New conspiracy theory: Conservative media baselessly suggest email recipients may be on WH "enemies list"

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Conservative media have baselessly suggested that people who reportedly claim to have received unsolicited email from White House adviser David Axelrod may have been added to a White House "enemies list" after emails they sent that were critical of the Obama administration were purportedly forwarded to flag@whitehouse.gov. These media figures have failed to provide any credible evidence in support of this conspiracy theory.

Conservative media baselessly suggest unsolicited emails linked to White House "snitch website"

Limbaugh: "If you're getting an email from Axelrod and the White House, I guarantee you it's a result of the snitch website." From the August 14 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: The White House is gathering an enemies list. People are getting emails from Joe [sic] Axelrod, and they don't know how they got their address. It's the snitch website. You people understand what's happen -- people are sending in stories and emails. If you're getting an email from Axelrod and the White House, I guarantee you it's a result of the snitch website. The White House is clearly out of whack.

Fox's Kelly asks if White House is using alleged "database" of dissenters "to market its own personal message."

MEGYN KELLY (co-host): Well, is the White House collecting the emails of those who disagree with its health care policy? First, the White House asked Americans to forward to it the emails of those who raised fishy claims about health care, which some say pits Americans against their fellow Americans. Two days ago, I asked the deputy White House spokesman what the White House does with the emails of those people who are complaining, the so-called fishy. Here's part of that exchange.

[...]

KELLY: On the heels of that, Major Garrett asked press secretary Robert Gibbs about reports that some who say they never provided their email to the White House now say the White House is nevertheless contacting them.

[...]

KELLY: The point is, does the White House have some database of emails of people who have complained about the health care reform efforts? And is it then using that database to market its own personal message or for some other reason? Or is it just keeping it in storage, where it will ultimately become public record and somebody else might compile it for a nefarious reason? [Fox News' America's Newsroom, 8/14/09]

Fox & Friends baselessly suggests link between flag@whitehouse.gov and unsolicited emails.

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): I remember Richard Nixon had that enemies list. Everyone talks about that, because he's caught on tape saying, you know, "Let's get our enemies. Let's round them up, and let's target them." And that's a problem. And is that something that's happening right now?

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Well, it is just a -- it's just a little scary because last week or 10 days ago we heard about that snitch list -- if you see something fishy about health care send it to flag@whitehouse.gov. And then you've got all these people who are getting spammed, and now for the White House to blame third parties and a glitch, I don't know if that's enough, because if you send an email to somebody else and suddenly that group puts you on the list at the White House, and then the White House spams you, something's really the matter with that. [Fox & Friends, 8/17/09]

American Spectator baselessly connects flag@whitehouse.gov and unsolicited emails. From The American Spectator's Washington Prowler blog:

It was also revealed the White House had put in place a plan to collect email addresses of citizens who opposed the administration's health reform proposal, and then last week we learned that the Obama administration had negotiated deals with companies like Google and YouTube to collect and provide citizens' personal data, such as Internet addresses, when they visit government websites. Within days of this new policy being revealed, U.S. citizens who had not signed up for any information about the Obama health care bill received e-mails from the White House and Obama adviser David Axelrod touting ObamaCare. [The American Spectator, 8/17/09]

Bill Sammon: White House request for "fishy" emails is "the other part of this scandal." Bill Sammon, Fox News' vice president for news and Washington managing editor, said:

SAMMON: In other words, "It's not our fault," is what the White House is saying. Although they did say that they hoped no one was too inconvenienced by receiving these unsolicited emails. Basically, what the White House is saying is that third-party groups must have gone on to the White House website and entered in the names of unsuspecting Americans, one by one, so that those unsuspecting Americans suddenly got onto the White House email list. That's the explanation they're giving. Whether that will satisfy, you know, the hundreds, if not thousands of people who have complained about this, I'm not sure. Also, it doesn't seem to address the other part of this scandal, Bill -- if you can call it a scandal -- and that is this idea where the White House has asked for Americans to forward fishy emails that are critical of the president's health-care proposal. That could be some kind of an enemies list. So that's still out there. [Fox News' American Newsroom, 8/17/09]

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