Timmerman's Claim of Obama-Farrakhan Link Lacks Substance Topic: Newsmax
In a last-ditch effort to smear Barack Obama, a Nov. 1 Newsmax article by Kenneth Timmerman asserts that "Barack Obama’s ties to the black nationalist movement in Chicago run deep, and that Obama and Louis Farrakhan "for many years ... have had 'an open line between them' to discuss policy and strategy." But Timmerman's source for the claim is someone who does not have firsthand knowledge of such an alleged relationship.
Timmerman cited "Dr. Vibert White Jr., who spent most of his adult life as a member and ultimately top officer of the Nation of Islam," as the source of his claims. But Timmerman also goes on to note that "White broke with the group in 1995 and is now a professor of African-American history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando." Since White hasn't been involved in the Nation of Islam in 13 years, he can only speculate as to the relationship between Obama and Farrahkan.
Indeed, Timmerman's quoting of White offers no evidence of a current, "deep" relationship, contradicting what Timmerman wrote in his lead paragraph. In fact, no evidence at all of a direct relationship between Obama and Farrakhan is offered, other than White noting that because Farrakhan's Nation of Islam is a political force in Chicago's black community, "wouldn’t be uncommon for [Obama and Farrakhan] to show up at events together, or at least be there and communicate with each other." But neither White nor Timmerman offered any actual evidence that even that happened.
Timmerman goes on to cite White claiming that Obama's speaking style has "a religious tenor to it that is very much Nation of Islam-like. I don’t know if anyone has ever touched on it, but Obama’s speaking style is very Malcolm-like, very Farrakhan-like," adding that "Obama’s remarkable speaking style, even his manner of standing at a podium to appear larger than life, is directly copied from Farrakhan." Timmerman chimes in with specious evidence to purportedly support the claim:
Any American who has listened to early radio or television interviews of Obama can hear how dramatically Obama’s speaking style has changed since he became a United States senator.
In clips dating from 2001 and even early 2004, Obama speaks haltingly and in long, rambling sentences packed with legalese and dense pseudo-academic rhetoric. But not today.
But if neither Timmerman nor White can provide evidence that there's a current, ongoing relationship between Obama and Farrakhan, how can improvements in Obama's post-2004 speaking style be attributed to Farrakhan?
Timmerman's story is hollow and shouldn't be treated as anything other than the desperate, last-minute smear that it is.
Newsmax: Telling Truth About Bossie = Personal Attack Topic: Newsmax
An Oct. 31 Newsmax article by David Patten promotes the anti-Obama video, "Hype: The Obama Effect," released by David Bossie's Citizens United. Patten sycophantically calls the film "a controversial, no-holds-barred film that debunks the quasi-messianic candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama" and benignly describes Citizens United as "a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes traditional American values." The words "conservative" or "right-wing" appear nowhere in Patten's article, let alone as an accurate descriptor of Citizens United.
Patten makes a minor stab at telling the other side of the Bossie story, if only to set up a straw man for Bossie to slap down:
The liberal Media Matters stated that the DVD “contains numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations of Obama’s record,” then proceeded to attack Bossie personally.
“To be honest,” Bossie told Newsmax, “it is right in the Media Matters way of doing business, which is really unremarkable in their sad, twisted, and demented way of trying to affect people. It doesn’t affect us.”
In fact, the Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) item on Bossie and his film does not "attack Bossie personally"; rather, it accurately describes Bossie's employment history, which includes being fired from his position on the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in 1998 for his alleged role in releasing selectively edited transcripts of Webb Hubbell's prison conversations.
Neither Patten nor Bossie challenge or contradict any claims made in the Media Matters item about Bossie or his film.
WorldNetDaily (but not Aaron Klein) finally reported al Qaeda's endorsement of John McCain -- but buried in an article claiming al Qaeda endorses Barack Obama even more.
A Nov. 1 WND article by Ryan Mauro ("founder and chief editor of WorldThreats.com") claimed there has been more than one "tacit endorsement of Democrat Barack Obama by the terrorist network," citing "Joseph Shahda, an Arabic translator who monitors radical Islamic websites." But Mauro fails to offer any more information about Shahda.
A 2006 BlogCritics profile of Shahda describes him as a "denizen of the conservative web site Free Republic" -- which should raise red flags about his partisan motivations. Shahda did some translation of several documents posted on the Internet by the federal government seized in Iraq -- an idea pushed by Republican congressmen and right-wing radio hosts -- which he then posted at Free Republic.
Indeed, on Free Republic, Shahda, writing under the name "jveritas," is very much rooting for McCain and against Obama. As he writes in one post, "When you vote, you beat these insanely biased polls. Go and vote, ask you family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to vote for McCain/Palin."
