The Power & Problem of the Internet

Earlier today, I got a disturbing e-mail from someone in Alabama...

I was shocked and saddened to see a vile, racist monkey doll in Senator Obama's image. Portraying black people as apes and monkeys ties into a long, ugly heritage of using dehumanizing images to justify and prop up racism. I am a white person who has lived in Alabama and Mississippi; I have heard a lot of very ugly racist remarks once there were no people of color in the room. However, this is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. Barack Obama is a Senator of the United States; his position demands more respect than this; as a human being, he deserves more respect.

THESOCKOBAMA CO., LLC is registered to David J. Lawson and Elizabeth Lawson, in West Jordan, UT.
>From Open Secrets:

The "dolls" are made by BINKLEY-TOYS.COM.

Amy Dowdle
Tuscaloosa, AL

Definitely a problem when you start making monkey dolls of African-Americans, bigger problem when you do it to a presidential candidate.

The problem is, the David J. Lawson that runs the Obama doll company IS NOT THE SAME as the David J. Lawson that is a realtor in Park City. Apparently Ms. Dowdle didn't realize that West Jordan and Park City are about 45 miles apart (physically, they're worlds apart politically).

I called Park City's David Lawson and asked him what was going on, and he was as confused as anyone - saying that he had gotten a number of e-mails calling him all sorts of horrible things and accusing him of being a racist.

The Obama Sock Monkey story had made it out onto the blogosphere, and even more people were making the wrong conclusions about Utah's 2 David. J. Lawson's and were dragging an innocent man into their hate.

Websites like Plunderbund and Daily Kos (two major political blogs) happily posted the story, and commenters included Park City David's e-mail address and phone number before someone finally realized what was going on, and posted a correction.

Park City David, sent this reply:

I am writing to inform you that I am not in any way affiliated with THESOCKOBAMA CO., LLC. According to the Utah Department of Commerce website, the members of THESOCKOBAMA CO., LLC are David J. Lawson and Elizabeth A. Lawson, both having an address of 8821 S. Deep Creek Drive in West Jordan, Utah. While my name is also David J. Lawson, I am absolutely not the David J. Lawson that is a member of THESOCKOBAMA CO., LLC and I have no connection to the address belonging to him.

I am a real estate agent working and residing in Park City, Utah with my wife, Denise. My business website is Unfortunately, my name, identity and business website have been linked to THESOCKOBAMA CO., LLC. However, again, I assure you that I am in no way affiliated with THESOCKOBAMA CO., LLC. Simply put, I unfortunately have the same name as one of the company’s members, and I am therefore being wrongfully linked to that company. Thank you for allowing me to address the confusion.

So for everyone out there who is so quick to find evil from Republican operatives, just know that in your zeal to "shine a light" on their nefarious deeds, without having any journalistic standards, you have made a connection that will live on in Google search for years.

I hope you're proud of yourselves.