In reviewing Jack Cashill's WorldNetDaily column on Tim Adams and his master's thesis, we noted that the thesis contains even more distortions and omissions of fact than Cashill's column -- things that should have raised concerns among the thesis committee at Western Kentucky University, where Adams is obtaining his master's degree. We will examine them here.
One only needs to look at the title page for a big red flag in the form of an embarrassing misspelling of Obama's name:
What self-respecting professor would not have rejected Adams' thesis outright for this massive typo alone?
Adams makes other embarrassing errors as well. For instance, he writes, "The other reason anyone daring to call the current administration into question is because to quote the Rolling Stones, 'Meet the new boss/same as the old boss' ('Teenage Wasteland')" -- managing to get both the name of the song the lyric comes from and the band that performed it completely wrong. (It's "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who.) He also misspells WND editor Joseph Farah's name and commits the editing error of introducing him as "Mr. Farar" but not mentioning his first name until 12 pages later.
As for the thesis itself, once you get past the subpar stabs at Hunter Thompson-esque prose -- indeed, he portrays his entire birther adventure as an attempt at "gonzo" journalism -- it's clear that Adams does not want to tell the full story of "the conflicts surrounding speech and public discourse, and the barriers to and consequences for unpopular speech."
Adams portrays "Mr. Farar’s people at World Net Daily," along with the people at the tabloid the Globe, as outlets that treated himwell, as opposed to other outlets that "were something less than stellar when it came to the veracity and honesty of their reporting on me." But as we've detailed, WND did not engage in honesty and veracity in its reporting about Adams, actively hiding the fact that Adams first made his birther claims to a pro-white radio host broadcasting from a conference by an organization descended from Southern anti-integration activists.
Adams, like Cashill, attacks Keith Olbermann for pointing out those racist ties, claiming that "Olbermann’s smear was universally panned" and citing in response a statement attributted only to "Gossip magazines picking up the story... June 13, 2010" without an endnote to document its source (unattributed quotes are another violation of master's thesis style).
Adams goes on to claim that "Several of the facts Olbermann claimed turned out to be untrue. The C of CC website had no such screed of racist dogma posted." Adams must have missed the following from the CofCC's statement of principles:
We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.
We support the cultural and national heritage of the United States and the race and civilization of which it is a part, as well as the expression and celebration of the legitimate subcultures and ethnic and regional identities of our people. We oppose all efforts to discredit, “debunk,” denigrate, ridicule, subvert, or express disrespect for that heritage.
Adams then throws in a bit of WND self-promotional boilerplate:
Keith Olbermann’s employer, MSNBC, has one million viewers. World Net Daily, whom Mr. Olbermann disparages, has five million regular subscribers and averages in excess of forty million individuals visiting per month. WND also has one of the stickiest ratings on the web, a rating based on the amount of time viewers actually spend on the site, averaging in excess of twenty minutes per visitor, far more time than the typical MSNBC viewer at approximately eight (8) minutes per broadcast.
Adams avoids explaining how closely he worked with WND in promoting his story. He has admitted with WND-affiliated lawyers supplied him with an affidavit for him to sign in which he repeated his core claim (for which he has never offered firsthand evidence to substantiate, only hearsay from his co-workers in Hawaii) that there is no long-form birth certificate for Obama in Hawaii state files -- a claim that was discredited when Obama authorized release of it in April, a few days before the May 1 date of Adams' thesis.
Adams even proudly proclaims that "On January 1st, 2011, my story was voted “The Most Covered-Up Story in America of 2010” by World Net Daily members and other Internet media members of the Associated Press." Adams gets it wrong here too; WND isn't a member of the AP, and any AP copy it features are links to other publications.
Adams also manages to miss the point of the method of Thompson's madness. He writes of his decision to attend the Council of Conservative Citizens conference, where he made his birther claim:
If Thompson’s “gonzo” is journalism as performance, then sometimes a performance can be a political tool as well. This is another technique I’ve taken from my two authors, for if I had made my initial public comments at some mainstream media outlet, they would never have been as effective. If one must go to a law enforcement conference to make an effective polemic on personal liberty (as Thompson did in Fear and Loathing), and if one must work for the National Park Service in order to sabotage the Bureau of Land Management (as Abbey did, working summers at fire stations), then where does one go to speak about issues of race and identity, if not a convention of racists?
