I’ve been tracing the internet-fueled smears and rumors about Barack Obama since I wrote about the phenomenon last year. Yesterday the campaign announced a new smear-debunking site, FightTheSmears.com . It’s an unprecedented move, but also smart and necessary. Wired’s Thomas Goetz emailed Ben Smith this very smart observation about the the publicity push the Obama campaign has put behind the site:

By putting their own website out there front-and-center, and then getting everybody to link to it (starting with all the media covering the launch of the site), the result will be to drive fightthesmears.com towards the top of a Google search on, say, “obama muslim” or “michelle obama whitey”. Ideally, if enough of the pro-Obama network links to fightthesmears.com, it’ll drive the sites that peddle in the rumor-mongering, which are now the first results on said searches, off the top of the results list. Ideal long term result: any curious low-information voter who eventually bothers to google these pesky rumors will immediately be led to the debunking rather than the rumor.

My take: Did the Obama campaign create fightthesmears.com to game Google? If so, they’re even more net-savvy than folks give them credit for.

No one ever accused them of being dummies.