It is time. Please mass e-mail the McCain campaign http://www.johnmccain.com/Contact/ and/or call them at (703) 418-2008 to urge them to use the political nuclear weapon that will assure the destruction of Obama and his candidacy. Urge them to use Jeremiah Wright. The issue is very legitimate and John McCain should not hesitate for one more second to use it.
Show no mercy, use Jeremiah Wright, defeat Obama.
Another Shahda post simply recites McCain talking points:
We are going to win because at the end a defeatist, a socialist, and a left wing liberal like Barack Obama will not be elected President.
We are going to win because at the end Barack Obama who voted to cut the funding for our brave troops in the battlefield, who voted against the surge, who voted against victory, and who voted for defeat will not be elected President.
We are going to win because Barack Obama who believes in socialism, who wants to raise our taxes and who wants to spend heavily on welfare programs will not be elected President.
We are going to win because Barack Obama who spent 20 years in a church of hate, racism, and anti-Americanism under his friend and mentor Jeremiah Wright and who launched his political carrier in the living room of terrorist William Ayres will not be elected President.
We are going to win because our candidate John McCain is an American hero who believes in strong defense, in crushing our terrorist enemies, in lowering our taxes, in cutting welfare and wasteful spending, in the right to life for the unborn, in constructionist judges, and believes in the greatness of and the uniqueness of our beloved America.
We are going to win and McCain will be elected President.
Back to Mauro: It's not until the 11th paragraph of his article that Mauro gets around to addressing the McCain endorsement -- done so, of course, only to dismiss it:
The title of a Washington Post story Oct. 22 suggested the forums indicated significant al-Qaida support for John McCain.
But the story, "On Al-Qaeda Web Sites, Joy Over U.S. Crisis, Support for McCain," cited only one posting declaring a Republican victory would benefit the terrorist network.
"Al-Qaida will have to support McCain in the coming election," the Post quoted from the website posting, which also stated an attack around the time of the election could help McCain win.
"It will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaida. Al-Qaida will then succeed in exhausting America," it said.
But Shahda said many postings on the Al-Hesbah website mocked the Washington Post article.
Why should anyone trust Shahda when he clearly has a right-wing, anti-Obama bias?
Cashill Complains That Everyone's Ignoring His Conspiracy Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill whines in a Nov. 1 WorldNetDaily column:
When historians tell the story of the 2008 election a century hence, they will tell how the ABETTO factor – A Blind Eye To The Obvious – finally undid America's once proud journalism establishment.
The following passage, one of the very few in the major media to condescend to the question of Barack Obama's altogether likely literary fraud, nicely captures the blindness.
"The bizarre accusation Jack Cashill made ... that Obama didn't write 'Dreams From My Father' (and that Bill Ayers did) has caught fire in the blogosphere and on talk radio."
So writes the proudly clueless Kirsten Powers in the only half-blind New York Post. The New York Times, at least, did not attack me. Nor did they see fit to cover the story.
What is truly "bizarre" – no, disgraceful – is that the major media are not all over this story.
Actually, no. In fact, the media seems to be acting quite responsibly in ignoring kooky conspiracy theories by a man who has a history of being proven consistently wrong -- who falsely insisted that James Kopp was innocent of killing Barnett Slepian and that Eric Rudolph was being framed for bombings at abortion clinics and the Atlanta Olympics.
Your conspiracy theory about Bill Ayers writing Obama's books is indeed "bizarre," Jack -- and you are rightly being ignored.
UPDATE: Remember when Cashill was crowing that "a British scholar of international repute" was looking into his conspiracy theory? That actually turned out to be correct. From a Nov. 2 London Times article:
Dr Peter Millican, a philosophy don at Hertford College, Oxford, has devised a computer software program that can detect when works are by the same author by comparing favourite words and phrases.
He was contacted last weekend and offered $10,000 (£6,200) to assess alleged similarities between Obama’s bestseller, Dreams from My Father, and Fugitive Days, a memoir by William Ayers.
The offer to Millican to prove that Ayers wrote Obama’s book was made by Robert Fox, a California businessman and brother-in-law of Chris Cannon, a Republican congressman from Utah. He hoped to corroborate a theory advanced by Jack Cashill, an American writer.
But that's not working out the way Cashill would like:
Millican took a preliminary look and found the charges “very implausible”. A deal was agreed for more detailed research but when Millican said the results had to be made public, even if no link to Ayers was proved, interest waned.
Millican said: “I thought it was extremely unlikely that we would get a positive result. It is the sort of thing where people make claims after seeing a few crude similarities and go overboard on them.” He said Fox gave him the impression that Cannon had got “cold feet about it being seen to be funded by the Republicans”.
