Patterico's Pontifications


Ethan Winner Speaks Out, Answering The Tough Questions, If By “The Tough Questions” You Mean “Pretty Much Nothing Anyone Is Interested In”

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Scum — Patterico @ 12:18 am

As I reported last night, Rusty at the Jawa Report has accused Ethan Winner of being the guy who uploaded that anti-Palin smear video. I said this morning: “The connection to the Winners and their PR firm is solid. The evidence tying in Axelrod and Obama is circumstantial but suggestive.”

Well, we now have an admission of the former and a denial of the latter.

September 22, 2008

1:30 pm PDT

Statement of Ethan Winner

The following is in response to questions I have received regarding the post on the Jawa Report website.

I produced and posted on the Internet the video entitled “Sarah Palin: A Heartbeat Away.”

The idea for the video was mine. No one paid me to produce it. The only out-of-pocket cost will be the fee for the voice-over narrator, which I will pay personally when I receive an invoice. Contrary to the allegation in the Jawa Report, the voice-over artist has never done any work for the Obama campaign. I retained her through a talent agency based solely on the quality of her voice.

Neither the Obama campaign nor any independent political action committee has had a connection with the making and/or posting of this video. Just like the thousands of Americans who have posted videos on the Internet regarding the current Presidential campaign, I produced this video as an expression of my right to free speech, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

I believe the American people have a right and a need to know information about candidates for political office and their views. I made this video because I think it is important for the public to be aware of the association between Sarah and Todd Palin and the Alaskan Independence Party. The New York Times has reported that the Alaskan Independence Party website describes the party as seeking, in the words of the party, “a range of solutions to the conflicts between federal and local authority,” including “advocacy for state’s rights, through a return to territorial status, all the way to complete independence and nationhood status for Alaska.”

While a number of media outlets have said that reports that Sarah Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party may have been erroneous, her attendance at the party’s 1994 convention, her video speech to the 2008 convention and her husband’s membership in the Alaskan Independence Party have not been called into question.

Some people have asked why I have pulled the video from the Internet. The reason is simple. Following the posting of personal information about me by the Jawa Report, my family began to receive threatening and abusive phone calls and emails.

In jury trials, juries often assess the credibility of one assertion by testing the credibility of other assertions by the same witness. For example, if Ethan Winner tells you that “the voice-over artist has never done any work for the Obama campaign,” you are entitled to listen to a comparison of his voice-over artist to that used by the Obama campaign to see if his assertion rings true.

Winner says the two voices in that clip belong to different people. Make your own determination on that point. He doesn’t name the artist, and claims that “the voice-over artist has never done any work for the Obama campaign.” How does he know?

He doesn’t answer Ace’s question of why the videos and profiles came down so quickly, when the only thing teased in advance was that there would be a post tying phony grassroots activity to David Axelrod. Are we to presume that there was no such tie, yet Winner and family were simply monitoring Ace of Spades and Jawa Report and Patterico, so that they were ready to pull everything down within an hour of our posts going up??

He says that the idea for the video was his — but he pointedly doesn’t deny that one of the people working for his PR firm was involved in promoting it. And he doesn’t explain why that person refused to answer a simple question from the Weekly Standard regarding whether he had posted the video to Democratic Underground. If there was nothing nefarious going on, why did Jared Liu-Klein tell the Weekly Standard that he’d have to get back to them on that very simple question??

And he sidesteps the issue of the video’s blatantly false claims. Remember what Rusty told us in his original post:

The New York Times was forced to retract their earlier claim that Palin was a member of the party, blaming the error on the party’s chair. That retraction was published Sept. 3rd, 8 days before the video was first made publicly available.

And he doesn’t explain why Daily Kos suddenly killed their post promoting the smear — just like they killed their post promoting the “Trig Trutherism” smear.

Something tells me that Ethan Winner has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.

As Treacher says: “Winners Fake All.”

P.S. I will say this: all arguments that this video was an “in kind” contribution to Obama are bordering on fascism. This guy has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants — and I think he retains that right even if he is doing Barack Obama’s explicit bidding. To reach any other conclusion is to deny the First Amendment.

But we have the right to question what is going on here. And we might as well exercise that right, because the brave souls in our so-called free press couldn’t care less about keeping Obama and his crew honest.

UPDATE: What do you know? We have a direct connection between Axelrod and the Winners. Thanks to daleyrocks.


  1. Commenter over at Riehl asks an excellent question:

    Really? He recieved threatening calls at home at that hour, that quick? I doubt it. I wonder if he reported those threatening calls to the police.

    They may have to remove that “crisis management” bubble from their own advertisements.

