An interesting turn of events took place about a month ago. The number of media mentions that JBS was receiving started increasing, until there was a crescendo just prior to last week. In fact, the mentions more than doubled. We’d like to tell you that we had discovered a magical PR technique that caused this great influx of mentions, but that is not the case.
The reason for this is that JBS was used as a guilt-by-association tool to help smear Congressman Ron Paul. Once it became obvious that Congressman Paul was entering into top-tier status for the Republican Party nomination for U.S. President, the media went into overdrive working itself into a frothed frenzy and used a couple of tired and overused smear tactics to attempt to drive potential voters away from him.
Congressman Paul has publicly acknowledged that he is not a JBS member, but has endorsed the Society on occasion. He has spoken at a number of member meetings, including our 50th Anniversary in 2008 in Appleton, WI (video below). He continues to earn the highest scores on our Freedom Index, which rates Congressmen on their adherence to the Constitution based on their votes on key legislation. While JBS does not endorse political parties or candidates (members are free to be as involved as they want to be, but not in an official JBS capacity), we certainly consider Congressman Paul to be an ally in the fight for liberty.
Another of the smear tactics is the sandwich smear which is accomplished by mentioning something unsavory and then inserting a reference to the person or organization that you are smearing, so that the reader comes away with a negative connotation about that person or organization. One example was seen in the New York Times. Posted January 7, 2012, Timothy Noah (editor of The New Republic) was reviewing “The Strange Death of the Republican Moderate” and threw in this doozy:
The Goldwater forces rolled over the moderates that year, with a fervor that their Tea Party legatees would find difficult to match. At the Republicans’ California state convention, moderates barely managed to block a platform resolution to “send Negroes back to Africa.” However extreme the conspiracy-minded Glenn Beck may seem, he was outdone by Robert Welch, the conspiracy-minded founder of the John Birch Society.
Another Times article describes JBS as extremist.
Heather Mallick from the Toronto Star called us violent and hyper-racist.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Tony Norman referred to JBS as dead-enders and lumped us in with a bunch of degenerates, another sandwich smear.
And this is just a smattering of what we’ve seen come through our news monitoring service. Many of the mentions merely label JBS, but these are labels that have been unfairly attached to the Society from decades ago. JBS President John McManus describes this in detail in “The John Birch Society: Reality vs. Myth,” a booklet published in early 2011. Having the advantage of being around when the first and rather potent smear began in the early 1960s and watching it die out in the 1970s, John discusses these smears, how they originated, and what the Society really believes, contrary to what is depicted in the media.
We have also just reposted John's "Unwarranted Attack on The John Birch Society," which provides the real story on how the JBS was originally smeared by the communist and main stream press in 1961.
We denounce violence, racism, anti-Semitism, collectivism, fascism, communism, socialism and any other “-ism” that goes against the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Our membership application reads that membership can be revoked at any time without reason. Any member displaying any of these “–isms” will see their membership revoked indefinitely.
Many of the smears have been recycled through the years and continue to be seen. However, thanks to the Internet, anyone can go to JBS.org and see what JBS is all about. Of course, the ultimate test is to join and find out firsthand.
Because of the increased media mentions, JBS has seen more visitors at all of its websites, more people signing up to its social networks, more subscribers to its lists, and many new members — probably not the outcome that the media was hoping for.
Those who believe in the philosophy of the Declaration of Independence and the framework of the U.S. Constitution as the best way to preserve freedom for all will certainly find JBS a kindred spirit. We believe in the individual and what each can do to better themselves, their family, their church and their community. We believe it can be done through less government, more responsibility and — with God’s help — a better world.