:14am that morning (Jan 5), several more tweets were sent out by “NHLiberty4Paul” with a link to the video. However, this time the tweets were sent to specific individuals (or “@” specific individuals, in Twitter-speak). Analysis of who was on this “shortlist” to receive the “China Jon” video is extremely revealing. In short, it was primarily outspoken and influential bloggers, journalists, and pundits with a history of one or more of the following:
1) Praising Jon Huntsman
2) Promoting previous Jon Huntsman attack videos (especially against Paul)
3) Promoting Jon2012Girls
4) Expressing a strong dislike or hatred for Ron Paul
5) Promoting previous attacks and smears on Ron Paul (especially the “racist newsletters” one that the Huntsman had “piled on” with the previous week)
This time around, “NHLiberty4Paul’s” tweets were more than sufficient as “kindling”, and the fire of the false flag was quickly ignited. (For an in-depth analysis, see “BREAKING: Twitter Trail Confirms ‘China Jon’ Video as “False Flag”, Points to Huntsman Campaign“)
TWITTER EXPLODES WITH DISGUST & ANIMOSITY TOWARD RON PAUL AND HIS SUPPORTERS; SOME OBSERVERS QUICKLY SMELL A RAT
Let’s first look at what happened on Twitter. Specifically, let’s look at the first 40 tweets that went out containing a link to the video’s main URL*, after it was sent out in the initial tweets from “NHLiberty4Paul”.
To determine this, TheEndRun.com searched Twitter for the URL, selected “ALL”, and followed the results — which were in reverse chronological order — all the way down to the very first tweet by “NHLiberty4Paul”. The search can be replicated with Topsy.com (click here, and keep scrolling down to the bottom and hitting “more” until you get to the end of the line).
In cases where a person “retweeted” (RT) a previous tweet from someone else and added their own commentary, the retweet part has been removed, and just the user’s own personal comments remain. Again, here are the first 40 tweets* linking to the video after “NHLiberty4Paul”, in chronological order. None have been omitted.
1. “Wow: Just found this YouTube ad from crazy Ron Paul supporters casting Huntsman as an *actual” Manchurian candidate.” [Note: This BuzzFeed.com reporter did not "find" the video... it was SENT to him by "NHLiberty4Paul", literally 10 minutes earlier.]
2. “Ha, this is totally ridiculous. Jon Huntsman: The Manchurian Candidate”
3. “This is so crazy racist”
4. “Ron Paul sure has some classy supporters”
5. “Ron Paul and his supporters are not racist… I repeat not racist”
6. “Wow, Ron Paul’s followers keep demonstrating why he published the newsletters”
7. “Ron Paul Swanson is kind of amazing”
8. “Jesus H. Christ”
9. “…this racist ron paul supporter’s video is really racist”
11. “Just uploaded! Another very, very strange Ron Paul video”
12. “Ron Paul Supporters question Huntsman’s Patriotism using his child.”
13. “@repronpaul supporters think that knowing China disqualifies someone from being President… say what?”
14. “Holy crap. Worst political ad thus far. Ron Paul just can’t keep support in line…”
15. “This is hilarious. Good going Ron Paul fans!” [Note: this user, joshuajezioro, has called Huntsman "the only GOP nom that doesn't terrify me. And he's funny!"]
16. “Wow, Ron Paul fans in New Hampshire… you’ve gone lower than I ever thought possible”
17. [RT, no additional commentary]
18. “Warning! JON HUNTSMAN IS THE MANCHRIAN CANDIDATE!” [Note: obvious sarcasm, especially if you look at his Twitter page. A few weeks earlier, on Dec 12, this guy tweeted that he "Got to meet the @jon2012girls" earlier that day. Hunstman's daughter's tweeted back: "@Nathaniel_g great to meet you!"]
19. “oh my”
21. “What a joke”
22. “Thoroughly Disturbing”
23. [RT, no additional commentary]
24. “More SICKNESS from Ron Paul. This ad questions Huntsman’s LOYALTY cuz he has a Chinese daughter”
25. “Did Ron Paul’s supporters/campaign really go there? Or is this bogus? … Huntsman as Mao. Nice touch.”
26. “”#Huntsman speaks Chinese, he’s obviously a communist … #FAIL“
27. “Obvious #RonPaul smear is obvious”
28. “The funniest ad I have seen this election cycle: Jon Huntsman as Manchrian Candidate?” [Note: Not a Ron Paul supporter.]
29. “Huntsman ‘manchurian candidate’ ad, allegedly from Paul camp in NH … easy smear”
30. “Thanks to the @RonPaul people for my fav campaign vid this year … #FITN”
31. “NHLibertyforPaul really?”
32. “Ron Paul ad attacks Huntsman for speaking Chinese, adoption Calls for American values – racism I guess?”
33. “Most ridiculous political ad I’ve seen thus far”
34. “Those newsletters aren’t exactly a thing of the past, are they Ron Paul?”