    Comment by Apogee (366e8b) — 9/23/2008 @ 12:44 am

  2. I thought the same thing.

    Boo-hoo, damn Rethuglicans.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 9/23/2008 @ 12:53 am

  3. Sometimes these things relate to each other. It should be quite easy for the Jawa report to see who logged onto their page between the first upload of the post and the time the video was removed.

    Cross indexing the ip addresses of those hits at Jawa with the origination area codes of the offending calls on Winners’ incoming phone logs, we should be able to find these dastardly phone terrorists, and pay them a visit. After all, it’s a very short period of time.

    Winner would be happy to cooperate.


    Comment by Apogee (366e8b) — 9/23/2008 @ 12:54 am

  4. It would be interesting for someone to challenge Winner to produce his phone records so we can see how many incoming calls he received within one hour after the Jawa Report’s post. Think he would be brave enough to back up his claim of almost instantaneous harassment?

    Comment by JVW (6c4300) — 9/23/2008 @ 12:56 am

  5. Apogee beat me to it.

    Comment by JVW (6c4300) — 9/23/2008 @ 12:57 am

  6. Ethan played the obligatory liberal victim card by claiming to be threaten for exercising his free speech.
    What a hero, standing up to the Republican thugs and Bush’s gulag.

    Comment by Perfect Sense (9d1b08) — 9/23/2008 @ 12:58 am

  7. Wow – re-reading helps. Seems he also received threatening emails.

    Full Header information, please?

    Comment by Apogee (366e8b) — 9/23/2008 @ 1:22 am

  8. Well, I guess I’m a borderline fascist.

    Oh wait, no I’m not.

    It’s completely possible that I’m totally wrong on the law. I don’t see how, but it’s possible. I don’t personally think there should be any restrictions on what you can say, and agree that a lot of FEC rules are contrary to the 1st amendment, particularly rules that John Mccain brought about, but many others.

    That doesn’t change the fact that the first amendment simply doesn’t apply to a lot of speech in our legal system. Sad but true. If this ad cost money to make and was an explicit attempt to keep a specific candidate from being elected, that’s electioneering and is an in-kind contribution. While this is stupid, these are the rules that both sides have to play by. All Winner has to do is report the contribution. As he says he will do, of course, since he realizes I am totally right about this and Patterico, with all due respect, is not correct.

    Now, my theory is that Axelrod coordinated this advertisement with Obama ’08 cash, and therefore it’s not an in-kind contribution so much as it’s a disgraceful comment.

    I don’t ask that this speech be squelched, and I wouldn’t mind eliminating the rules governing what can and cannot be said (though slander is always right out). I’m sorry if my understanding of the law offends. I think it’s the law that should offend, if anything. Regardless, the laws can be fought in various ways, but outright breaking them should have consequences.

    Comment by Juan (4cdfb7) — 9/23/2008 @ 1:33 am

  9. P.S. I will say this: all arguments that this video was an “in kind” contribution to Obama are bordering on fascism. This guy has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants — and I think he retains that right even if he is doing Barack Obama’s explicit bidding. To reach any other conclusion is to deny the First Amendment.

    I agree with the conclusion but not the premise. I think a video like this is indeed an in-kind contribution to the Obama campaign. It’s the idea that we should restrict in-kind (or other) contributions to political campaigns that denies the First Amendment IMO.

    Comment by Xrlq (62cad4) — 9/23/2008 @ 4:08 am

  10. Question to David Axelrod: “What is your relationship with Ethan Winner?”
    Axelrod answer: “He’s just a guy who lives in my neighborhood. His kids and mine went to the same school.”

    Comment by George (d57b1d) — 9/23/2008 @ 6:24 am

  11. Please spare us the talk of fascism!

    Rules is rules, and according to the rules the production of this video and the manner by which it was spread clearly makes it a campaign advertisement that is subject to disclosure as a campaign expense. At a very minimum, Ethan Winner should have included in the video a disclaimer saying that he paid for it.

    FEC rules are very clear on in-kind contributions and these are among the most common violations.

    I believe that Ace has this one pegged correctly. The video was produced by the Obama campaign, simultaneously with its spoon feeding the New York Times the story about Sarah Palin’s supposed membership in the AIP. It was going to be a TV ad. When the Times was forced to retract the story, Axelrod slipped the video to the Winners for astroturfing.

    Comment by rockmom (e42807) — 9/23/2008 @ 6:41 am

  12. P.S. I will say this: all arguments that this video was an “in kind” contribution to Obama are bordering on fascism. This guy has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants — and I think he retains that right even if he is doing Barack Obama’s explicit bidding. To reach any other conclusion is to deny the First Amendment.

