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Smear Redefined

Up until about three weeks ago, the definition of the word smear was a simple affair. As Webster’s states, there’s the noun, meaning An attempt to destroy someone’s reputation and the verb meaning To contaminate the reputation of. But ever since John McCain acknowledged the fact that Hamas’s political advisor Ahmed Yousuf endorsed Barack Obama, the word smear has morphed. The candidate of change has worked his audacious magic. Thus, the new meaning of smear: to question or criticize Barack Obama. Senator Obama proclaimed of McCain’s words, “This is a smear.” And, lo, it was so.

You can see how the word spread. When Edward Luttwak penned an op-ed in the New York Times posing legitimate questions about Obama’s being considered an apostate by Islamists, Ali Eteraz wrote:

Now there is a new Islam smear. This one says that Obama was a Muslim — and as a result, he is going to arouse the wrath of Muslims around the world who are going to want to kill him for apostasy (converting away from Islam, punishable by death).

When Mark Levin wrote the following at NRO’s Corner blog–

Obama made a point of not wearing the flag pin, knowing that a point would be made of it, just as he makes a point of not placing his hand over his heart during the playing of the National Anthem. I find this perplexing, although I won’t obsess over it. This is not the typical behavior of a presidential candidate.

–Andrew Sullivan responded:

These are lies, smears, untruths . . . NRO need[s] to issue corrections. And the Obama team needs to be more aggressive in countering these deliberate lies.

Perhaps Sullivan is building a case to change the meaning of lies and untruths, as well. If every criticism or challenge to Barack Obama is a smear, how does one oppose him? If facts become lies, how can he be made accountable for his actions? Or is Barack Obama in effect redefining opposition and accountability?


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