35. “have we actually become this disgusting? #fuckignorance”
36. “Ron Paul questions huntsman’s ‘American values’ b/c he adopted a kid from china, hits new low in GOP race”
37. [RT, no additional commentary]
38. “This Jon Huntsman smear played to classical Chinese music is truly hilarious” [Note: This Twitter user is a writer for the Globe and Mail]
39. “@Judgenap Now they are claiming we made this video. Yet the uploader has no information and no subscribers #smear” [Note: Ron Paul supporter]
40. “@jamemiami @Jon2012Girls This video has nothing to do with Ron Paul or his supporters”
(*Note: “Main URL” means the unembellished URL sent out by NHLiberty4Paul, namely www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNxWtQU5I4o. It’s possible that some people sent out variations like www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNxWtQU5I4o&feature=related, which also directs to the same video, but would not show up in the results. Additionally, the list above obviously does not count people who tweeted out links to early hit piece articles that contained the video — only links directly to the video itself. With that said, no matter what link was used, the overall sentiment was the same.)
AS INTENDED, PAUL’S OPPONENTS WITHIN THE “BLOGOSPHERE” EAGERLY TAKE THE BALL AND SMEAR WITH IT
The early “action” wasn’t just on Twitter, however. Remember, “NHLiberty4Paul” had specifically tweeted the video to a number of bloggers, journalists, and pundits who loathe Ron Paul and his supporters and jump at any opportunity to attack them. They did not disappoint. In no time, smear articles began popping up on numerous popular sites, touting the video as proof that Ron Paul and/or his supporters are racist, crazy, disgusting, and pretty much any other negative adjective you think of.
Let’s look at the publicly-viewable YouTube stats for the “China Jon” video. As previously reported by TheEndRun.com, these stats originally showed Jon Huntsman’s official campaign website (Jon2012.com) to be the first website to link to the video. Eventually, as more sites promoted the video, the stats updated themselves. In (what I think was) the second version, YouTube provided us with a chance to see a list of websites that embedded the video right out of the gate.
Some have pointed out that these stats aren’t always the perfect source for this kind of data — which may have some truth to it, so take them with a grain of salt — but nevertheless, this does give us a good idea of who some of the first sites to embed the video were, possibly even THE first. Let’s briefly analyze the list.
BUZZFEED.COM – A site that has routinely promoted the activities of “Jon2012Girls” going back months. They also promoted the Huntsman campaign’s “Twilight Zone” attack on Ron Paul the previous week. Two of the site’s political reporters, Zeke Miller and McCay Coppins, were on the “shortlist” of recipients of the “China Jon” video from “NHLiberty4Paul”. The former was the guy who posted the “Twilight Zone” ad to BuzzFeed last time around. The latter became the first person on all of Twitter to send out the “China Jon” video upon receiving it, misleadingly claiming that he had just “found” it. They dutifully embedded the “China Jon” video on BuzzFeed with the headline: “Paul Supporters Launch Insane Attack On ‘Manchurian Candidate’ Jon Huntsman”.
BREITBART.TV – This site’s Editor-in-Chief, Larry O’Connor, has said that Ron Paul looks old and “like a marionette“, that he is a “RINO” and “NOT a Republican”, and that his “followers” are “potheads“. While watching the GOP debate on January 16, he tweeted, “FINALLY! A REAL Republican crowd lets RINO Ron Paul hear some boos! #SCdebate”. Watch this video to see the obvious disdain that O’Connor has for some of Ron Paul’s supporters and positions (especially foreign policy). With zero proof or skepticism regarding the “China Jon” video’s origin, Breitbart.TV attributed it to an “independent group supporting Ron Paul’s candidacy” and said that it “illustrate[s] some of the more fervent energy on behalf of the candidate.” After they were called out on their lack of due diligence, they at least updated the post to admit they weren’t sure who made it, but the dissemination and early accusation was done, and the video was off to the races among the Paul-haters.
WONKETTE.com – A “left-leaning”, notoriously anti-Ron Paul site which frequently refers to his supporters as “Paultards”. (They may have even coined the term.) Contributor Liz Colville eagerly posted the “China Jon” video at 2:15pm on Jan 5, accusing “Paultards” of “stooping to core-of-the-earth lows” with zero proof or skepticism regarding its origin. The headline: “Paultards Hate Huntsman for Knowing Chinese, Adopting Foreigners“.
REDSTATE.COM is another one of the most bitterly anti-Ron Paul sites out there. In their never-ending quest to smear and discredit Ron Paul, they opportunistically and absurdly cited the video as evidence that Ron Paul supporters are “mostly liberal Democrats who are mad that Obama has governed too far to the right” with zero proof or skepticism regarding its origin. Meanwhile, the site’s managing editor, Erick Erickson, has repeatedly praised Huntsman, and some of his statements in this regard were touted by the Huntsman campaign in an official campaign ad as proof of his conservative credentials. (Erickson, and his role in the “China Jon” fraud, is discussed in much greater detail here.)