    Well the Supreme Court disagrees, they upheld the constitutionality of campaign finance laws. Like it or not it’s the law of the land…

    Comment by Baron Von Ottomatic (269c7d) — 9/23/2008 @ 6:43 am

  13. the fee for the voice-over narrator, which I will pay personally

    Not ‘have paid’ but ‘will pay’ ? And if it’s an out of pocket expense on his part, that still does not say anything about not getting to get reimbursed from his employer.

    Comment by James (b116d6) — 9/23/2008 @ 3:48 pm

  14. James – As a shareholder of Publicis Groupe, the parent company of Ethan’s agency, I want to make damn sure he’s not using corporate resources for free for political or personal purposes. ‘Cause that would just be wrong and probably grounds for termination.

    Comment by daleyrocks (d9ec17) — 9/23/2008 @ 3:57 pm

  15. Daleyrocks – I’d figure that the employee would get reimbursed by the employer. How the employer covers the payment from their books would be the interesting information in this scenario.

    Comment by James (960118) — 9/23/2008 @ 5:35 pm

  16. Pat I think you might have a new update:

    John McCain has worked for and with the Winner & Assoc. Public Relations firm through their subsidiary: Winner & Mandabach.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 9/24/2008 @ 3:17 am

  17. Peter, that doesn’t refute anything, and in fact I’m pretty sure your link makes some errors in the link between Axelrod and Winner’s company.

    That John Mccain’s organization used this PR firm over a decade ago doesn’t really matter. A lot of major companies also used them. What’s interesting is that Axelrod has a close tie to the astroturfers we’re aware of (more than just Ethan Winner). It’s that link that matters insofar as linking Axelrod to a particularly disgusting video that Ethan Winner has admitted to creating.

    It doesn’t matter that Mccain has a link as well. It’s completely beside the point. And probably a lie, given the source.

    Comment by Juan (4cdfb7) — 9/24/2008 @ 3:24 am

  18. What a complete asshole Ethan “I wish I had a life” Winner is. Ethan, you have far too much time on your hands. You should try and get a real job, doing real work that benefits society. You video is a waste of your time to make it and our time in watching it. Mr. Rogers neighborhood is more entertaining and creative than the trash lies you created. Shoot yourself please.

    Comment by Paul Arnot (e7e046) — 9/24/2008 @ 5:55 pm

  19. O’Reilly covered this tonight with TownHall’s Amanda Carpenter. She referred directly to Jawa’s report and connecting the dots. Unfortunately O’Reilly was in full boorish form and wrote it off saying that just because Axelrod was doing business with Winner 10 years ago, he was also doing business with lots of other people 10 years ago, so it doesn’t mean anything. Carpenter attempted to explain the history of smear campaigns by Obama’s camp and that this may be more of it… blah, blah. O’Reilly’s conclusion was Winner just shouldn’t have done it. I sort’ve felt like Carpenter gave up at that point.

    Comment by Dana (4d3ea0) — 9/24/2008 @ 5:59 pm

  20. Speaking of the loser Ethan Winner – Has he come forward with the phone information regarding an easy trace of threats made against his family?


    That’s very suspicious behavior.

    Comment by Apogee (366e8b) — 9/24/2008 @ 6:00 pm

  21. #17 Juan

    It doesn’t matter that Mccain has a link as well. It’s completely beside the point. And probably a lie, given the source.

    I think you need to read that link much more closely because it does matter. McCain worked for Winner & Mandabach in 2002. And there’s the possibility he had a conflict of interest working with Winner & Mandabach to pass an indian gaming initiative.

    Here is the primary source: An article from Campaign & Elections magazine from 2003.

    Axelrod in comparison worked in tandem with winner in a separate capacity that had nothing to do with Winner back in 1996.

    The question is, why would a company who McCain worked closely with in 2002, put out viral video from funds that allegedly come from David Axelrod??

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 9/24/2008 @ 6:04 pm


    Watch and compare the voices in an official Obama ad, the hit piece, and a certain voice over actress in Chicago. If it is the same voice, why would Winner, who is in L.A., go to Chicago for voice talent? Why? Because Axelrod is there. There are more dots to connect here.

    If all three voices are the same, Winner has lied, fallen on his sword, and Axelrod is in it up to his eyeballs.

    Comment by dfu (29167e) — 9/24/2008 @ 6:52 pm

  23. Sound and video files can be sent back and forth digitally over this thing called the internet. Works great.

    You might’ve heard of it?

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 9/24/2008 @ 9:13 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3974 secs.