Huntsman’s scrubbers

As we now know, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the presidential race (despite the ringing endorsement of the barely-breathing State newspaper). Maybe he’s leaving because the Romney campaign made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Perhaps it was because he failed to get the endorsement of South Carolina state Sen. Tom Davis, whose word seems to carry a lot of weight in tea party circles (Davis plumped for Rep. Ron Paul). Not that the Davis endorsement means tea partiers will necessarily flock to the Paul banner. Matt Bai’s look at the fractured tea party in South Carolina shows they have cast their lots (and acrimony) across the GOP field.

Whatever Huntsman’s reasons, his campaign has been extremely active in scrubbing his website of as many derogatory references to Mitt Romney as possible. As Mike Shear writes:

The rapid move to sanitize Mr. Huntsman’s Web sites may just be the modern equivalent of candidates who quickly take down their signs and posters once they drop out of a race. An endorsement of Mr. Romney would no doubt seem oddly out of sync with an active Web site hosting attack videos about him.

A spokesman for the campaign, who asked not to be identified, said only that “we’ve removed a substantial amount of content from the Web, as campaigns often do when they end.”

But what was notable about Mr. Huntsman’s actions was the speed with which his operation moved.

Then give them points for efficiency. But Shear also makes a point that bloggers have known for some time, but it seems the NYT is only learning today:

It was also notable for the impact it very quickly had on news Web sites and blogs. Because many sites — including The New York Times — regularly embed videos hosted by campaigns directly on their Web sites, the Huntsman videos on those sites vanished, too.

That could provide an object lesson for news organizations hoping to create a permanent record of the back-and-forth of a campaign. If they want the videos to last, they must host them on their own servers.

It’s not just video, Mike. It’s the very links bloggers supply to newspapers, radio and television stations that go dark every time said media outlet decides to go through a redesign.

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