THEATLANTICWIRE.COM – A website that cranked out attack article after attack article during the “racist newsletter” smear against Paul (see here here and here for example). On January 5th, they conflated the “China Jon” video with ones that were actually produced by the Paul campaign by including it an article entitled Ron Paul’s Negative Ad Blitz. They eventually added a note that the video could have been made by Ron Paul “saboteur”, linking to TheEndRun.com’s preliminary analysis, but this was not until a day after the Atlantic Wire article was originally published, so the damage had been done.
GAWKER.COM – Gawker Media owned Wonkette.com until mid-2008.
THESE were the sites running the “China Jon” campaign in the morning and afternoon on January 5th. The creator(s) of this moronic video did not send it to Ron Paul supporters. They sent it to people with established track records as players (in some cases major players) in previous anti-Paul smear campaigns.
(See “Twitter Trail Confirms ‘China Jon’ Video as False Flag” for more info about Coppins, Miller, Erickson, BuzzFeed, etc., as it pertains to the “China Jon” video.)
HUNTSMAN’S DAUGHTERS SEND RON PAUL “A TWEET”
As explained above, the infamously anti-Ron Paul WONKETTE.COM was one of the first websites to write a hit piece against Ron Paul’s supporters based around the “China Jon” video, if not THE first. The title was “Paultards Hate Huntsman for Knowing Chinese, Adopting Foreigners”, and an embedded version of the video appeared prominently at the beginning of the article. The author, Liz Colville, accused “The New Hampshire contingent of Paultards” of “stooping to core-of-the-earth lows”. According to the article’s timestamp, it was posted at 2:15PM.
From their @Jon2012Girls account, Huntsman’s daughters promptly sent a link to this article (“Paultards Hate Huntsman for Knowing Chinese, Adopting Foreigners”) to their 20,000+ Twitter followers, prefaced with a message directed at the Paul campaign: “@RonPaul this crosses the line and should be condemned. Hurtful, spiteful, and un-American.”
According to Twitter’s timestamp, this was sent at 4:11PM (and in the next tweet they said they were on their way to a 6pm media appearance). Below is a screenshot of the relevant tweets. (As of this writing, the tweet to Paul is still viewable on their Twitter page here. If they subsequently delete it, you’ll know why.)
They were apparently so quick to the draw that a maximum of 39 people on all of Twitter (and possibly considerably less) had tweeted the already-going-viral video. If you look at the list of the first 40 Tweets provided above, you’ll see that the last one says, “@jamemiami @Jon2012Girls This video has nothing to do with Ron Paul or his supporters”. This person likely saw Huntsman’s daughter’s tweet and was responding to it.
Less than 24 hours earlier:
JON HUNTSMAN: Just tell Dr. Paul that I owe him a tweet in return, and he should be– he should be expecting one some time soon.
PIERS MORGAN (CNN): I think you should do what Mitt Romney does and get the dirty work done by somebody else. In your case maybe your daughters could unleash themselves on Twitter on him. I think that might be a better way of doing it. Keep your hands out of it.
JON HUNTSMAN: They’ve got plenty– they’ve got plenty up their sleeves Piers, and you might be surprised at what they release in the next few days.
PIERS MORGAN (CNN): No, I’m hearing– I’m hearing noises of more stuff coming. I can’t wait.
THE HUNTSMAN CAMPAIGN CALLS ON PAUL TO DENOUNCE THE VIDEO
By early evening (only a couple hours later), the Huntsman campaign was already in the media officially calling on the Ron Paul campaign to condemn the anonymously-created YouTube video. An article posted to the website of the Salt Lake Tribune began:
Huntsman to Paul: Disavow ‘manchurian candidate’ ad with Chinese daughter
Published on Jan 5, 2012 06:44PM
Jon Huntsman’s campaign is asking Rep. Ron Paul to disavow a YouTube spot posted by a supporter that questions whether the former Utah governor is loyal to the United States or China and features shots of his adopted Chinese daughter, Gracie Mei, and an image of Huntsman superimposed wearing a Communist uniform.
“The ad is offensive and the Paul campaign and their supporters should condemn it,” Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller said Thursday night after the clip began circulating.
THOMAS “TOMMY” BURR: THE MESSENGER
The author of the article was a reporter named Thomas Burr. Note that the paper that he writes for, The Salt Lake Tribune, is based in Utah, where Huntsman used to be governor. It tuns out that Burr was “covering state government” for the The Tribune “when Huntsman was sworn in as governor in 2005.” Later that year, Burr became a Washington correspondent for the paper, and in that capacity “he followed Huntsman through the process of becoming ambassador to China, and he covered his preparations for the presidential run.”
