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Anti-Obama Frenzy: The Case of Cliff Kincaid

The Accuracy in Media writer's attacks on Barack Obama include calling him a secret communist, making false claims, citing fictional characters, and essentially defending lynching as an all-American activity.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/15/2008


Like his ConWeb compadres Ronald Kessler and Aaron Klein, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has spent a good chuck of 2008 hurling various accusations and guilt-by-association smears at Barack Obama. Like the others, Kincaid makes his share of questionable claims -- and Kincaid outdoes them by making a couple very loony ones.

Kincaid took his first dip in the Obama-bashing pool in February 2007 by embracing the discredited claim issued by the Sun Myung Moon-controlled Insight website that Obama attended a radical Muslim madrassa as a child, insisting that it "cannot be easily dismissed" because Insight editor Jeffrey Kuhner is a "respected journalist" and a CNN report debunking the claim was "hastily-produced and superficial." As ConWebWatch reported at the time, AIM even reprinted Kuhner's screed against the New York Times for daring to raise questions about Insight's story.

Kincaid's Obama-bashing began in earnest this year with a Jan. 28 column suggesting that Obama wants a "U.S. and U.N. military intervention" in Burma/Myanmar without offering any actual evidence (beyond advisers who may or may not specifically advocate it) that he does. Oddly, Kincaid never quite gets around to voicing opposition to Burma's repressive military junta, instead complaining that Burma a place where "a place where the liberal internationalists are screaming for intervention." (This column appeared before the junta's blocking of international aid to victims of a deadly cyclone that hit Burma in early May; Kincaid has yet to weigh in on that development.)

Kincaid ramped things up in a Feb. 12 column asserting that a Senate bill sponsored by Obama to fight global poverty "makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations" and "would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends." In fact, as Media Matters detailed, the Global Poverty Act would establish no specific funding source, would not commit the United States to any targeted level of spending, nor would it give the U.N. the power to impose a tax on the U.S.

In a Feb. 18 column, Kincaid asserted that a person Obama identified only as "Frank" in his first book, "Dreams From My Father," as poet and activist Frank Marshall Davis. Kincaid described Davis as "publicly identified as a member of the Communist Party USA" and "a known communist who belonged to a party subservient to the Soviet Union." But that appears to be a claim up for debate; as University of Iowa professor Mike Chasar wrote:

Interestingly, anti-Obama crusaders know more about Davis (whom they call "Obama's communist mentor") than Obama's own political party does. Like many individuals interested in combating American racism in the 1930s and 1940s, Davis worked with people affiliated with the Communist Party. He was never a card-carrying member himself; in fact, in "Livin' the Blues" he calls himself "a solitary rebel" who avoided joining any organization at all.

Nevertheless, the FBI assigned agents to track and harass Davis and his white wife when the two moved to Hawaii in 1949.

More interesting than Davis' association with supposed communists is the fact that his life doesn't, in fact, fit into the categories by which either the right or the left tend to operate. Davis, for example, was a Republican who voted against Roosevelt throughout the 1930s. He spoke as a heterosexual black man on behalf of gay rights. He openly linked Jewish and black experiences of oppression and raged against America's hypocrisy as it fought Nazi Germany while maintaining a race-based caste system at home.

Still, Kincaid used Davis to accuse Obama of having a "secret political life" -- a theme repeated throughout Kincaid's attacks. A March 18 "AIM Report" that largely repeats Kincaid's column on Davis played the "Manchurian candidate" card (a meme also advanced by WorldNetDaily) by asking in its headline, "Is Barack Obama A Marxist Mole?" (A subhead in the article read: "OBAMA’S SECRET SOCIALIST CONNECTIONS.")

In an April 30 column citing examples of Davis' poetry, Kincaid placed under the subhead "Anti-American" a poem that referenced "sniping Dixie lynchers/In the jungles of Texas and Florida." Is Kincaid really saying that lynching is a pro-American activity?

Kincaid's paranoia went completely off the rails, however, in a March 26 column in which he desperately declared that Obama probably supports the federal government paying slavery reparations because a fictional character reportedly based on Obama supported reparations. Seriously:

One of the liberals’ favorite television shows, “West Wing,” about a fictional White House, also examined the controversy in the context of a controversial nominee for assistant attorney general for civil rights who advocated financial reparations for slavery.

At the time, we noted that three veteran Democrats were advisers to the show. They were former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, former Carter official Patrick Caddell, and former Senate Democratic aide Lawrence O’Donnell. Time magazine reported that Conyers’ staff had sent along “200 pages of material on the issue of paying reparations to black Americans as compensation for slavery” to the producers.

Interestingly, it has now been reported by The Guardian that one of the characters in the show, a presidential candidate, was modeled by one of the Democratic writers after Obama. The character in the program wins the presidency.

If this happens in real life, we may finally find out where Obama really stands on the issue of reparations.

Kincaid offered no evidence that Obama actually supports reparations. Still, the dubious accusation was repeated in an April 21 "AIM Report" (though not the fictional-character part).

Despite that fraudulent attack, Kincaid continued on to promote the secret-commie meme. An April 23 column spewed overheated rhetoric, suggesting that, as a result of his association with former radical William Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, Obama wants to turn your kids into terrorists and dope smokers:

An objective observer might conclude that [William] Ayers, [Bernardine] Dohrn and their comrades are now dedicated to creating a new student and youth movement, like the one they participated in which eventually developed into a full-blown terrorist organization that killed our fellow citizens and tried to eliminate the “Thin Blue Line” of police separating us from the criminals. 

In this new crusade, they not only have an inspiring leader, Barack Obama, who attracts young people with his promise of “change,” but a moneybags named Soros, who has funded causes such as rights for convicted felons and legalization of dope.

Kincaid claimed that "The real issue is whether Obama shares Ayers’ communist views" while offering nothing except guilt-by-association smears in response.

Obama is not the only Democrat commie-obsessed Kincaid has tried to cast the commie taint upon Hillary Clinton as well in an April 30 column by discussing activist Tom Hayden, who Kincaid claimed "played a pivotal role in America's Vietnam defeat and the deaths of millions": "Is this the kind of 'patriotism' that Obama approves? What does Senator Clinton think of an Obama supporter who worked for an enemy victory in Vietnam?"

Kincaid also repeated his claim that Davis' poetry "was laced with anti-American sentiments" though the only "anti-American sentiment" Kincaid has cited is opposition to lynching.

When you're resorting to citing fictional characters and essentially defending lynching, that's a clear sign that your arguments may not be all that solid.

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