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View Diary: Bacon's sell-out? (Author of WaPo Obama hit) (30 comments)

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  •  It wasn't an awful article (0+ / 0-)

    Everyone keeps going bonmkers because either they believe the article was about the rumors and serves to spread them, or becuase he didn't repudiate them.

    I would agree that the article would have been better if there had been a paragraph in there noting that the militant madrassa rumor, and the being raised as a Muslim rumor have been thouroughly debunked by other news organizations. I don't know if that would have made everyone happy or not. Frankly, I think it would have been irrelevant to the article, and I understand completely why no such paragraph appeared in the article. It was an article about the persistence of even more insidious rumors and conjecture, despite the campaign's denials, and the fact that hte campaign is having to respond to such stuff -- including Obama in an interview on CNN. But, perhaps all the screaaming meanies might have held much of their bile if the article reported that independent investigations debunked the original rumors.

    My point is that the reaction is way overblown. I don't even know whether most of the readers came to their reaction independently, or whether they first found criticisms of the piece, and then read the piece. I suspect, for most, it was the latter. WHich is why I don't even credit the reactions. It's as if someone explained how we're supposed to be outraged about the piece, and everyone else is nodding their heads in agreement.

    It wasn't that bad a piece. It was an interesting topic -- and no one could read that piece and conclude that is it reasonable to infer there might be something credible in those rumors. To me, it seems that people are screaming at Bacon to repudiate rumors which aren't even provable -- as distinct from the ones about the school, the ones discussed in the article focus on how Obama might be some sort of secret Muslim Manchurian Candidate -- something no one can know for sure either way.

    But, I'm not going to fight that battle -- suffice to say that the reason you're perplexed at how Bacon could have erred so badly is because he didn't really err so badly. It's the reaction that is overwrought and not fair.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 04:05:21 PM PST

    •  Again with this Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

      On the one hand, you say know one could seriously believe the rumors (which are, in fact, lies, though you find that nowhere in the article even though other news outlets are comfortable saying as much) are true.

      Then, in the next breath, you say no one can disprove the rumors that Obama is a Manchurian Candidate who will enslave us all as president until he actually becomes president.

      Cute.

      When the disembodied voice on C-SPAN calls you pussies, you're probably pussies.

      by DelRPCV on Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 04:41:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, so...? I think I see... (0+ / 0-)

        What do you mean by saying "cute"? The Manchurian Candidate stuff -- I'm not making that up. I'm taking it from the article -- that's, in essence, what the cited posts were about (I think the phrase might have come from the article itself -- though I may only have seen it in a post here).

        I think now tha I see the source of the problem. You think that if someone repeats what others say they are implicitly adopting such statements as their own? How am I supposed to talk about what others say? Do I have to issue a disclaimer every time I refer to something that others have said? Apparently, you think Bacon had to do that, though I'm still not clear on why, since the intelligent people that read the Post all understood that he wa emrely repeating the ruomors to discuss them, not to lend credence to them.

        As for disproving it -- you're not as stupid as you pretend to be. You must realize that it would be impossible to disprove (or prove) such an accusation.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 05:33:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The REAL story is how these rumors came about in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FischFry

          the first place, and the mechanism by which they persist.  The rumors [about Gore, Kerry, Max Cleland, John McCain, and others] both arose and were propagated by Republican dirty tricksters.  As described here,

          The most notorious smear forward of this cycle is the Obama/madrassa canard, which represents the cutting edge of electronic rumor. At least two weeks before the Obama/madrassa smear appeared in the online magazine Insight, on January 17, it had been circulating widely in an e-mail forward that laid out the basics of Obama's bio in a flat, reportorial tone before concluding thus:

          [The grand lie that started this:] "Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim.... Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother...introduced his stepson to Islam. Osama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.
           Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy."

          Did you catch that typo in the crucial sentence? And the strategic deployment of Obama's middle name? It's a coldly effective bit of slander: a single damning lie (the school Obama attended was a run-of-the mill public elementary school) snuggled tightly within a litany of mundane facts, followed by dark insinuation.

          Who wrote it? The unsatisfying answer is, we'll probably never know. ....

          But even if the identity of the e-mail's author was unrecoverable, it was still possible to trace back the roots of its content. The origin proved even more bizarre than I could have guessed.

          On August 10, 2004, just two weeks after Obama had given his much-heralded keynote speech at the DNC in Boston, a perennial Republican Senate candidate and self-described "independent contrarian columnist" named Andy Martin issued a press release. In it, he announced a press conference in which he would expose Obama for having "lied to the American people" and "misrepresent[ed] his own heritage."

          Martin raised all kinds of strange allegations about Obama but focused on him attempting to hide his Muslim past. "It may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel," read Martin's statement. "His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles where Obama now enjoys support."

          A quick word about Andy Martin. During a 1983 bankruptcy case he referred to a federal judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race." Martin, who in the past was known as Anthony Martin-Trigona, is one of the most notorious litigants in the history of the United States. He's filed hundreds, possibly thousands, of lawsuits, often directed at judges who have ruled against him, or media outlets that cover him unfavorably. A 1993 opinion by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, described these lawsuits as "a cruel and effective weapon against his enemies," and called Martin a "notoriously vexatious and vindictive litigator who has long abused the American legal system." He once even attempted to intervene in the divorce proceedings of a judge who'd ruled against him, petitioning the state court to be appointed as the guardian of the judge's children.

          When I asked Martin for the source of his allegations about Obama's past, he told me they came from "people in London, among other places." Why London, I asked? "I started talking to them about Kenyan law. Every little morsel led me a little farther along."

          Within a few days of Martin's press conference, the conservative site Free Republic had picked it up, attracting a long comment thread, but after that small blip the specious "questions" about Obama's background disappeared. Then, in the fall of 2006, as word got out that Obama was considering a presidential run, murmurs on the Internet resumed. In October a conservative blog called Infidel Bloggers Alliance reposted the Andy Martin press release under the title "Is Barack Obama Lying About His Life Story?" A few days later the online RumorMillNews also reposted the Andy Martin press release in response to a reader's inquiry about whether Obama was a Muslim. Then in December fringe right-wing activist Ted Sampley posted a column on the web raising the possibility that Obama was a secret Muslim. Sampley, who co-founded Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry and once accused John McCain of having been a KGB asset, quoted heavily from Martin's original press release. "When Obama was six," Sampley wrote, "his mother, an atheist, married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian Muslim, and moved to Jakarta, Indonesia.... Soetoro enrolled his stepson in one of Jakarta's Muslim Wahabbi schools. Wahabbism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad on the rest of the world."

          On December 29, 2006, the very same day that Sampley posted his column, Snopes received its first copy of the e-mail forward, which contains an identical charge in strikingly similar language. Given the timing, it seems likely that it was a distillation of Sampley's work.

    •  He DID err (0+ / 0-)

      He allowed the focus to be on the existence of rumors without focusing on the baselessness of the rumors.  As a journalist, he had a duty, in my view, to report that CNN and other news organizations had actually DEBUNKED the Madrassa allegation.  If he wanted to say that the rumors persist despite iron-clad proof to the contrary, this is not how it came across because he FAILED to provide the iron-clad proof that is already out there.

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