The source for this information is a recent article by The Salt Lake Tribune‘s deputy editor, Tim Fitzpatrick. In that piece, he further explains that Burr “put 1,400 miles on his rental car while covering the New Hampshire race this year, an incredible figure when you consider the state is only about 50 miles wide.” However, remember: until the final week before the New Hampshire primary, the other candidates were primarily focused on Iowa, which Huntsman skipped. Accordingly, Burr spent much of his time in New Hampshire with the Huntsman campaign, and his Twitter page, @thomaswburr, has hundreds of tweets about his experiences on the trail with them. He has also retweeted, and exchanged tweets with, Huntsman’s daughters, many times, and wrote at least one entire article about them.
One can also view Burr’s Twitpic.com page (also archived here) to see pictures that he took throughout his journey with Huntman, going back all the way to a week before he announced his candidacy. On the day of the New Hampshire primary, Burr tweeted, “Six months ago, I was one of two reporters on Huntsman’s plane. Had more space back then.”
In the aforementioned article by Salt Lake Tribune deputy editor Tim Fitzpatrick , titled, “Tribune’s Burr brings home the Utah-centric presidential race,” Fitzpatrick explains:
During a couple of former Gov. Jon Huntsman’s recent presidential campaign stops, there has come what might be called the Tommy Burr moment.
Huntsman will be selling his red-state cred by touting his successes in conservative Utah, and he’ll gesture to Salt Lake Tribune reporter Tommy Burr and say Burr can confirm what he’s saying.
Some fellow reporters may even bite and seek out Burr, who has his own stock answers: Yes, Huntsman was elected with 78 percent of the vote. No, he didn’t exactly push a “flat” tax. It’s a single-rate tax, but it still preserved itemized deductions on mortgages and charitable donations.
Burr knows his editors didn’t send him out there to enlighten other reporters, but the story is still testament to his real value to Tribune readers: In the curious case that has found Utah connected to not one but two presidential candidates, Burr is unique among campaign reporters in that he has covered both men for years.
HUNTSMAN CALLS “THE RON PAUL VIDEO” “STUPID”
First thing the next morning (Jan 6), during a televised speaking event in Concord, New Hampshire which began at 9am, Jon Huntsman himself began talking about the “China Jon” video, after an unidentified audience member conveniently brought it up to him during the Q&A session. As the TV cameras rolled, Huntsman referred to the anonymously-created YouTube video as “the Ron Paul video”, conveniently conflating it with the Paul campaign once again — and called it “stupid”.
This was a very important moment in this whole story, and it’s the perfect time to pause and ask a vital question.
IS THE “CHINA JON” VIDEO “STUPID”?
The “China Jon” video is not only “stupid”, it is one of the most ludicrous, ineffective, counter-productive “attack” ads imaginable. This is not only blatantly obvious when you watch the thing; anyone can see that it is an empirically proven fact simply by looking at how people reacted to the video on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, TV screens, and the pages of newspapers world wide. Virtually (if not absolutely) NO ONE was persuaded that Huntsman having the ability to speak Chinese and two adopted daughters from foreign countries therefore makes him even remotely a “Manchurian candidate” who lacks “faith” and “American values”. It is a transparently and completely absurd proposition, presented in a farcical and barely coherent faux-”attack” video on YouTube. (Example caption: “China Jon’s Daughters – Even Adopted?”)
Here is a 16 second summary by Mark Eiglarsh on Fox News:
On the other hand, the video highlighted three things that Jon Huntsman desperately wanted voters to know, and had been trying to convey to them for months, with very limited success.
1) He was the U.S. Ambassador to China
There are five tabs at the of Huntsman’s website (Jon2012.com): HOME, JON, HTV, ISSUES, and DONATE. If one clicks either “JON” or “ISSUES“, a sizeable banner pops up on the right-hand side of the screen prominently asserting that Huntsman is “Qualified to Lead”. The very first thing that is touted as proof of this is his term as Ambassador to China. As T.J. Walker of The Daily National commented in November, Huntsman “just can’t seem to get through a sentence without talking about his experience as a Chinese ambassador.”
2) He is fluently multilingual
There is no doubt that this is something Huntsman is (rightfully) proud of, sees as a selling point, and thus wants voters to know about. Inside of the aforementioned “Qualified to Lead” banner on his website, one can click a link to an interactive “timeline”, which is broken down by decade. The headline for the entire first half of the 1980′s is, “Becomes fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkie”.
Similiarly, in the “About Jon” section of his website (under the “JON” tab), the third paragraph begins: “Jon also has extensive foreign policy experience — a passion that was sparked at a young age. When he was 19, Jon embarked on a two-year mission trip to Taiwan, where he learned to speak Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkein.”
Furthermore, on January 7th, just three days after “China Jon” was uploaded and one day after it really hit the media, Huntsman went out of his way in a nationally-televised debate to showcase his ability to speak Mandarin Chinese.
3) He has two adopted daughters from China and India who had “no future” and “nothing to look forward to” until he adopted them (all his words in quotes).
This is a sensitive subject, but given all of the evidence pointing to the “China Jon” having come from the Huntsman campaign itself (and the implications that go with that), it is one that absolutely must be touched upon, and in some detail.