Of course, birtherism is not about "issues of race and identity"; it's about trying to delegitimize a sitting president. And it doesn't help that Adam's birtherism comes off sounding just as crazy as the conference attendees he's purporting to mock:
In the case of President Obama’s natal narrative, a similar campaign of obfuscation has actively and admittedly been pursued by most of the major media, despite all evidence to the contrary. Groups like FactCheck.Org have a so-called Certification of Live Birth available on their website that purports to prove the President’s birth in Hawaii in 1961. The widespread media hyping of this forgery during the presidential elections of 2008 has led to several claims, none of which have any basis in reality.
Adams also forwards discredited birther claims which, as Adams seems to concede, have no basis in reality. For instance:
“The C.O.L.B. has been certified by the State of Hawaii and contains a Notary Seal from the State.”
Fact: Contrary to several media reports, it does not.
Contrary to Adams, the Certificate of Live Birth Obama released in 2007 does contain a raised seal.
Finally, Adams seems to be oblivious (perhaps intentionally so) to the fact that his choice of venue to announce his birther claim served as a key reason not to take him seriously, or that it served as reasonable justification for believing that Adams himself had racist tendencies -- a conclusion he made little effort to address at the height of the conspiracy (remember, WND refused to honestly report this connection). Instead, he plays the victim, a truth-teller unfairly maligned:
So by telling a simple story about simple facts, I had found myself in the same position as Gideon, or perhaps Socrates, accused of corrupting youth and defaming popular idols (I was indeed accused of both charges after all anyone who instructs while holding unpopular opinions is automatically subversive). While Socrates went ahead and drank the hemlock, I took a page from Gideon and replied, “Let Baal contend for Baal if someone has broken his altar.” But as throughout all of human history, when the gods fail to show up, mercenaries from the priest’s temples still do. For you see, when gods do not act, those who rely on them for their daily bread suddenly realize they might miss a good meal.
At the end of his thesis, Adams then launches into a weird rant:
Please continue if you like, dear reader, with the idea that any criticism of Obama is just racism. Please tell me just how this loyalty to some part of the U.S. governing system has benefited black Americans? Are African-Americans better off today than twenty or thirty years ago? Whose communities suffer the most from government corruption and crimes? Whose communities suffer the most from the influx of illegal aliens and foreign immigration by non-Europeans? Black Americans used to be the number two population group in America; now they are the number four group, with both Asian and Hispanic minority groups outpacing their own population and rapidly displacing black Americans at every level of society. Entry-level jobs, college educations, medical care, political organization, personal and group wealth, life expectancy...all these indicators are now overwhelmingly in favor of non-Blacks.
The government the black community seems to so knee-jerk, genuflect before incarcerates, redlines, and ignores black Americans concerns. Homicide, police violence, and incarceration are the leading mortality and economic factors in over one half of all African-American men. STD rates, especially HIV, which hasn't gone away, is still infecting thirty thousand men who have sex with men, (gay or bi or straight on the down low, or incarcerated and forced into gay sex) every year. That's every single day, one- hundred men in America are infected, not counting their female partners, nor other groups. In some prisons, seventy-five percent of the male prison populations are infected with a variety of incurable and lethal diseases, including hepatitis, HIV, and HPV. Black communities suffer disproportionately from lack of infrastructure: an inner-city black neighborhood suffers the same lack of grocery stores, public transportation, and other access issues as a rural, white community located over thirty to fifty miles from any major city center.
Black education is a nightmare. Black students’ performance is much lower than other groups, and has stubbornly refused to improve despite forty years of manipulation of the educational system by—whom else?—the government.
Dear Black America: get real. The government is not only your enemy, it is the enemy of all poor in America, all marginalized in America, all workers in America, all families in America. The government, now led by a half-white man, is just another plan to get your vote while the ruling class (and they think they should rule over you), continues to abuse, steal, and screw your families, your communities and your futures. But don't worry, they're after all of us, or have you forgotten what your own Black leaders tried to tell you decades ago? They want to take away your rights and freedoms and make your their property all over again, only this time, it's not about race, it's all of us.
Get over Obama, he's one of them, and you've been sold a bill of goods.
How is it that this sloppily written, factually dishonest paper is considered to be a credible master's thesis by Western Kentucky University worthy of awarding a degree over? That's an issue the WKU graduate faculty that signed off on this thesis need to answer.
UPDATE: Corrected the actual song title from which Adams pulled the Who lyric.