UPDATE 2: Oxford's Millican writes in the London Times of his experience in getting drawn into all of this, and he takes apart Cashill's reasoning:
The trouble with these sorts of claims is that they are far too easy to make: take any two substantial memoirs from the same era and you are likely to be able to pick out a fair number of passages that have some similarities. Unless the similarities are really close (and they weren’t), just listing them makes no case at all, even if it might be enough to persuade some readers.
Cashill and friends – who were convinced but aware that more evidence would be needed to convince others – enlisted teams of analysts to try to give the theory a solid statistical basis. All of these analyses supposedly delivered positive results, but they seem badly flawed.
Oxford University Consulting, on my behalf, insisted quite properly that any such arrangement would have to be agreed before the results were known: there could be no question of carrying out an analysis that would be paid for only if the results came out in their favour. And I insisted that the analysis, once produced, would have to be in the public domain and thus made available to the Democrats also.
Having got to this stage, with texts and controls carefully prepared and special facilities added to Signature for the purpose, my little adventure into US politics ended. I was left with the impression that payment for propaganda was fine; but payment for objective research was quite a different matter.
Maybe one day I’ll go back and do the analysis in detail, but I doubt it. I would rather spend my time on serious research questions than on improbable theories proposed with negligible support.
Waters Distorts, Omits Facts on Obama Fundraising Topic: Media Research Center
In an Oct. 31 MRC TimesWatch item (and NewsBusters post), Clay Waters referenced "Barack Obama's sleazy online fundraising, where thanks to purposely lax security measures his site is able to receive untraceable donations from obviously fake names." Waters offers no evidence to back up his claim that the Obama campaign's "security measures" for donations are "purposely lax," beyond citing a Washington Post article claiming that the campaign has "chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts." By calling the campaign's action "purposely lax," Waters is mind-reading; he has no basis upon which to ascribe the malicious intent those words suggest.
Waters also fails to mention that Obama is not required under federal law to release the names of donors who give less than $250 to the campaign.
New Article: Mass Misinterpretation Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb collectively misleads and lies about what Barack Obama said about the Supreme Court and the Constitution in a 2001 radio interview. Read more >>
The time for liberals to save their own political skins is now, before Nov. 4. They have an honorable, patriotic duty to stand up and say to America, “Stop right here! We want off this bus before it goes over the cliff. We were wrong about this Obama fellow. The evidence is now pouring in that he is not what he led us to believe. He is no liberal. He is a far-left radical and a mortal danger to this republic. Don’t give him your vote. He’s not getting mine.”
Will any of the leadership liberals do that? Do pigs fly? Do bears go in the middle of Times Square?
They’ve never tried.
If liberal Democrats fail to put country above party on Nov. 4 and if Obama wins, they can kiss their Democratic Party goodbye. They will deserve the political hell-fires they have stoked for themselves.
Newsmax, NewsBusters' Double Standard on Reporters Booted from Campaign Planes Topic: NewsBusters
An Oct. 31 Newsmax article by Rick Pedraza begins:
In what many are saying might be a disturbing sign of things to come if Sen. Barack Obama becomes the nation’s 44th president, the Democratic nominee’s campaign tossed several McCain-endorsing reporters from traveling on its plane.
Similarly, Matthew Sheffield writes in an Oct. 31 NewsBusters post:
In what could be seen as a disturbing sign for the future, the Barack Obama presidential campaign has blocked the Washington Times newspaper from traveling with the Democratic nominee in the final days of the election.
Update 9:57. Drudge is reporting (ht Blazer) that the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News are also blocked. Is it a coincidence that all three booted papers have endorsed John McCain for president?
Blocking the Post is even more of an outrage considering that it is the sixth most popular newspaper in the country with a circulation of over 600,000.
Neither Pedraza nor Sheffield mention -- let alone criticize -- the fact that John McCain's campaign has also booted reporters who wrote things they didn't like of his campaign plane. Time's Joe Klein and the New York Times' Maureen Dowd are just two of them.
Indeed, by contrast, NewsBusters defended McCain kicking Dowd off the plane. From an Oct. 2 post by Warner Todd Huston:
Let's face it, Dowd is not a journalist. She is an opinion editorialist. She does not report, she opines. She simply cannot be expected to present unbiased news. McCain knows that he cannot even breathe without Dowd calling it a crime against humanity so that makes her a perfectly legitimate target for dismissal. There is just no expectation of fairness with a Maureen Dowd. Everyone knows it.
If more campaigns did this to media types that merely express opinions as opposed to reporting what is going on with the campaign one might expect that we'd get more serious news as opposed to constant personal opinion.
So, good on ya, John McCain.