From the very beginning of his campaign, Huntsman was specifically touting his adopted daughters on the campaign trail. For example, in June, the Wall Street Journal wrote:
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. formally launched his presidential bid Tuesday at Liberty State Park in New Jersey with his picture-perfect family, his wife, Mary Kaye, and seven children, including five-year-old Asha, who was adopted from India, and Gracie Mei, 12, adopted from China. Mr. Huntsman has taken his wife and at least some of their children on virtually every campaign stop so far.
In a typical appearance earlier this month in Nashua, N.H., he introduced each of the three daughters present, and then called over Gracie Mei [his adopted daughter from China] .
“You want to cut through the politics and get to the bottom line of life, the greatest thing we have ever done is bring to kids into our lives who had no future,” he told a gathering of 40 or so people at a house party in Nashua. “And I don’t say that gratuitously, I say that with joy and enormous satisfaction….They make our life full of joy on a regular basis.”
Actually, he had been bringing her up at events weeks before he even announced:
Washington, June 4 (ANI): Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. could become the second Mormon to join the race for the White House in 2012. The first is former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney of GOP.
Addressing a crowd of Christian conservatives in downtown Washington, Huntsman seemed to emphasize that his values are no different from those of a Christian crowd, the Washington Post reports.
He recounted how he had adopted a Chinese orphan abandoned in a vegetable market. He said that when his 10-year-old daughter is asked who found her there, “she simply replies, ‘Jesus’.”
Many people were undoubtedly moved and touched by these stories (he went on to tell the world about his daugter’s “vegetable market” past on his official campaign website as well), but some saw things in a different light. For example, Michael Shaw of BagNews commented at the time:
“The girls “who had no future?” I can certainly understand the comment and qualification about gratuitousness. But then, please tell me Huntsman, the presidential product, wasn’t simultaneously using these two children as a brand endorsement for open-mindedness, globalism and his international portfolio, at the same time inoculating himself against old fashioned Merikan racism by framing Asha in the foreground, adopted from India, and Gracie Mei with Lady Liberty, and count ‘em, one, two, three, four American flags (including the one visible on Asha’s dress).”
Which beget this comment:
“He’s treading close to some shaky ground here. Among International Adoption parents, there tend to be two attitudes: those who tend to be self-congratulatory about “saving” their children from “a life of squalor and misery,” and those who find the whole “saving” meme gauche if not insulting. Maybe he did save his children from a “no future” but I certainly don’t admire him from asserting so. And we are supposed to applaud him for that attitude? He’s in danger of infuriating thousands of adoptive parents. Children are not accessories or props. Nor are they stand-ins for international savvy. Adopting a child from another culture, race, or country does not automatically make one more attuned, understanding, or respectful of cultural differences, just as having a couple of minority friends does not give one a pass to make rude or racist remarks. So far: not impressed.”
When the Huntsmans adopted their youngest daughter from India in 2006, he was already a politician; specifically, the Governor of Utah. As it turns out, the adoption was not something that was done privately. Quite the opposite. Photos and intimate details of the entire process, from the “red tape” they encountered, to the eventual signing of the papers, to their first moments with the baby, were all over the local news, for months, with the Huntsmans’ cooperation. (See for example here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
Returning to another example from the 2012 GOP race: Just two weeks before the “China Jon” video appeared, Huntsman was interviewed by RedState.com’s Leon Wolf, and repeatedly injected his adopted daughters into the discussion. Shortly after citing them in an answer about his pro-life bone fides, he brought them up again while answering another question, making what NPR later labeled a “grandiose claim”, and TPM called “a dramatic play”:
Q. What, if anything, and let me break this up into two questions. What, if anything should be done by the United States to encourage China to change its “one child” policy?
A. Well, uh, I probably did more than anybody. Uh, because my daughter Gracie was known by 1.3 billion people in China. Everybody heard her story. They knew that we had adopted her and given her life. Uh, they knew that she got to seek a great educational opportunity – a young, pretty, brilliant girl who was, I mean, it was all the time in China. I dare to say that our one act of adopting a girl, as United States Ambassador to China, in many minds – and this would be impossible to quantify – but I tell you, may have had more of an impact in that country, one thing, than all the speeches combined of U.S. government officials over the years.
Around that time, the “Resist Racism” blog, reflecting on this interview and other past comments by Huntsman, commented:
“Dear Jon Huntsman: You and your wife have seven kids. Full stop. Not “seven kids, including two adopted girls from China and India.” Unless, of course, you wish me to understand that you are such a wonderful human being for adopting.”
Which beget comments like:
“Huntsman keeps trotting his two youngest daughters out to show how wonderful he is. Plus he spreads their stories all over, because he’s such a great guy, yanno.”
“What is with people blabbing about their ADOPTED children? Do they think they are the only family in the world to adopt? Do they think adoption makes them “special”? A lot of people have adopted and we’re not running around telling the public about our children’s histories, parading them out at public events, or claiming some kind of religious “credit.” ALL children need and deserve privacy.”
“I think it is very sad to use one’s children to further one’s campaign. The fact that he continues to do it over and over again shows that he is clueless and pathetic. Does he not realize that one day that they will be older and see how he has talked about their personal lives in public. That he has shared personal information inappropriately, and made judgements about their future when he really doesn’t know. How does he know that his daughters might not have been one of those kids supported by the orphanage and govt to go to college? Several examples of this.”
THE ESTABLISHMENT MEDIA TAKES THE REINS
This section could be massive in and of itself, but it probably doesn’t need to be. In short, by Saturday morning, the national and international corporate media had gotten word of the “story” (“story”, of course, actually meaning “anonymously-uploaded YouTube video”), and over the next 48 hours or so, the media covered it with bizarre frequency and fervor. It was everywhere. Clips from the “China Jon” video were aired on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and others. In the print media, everyone from Fox News to Reuters to The Washington Post to The Toronto Star covered the “story” as headline news.
Ron Paul and his supporters were absolutely slimed. Despite the obvious absurdity of the video’s premise, and fact that this video was anonymously uploaded to a YouTube account that was created the exact same day, most in the media applied approximately zero skepticism regarding who was behind it. The anonymous creator had said that they were “4Paul” in their username, after all. With iron-clad proof like that, how could anyone possibly doubt their pro-Paul bona fides? (MSNBC host Alex Witt actually made this argument on national television.)
Even Ron Paul himself was blamed by some for the “ad”. For example, Keith Olbermann named Paul — YES, Paul himself — one of his “Worst Person[s] in the World” over it, and used it as an opportunity to take cheap shots at his supporters and son, Senator Rand Paul. Senator John McCain’s wife tweeted: “I deeply resent the video made using the adopted daughters of @johnhuntsman. @ronpaul shame on you.” Fox News, ABC, and others quickly made this tweet headline news, and “Jon2012girls” retweeted it to their 20K+ followers.
A number of other deceptive and often overlapping patterns emerged, which are very much worth noting before we move on:
1. The fact that the video was simply an anonymously-created video uploaded to a brand new account on YouTube was obscured, glossed over, or not reported at all.
2. The video was frequently attributed to actual Paul supporters with no proof or skepticism.
3. The video was often referred to as a “POLITICAL AD” or “WEB AD” (conjuring images of an actual organization with a website, funding, supporters, etc)
4. “NHLiberty4Paul”, the name of the YouTube account, was baselessly portrayed as the name of an organization or “group”. In actuality, the “China Jon” video and “NHLiberty4Paul” account itself give no indication of being the efforts of more than one person, and there was no trace of any organization by this name existing anyway. The “NHLiberty4Paul” name was even modified by some in the media to make it seem more like a “legit” organization.
CNN’s John King completely failed to mention that it was a YouTube video, let alone one uploaded by a brand new, totally anonymous user. CNN instead labeled it a “POLITICAL AD” that was “PRO-PAUL”. King baselessly and repeatedly referred to the supposed Paul “supporter” who uploaded it as a male, deceptively creating the impression that the uploader’s identity was known.
The Huffington Post falsely attributed the video to “a group claiming to be ‘New Hampshire Liberty 4 Paul’.
Megyn Kelly of Fox News played clips from the video, which they labeled both a “WEB AD” and a “POLITICAL AD”. Kelly falsely reported that “the posting claims that it is prouced by a group of Ron Paul supporters that go by the name of NHLiberty4Paul”.
MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow played clips from the video and said that it “appears to have been produced by Ron Paul supporters in New Hampshire”, and then went on to falsely attribute it to “a group called NH, New Hampshire, Liberty for Paul.” She failed to mention that it was a YouTube video at all, instead calling it an “ad”.
The New York Post called it an “online ad”, and reported that Huntsman “said yesterday that Ron Paul’s supporters were out of line in using the girls to argue that [he] is un-American.”
The San Fransisco Chronicle called it a “Paul ad” in their headline. In the body of the article, they call it an “online ad”. The word YouTube is nowhere to be found.
MSNBC’s Alex Witt played clips from the video on January 7th with a title labeling it a “political ad”. In her preface, she referred to it as an “online ad” that is “being run by a group supporting” Ron Paul. “They are called The NHLiberty4Paul,” she said. After airing the clips, she repeatedly continued to refer to it as an “ad”. Not once did she mention that it was a YouTube video, let alone one anonymously uploaded to a brand new account.
So, that is just a brief overview of the vast smear against Paul that this video created. On the flip side of this, as The End Run noted when the “news” of “China Jon” was first “breaking”:
“…this story has generated more positive press for Huntsman than money could buy. Endearing images of him with his adopted daughters are all over the media, along with quotes of him explaining how he heroically saved them from a bleak fate. This is a priceless Jon Huntsman campaign ad, running in every newspaper and on every TV screen nationwide, for free. “Cui Bono?”
THE HUNTSMAN CAMPAIGN FUELED THE HEADLINES.