One more thing: If, as Pedraza writes, the booted reporters are "McCain-endorsing reporters," doesn't that mean they have a bias that reporters aren't supposed to have? Calling Brent Bozell ...
Speaking of Amnesia ... Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily article on Philip Berg's "lawsuit alleging Obama is ineligible to be president because of possible birth in Kenya" once again fails to mention its own previous reporting that Berg's lawsuit "relies on discredited claims" and that "A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate [showing him to be born in Hawaii] utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic."
Aaron Klein must have a serious short-term memory problem.
Just one day after Klein (grudgingly and under protest, we can presume) wrote an article acknowledging that John McCain has ties with Rashid Khalidi, an Oct. 30 article by Klein again obsesses on "Rashid Khalidi, who has been closely tied to Sen. Barack Obama" -- with no mention whatsoever of the McCain ties he had admitted just two short days ago.
What you won't find, of course, is any mention by Klein of what others are reporting about Khalidi: that he is "respected by people on the right as well as the left," and "someone who has always reached out to all sides in the debate about the future of Israel and Palestine."
Klein's simply too dishonest to tell both sides of the Khalidi story to his readers. He would rather smear Obama than tell the full truth.
Kessler Just Can't Quit Mitt Romney Topic: Newsmax
Like a lover checking up on an old flame, Ronald Kessler devotes his Oct. 30 Newsmax column to Mitt Romney's attacks on Barack Obama. Kessler gets a lilttle old-time fluffing in as well, promoting Romney's PAC and sycophantically asking him if he'll run again in 2012.
A newly posted video on YouTube has captured Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama appearing to suggest that America after World War II had similarities to Nazi Germany.
In the video, Obama is on WBEZ radio in Chicago discussing the Supreme Court opinions on civil rights during the time America was dealing with Jim Crow laws.
He states, "You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against, that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home."
But WND and the video edit Obama's words. As Media Matters detailed when Sean Hannity did the same thing -- is WND simply treating what right-wing radio hosts say as actual news? -- Obama was specifically speaking in the context of the rights of African-Americans. Here's the complete statement made by Obama, with they key statement WND didn't report in bold:
[T]here's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home. You've got African Americans who are returning from the war with certain expectations in terms of, "Why is it that I'm now in uniform and yet am denied more freedom here than I was in France or Italy?"
The article repeated an old smear regarding that same Obama radio interview claiming that Obama "suggested his disappointment that the U.S. Supreme Court never had gone beyond the constraints of the Constitution and established wealth redistribution plans." In fact, he suggested no such thing.
Speaking of smears, Joseph Farah uses his Oct. 31 column to claim that the radio interview WND keeps lying about "leaves no doubt that Obama, the likely next president of the U.S., believes the Constitution needs to be scrapped, rewritten or, even more dangerously, reinterpreted by activist judges to permit what it clearly does not permit in plain English – the use of government to redistribute wealth to achieve what he terms "economic justice in society."
But Farah makes the mistake of relying on his own website for evidence of this. The Oct. 27 WND article to which Farah links as evidence to support his claim contains numerous false and misleading claims about Obama's words, as we've noted.
How can lies make something "clear" to Farah? How can Farah be so dishonest as to present such an opinion to his readers on the basis of lies?
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
An Oct. 30 appearance by the MRC's Seton Motley on "Fox & Friends" followed the template: Motley appeared solo, and he's not identified as a conservative partisan.
An Oct. 29 appearance by Motley on Fox News' "America's Election HQ" followed the template as well. In his discussion with host Megyn Kelly of a videotape of Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi that the Los Angeles Times won't publicly release, neither Kelly nor Motley mentioned that Khalidi also has ties to John McCain, as even MRC division CNSNews.com has reported.
An Oct. 26 Fox News appearance (in two separate segments) by Motley followed the template too. In discussing the Obama campaign's shutout of an Orlando TV station over harsh questions to Joe Biden, neither Motley nor his Fox News host mentioned that McCain does the same thing.
Does Motley (not to mention the MRC) have an exclusive deal with Fox News that he gets only softball questions, is never identified as a conservative, and is never forced to appear with anyone who might contradict his McCain-ordained talking points?
An Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeats attacks on ACORN made by the conservative Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum -- right down Vadum's headline smear "ACORN: Who Funds the Weather Underground's Little Brother?" As we detailed, Vadum's attempt to link ACORN to the Weather Underground is a lie because ACORN is not a terrorist group, and Vadum also makes several false and misleading claims about ACORN.
It's typical lazy Unruh reporting, based only on Vadum's CRC report, with only a token phone call to ACORN headquarters to create the illusion that he was interested in telling both sides of the story (apparently oblivious to the fact that there are numerous other places he could obtain that information).