If this whole ordeal wasn’t about political point scoring and sabotage, The Huntsman campaign could have and would have acknowledged the obvious: that this video was in no way even remotely representative of the belief’s of the average Ron Paul supporter (or possibly ANY Ron Paul supporter), let alone the candidate himself. Instead, they did the opposite. They immediately worked to convey strong personal outrage, distress, and pain; to deliberately blame and demonize Ron Paul and his supporters; to fuel and stoke the flames of public disgust toward these targets; and to use it as an opportunity to tout Huntsman’s Ambassadorship, mutilingual skills, and adopted daughters.
We’ve already gone over the fact that Huntsman’s daughters pretty much immediately sent a Tweet directed at Ron Paul personally (and to their 20,000+ followers) telling him that “China Jon” was “spiteful, hurtful, and un-American”, and sharing a link that accuses “Paultards” of “Hat[ing] Huntsman for Knowing Chinese, Adopting Foreigners”. We’ve also already discussed how the Huntsman campaign then quickly used their “embedded” hometown journalist to publicly call the ad “offensive” and specifically demand that “the Paul campaign and their supporters” “condemn it”.
The headlines were really centered around two other outbursts, however. One was an appearance by “Jon2012Girl” Abby on Fox News with Megyn Kelly. Abby called the video evidence of a “vile” political discourse in this country, and looking like she was on the verge of tears, she expressed fear and distress over the thought that her younger sister would “ever get a hold of” it. She was sure to once again work to conflate the video with — and use it to demonize — Ron Paul supporters in general, and the official campaign. “[My adopted sisters] are the ones I think about in a video like this,” she said. “So, unfortunately the Ron Paul supporters don’t realize that these actions really affect the Ron Paul campaign”. She spent the rest of the time telling the family’s well-practiced adoption story (“vegetable market”, etc) and promoting Huntsman as a good family man.
That appearance certainly garnered a lot of press coverage; however, it was later in the afternoon, and only served to add fuel to an already-burning fire. What really fueled the initial and biggest wave of headlines was Jon Huntsman’s commentary on the video earlier that morning in Concord New Hampshire. You know, the one where he referred to “China Jon” as “the Ron Paul video” and called it “stupid.”
That wasn’t all he said, by the way. In an angry, indignant, stern tone (characterized as “outrage” by Reuters), Huntsman took the opportunity to tell the story about his adopted daughters (“vegetable market”, “no future”, “nothing to look forward to”, etc.). This story was then transmitted worldwide and learned for the first time by countless voters.
Here are some of the headlines from January 6. As you can see, they were largely fueled by and based upon the fact that Huntsman spoke about the video, and what he said.
Huntsman outraged at ad targeting adopted daughters Reuters
Jon Huntsman denounces ad showcasing his adopted daughters Guardian
Huntsman Slams Web Ad Featuring Adopted Daughters Fox News
Huntsman objects to ad featuring his adopted kids MSNBC
Jon Huntsman rips Ron Paul for attack on his daughters The State Column
Paul Supporters Call Huntsman ‘Manchurian Candidate’ In Ad Featuring Daughters CBS
Huntsman Objects to Paul Ad Featuring Adopted Kids Newsmax
With that in mind, let’s look a little closer at that Concord event, and the circumstances that led to Huntsman’s statements.
JON’S “LUCKY” PICK
To review, the “China Jon” video hit the “blogosphere” around the middle of the day on January 5th, right after “NHLiberty4Paul” tweeted it to key individuals. Huntsman’s event in Concord began at 9am the following morning.
After the speech, there was a Q&A session. As it drew to a close, Huntsman concluded an answer, and said, “We’ll take one more and then we’ll let you go”. In the C-SPAN video, at least ten hands can be seen quickly shooting up (and only about half the audience is in the shot). Without missing a beat, Huntsman immediately says, “yes ma’am”, and calls on an unidentified, dark-haired female. She quickly stands up and asks, “Do you think that corporations are people?”
Huntsman replies, “You know, I think that’s so self-evident, I don’t even think that needs to be answered. Come on. Of course corporations are not people. Come on.” As the crowd began clapping and cheering, he continued, “Who would say such an outlandish thing? I can’t imagine anyone running for president would say anything like that.”
The context — surely unbeknownst to most people watching at home, and even many of the reporters present — was this: The previous evening, he had been asked a similar question in Newport by a man named Glenn Kaplan, and his answer was, according to Kaplan, “a total cop-out”. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones later reported that the question seemed to make Huntsman “uneasy”, and summarized his response as, “more or less: Mumble mumble…fix our broken tax policy…mumble mumble…revolving door…level the playing field…mumble mumble…thank you.”
“He didn’t come with a cruise ship’s distance of answering Kaplan’s question,” Kroll wrote. He went on to explain in detail how the “fight against corporate personhood and Citizens United is shaping up to be the biggest fight in campaign finance”, concluding, that ” Jon Huntsman, it seems, can’t figure out whose side he’s on—Bank of America’s or yours.”
So, the question from this unidentified dark-haired woman was a total softball, and smacks of having been a planted set up question, designed to give the candidate a prompt “do over” before news of his botched answer from the previous day got legs. If it wasn’t, Huntsman sure had made a lucky pick. (By his own admission, Huntsman had only been asked about this issue once in all of 2011, so it was not a remotely common question.)
But his “luck” had just begun. Even though he had already said this would be the last question, and despite the fact that many other people had just expressed an eagerness to ask questions, he allowed the woman to follow up with yet another, which was:
“Governor Huntsman, some supporters of Ron Paul have put a video out showing you speaking Chinese and portraying you as Chairman Mao. I wonder if you have seen this video? And what does it say about this country that learning to speak a foreign language fluently becomes a tool, an instrument, to be used against you? And secondly, is it still possible to be a centrist politician in the U.S.? Why is it– do you have the impression that all of the other candidates are just clawing their way further right, and that you are the centrist? And why is the centrist unloved? Why is the Centrist the underdog?”
The rest, as they say, is history. If he had not chosen this woman, he would (almost certainly) not have been asked about the “China Jon” video (let alone in such an amazingly softball way). He therefore would have never gotten to “slam” the video in front of all of those TV cameras and reporters, nor “indignantly” provide soundbites about his ability to speak Chinese, his experience overseas, and especially how he saved two little girls from lives with “no hope” and “nothing to look forward to”. The avalanche of negative press for Paul and positive press for Huntsman that ensued around this issue could not have taken place the way it did. Without this moment, the media coverage on this issue could never have been so sudden, well-coordinated, pervasive, and forceful.
“When I saw Jon Huntsman speak on Friday when I was up in New Hampshire, he ended his discussion with a long personal discussion of how much that ad bothered him and how much he loved his daughters and how he and his wife came to adopted him,” MSNBC host Rachael Maddow would later say. “It was very, very affecting. It was the most emotional and connecting thing that he did in that whole campaign appearence.”
Who was this woman that Huntsman called on? She does not appear to be identified by name or affiliation in any reports about this event. Regardless, what a “lucky” choice Huntsman made, huh? (The “underdog” line she concluded her question with was also a new Huntsman talking point. Headline from a day earlier: “Huntsman: ‘New Hampshire loves its underdogs‘”. See also “Huntsman pushes underdog image” from a few days later.)
By the way, Huntsman began his answer by saying he had only seen “parts of” the video. Really? His daughters and his official campaign via spokesman Tim Miller had already publicly label the video “offensive” and explicitly called on Ron Paul and his supporters to “condemn” it, but Jon Huntsman hadn’t even watched it in full? It’s 72 seconds long! Furthermore, it was not yet being broadcast in abridged form on TV; that would happen as a RESULT of this moment. So, he can hardly use that as an explanation. The blogs that had reported on the video the previous day all simply embedded or linked to the full video.
FAST-FORWARD: HUNTSMAN “SURGES”
The rest of the story can also probably be fast-forwarded. Over the next few days, Ron Paul continued to be slimed, while Huntsman was showered with positive press that injected some of his top “selling points” into the minds of voters all over New Hampshire without him having to do it himself, which would have been highly off-putting, and unseemly in the case of the adoption thing. Within a matter of days he was reaching levels in the polls that he had never been at before, and he finished with over 14% — nearly double where he was at a week earlier. While it’s impossible to gauge the exact degree, the “China Jon” fraud was undoubtedly a significant factor.
With regard to the lawsuit that has now been filed by the Paul campaign over this video, some people seem to be trying to argue that the person(s) behind the “China Jon” video were not trying to portray the video as being connected to the Paul campaign. Not so. Besides everything that’s already been mentioned, here is what the Huffington Post wrote on January 6th, just as the story was beginning to explode in the press, and within hours of Huntsman’s “magic moment” in Concord:
When The Huffington Post contacted the poster of the video through YouTube to ask why they created the video and whether they had any formal association with the Paul campaign, NHLiberty4Paul replied: “Sorry, campaign has asked me not to speak to reporters.”
Got that? This was a malicious attempt to frame the Paul campaign, and constitutes fraudulent and almost certainly criminal electioneering of the worst kind.
“Whoever did it is absolutely disgusting,” Jon Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye told The Daily Beast on January 7th (right before “using the ‘attack’ as an opportunity to tell their family’s story, including the adoption of those daughters,” to quote Rachael Maddow). Indeed, Mary Kaye; the perpetrators of this act are absolutely disgusting. They must be fully exposed and brought to justice. Otherwise, these disgusting, sociopathic deceivers could end up holding political office or high positions in the media. This would be an absolute disgrace, and must not happen.
The source of this report is TheEndRun.com. For further information, please read “Twitter Trail Confirms ‘China Jon’ Video as ‘False Flag’, Points to Huntsman Campaign“, which was published simultaneously with the article that you have just read. If you appreciate the hard work that went into producing reports of this scope on such a short time table, please consider making a donation to The End Run today.
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