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Tuesday, September 16, 2008
WND, Newsmax Embrace Claim By Documented Liar
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 15 WorldNetDaily article and a Sept. 16 Newsmax article by Phil Brennan repeated a claim --  made in a New York Post column by Amir Taheri -- that Barack Obama purportedly "has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence." (Brennan also spells Taheri's name wrong.) But neither WND nor Brennan noted Taheri's history of dubious claims.

As we've detailed, Taheri claimed in May 2006 that the Iranian parliament passed a law "that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims." After that quickly made its way around the right-wing Internet, the story was just as quickly debunked, and the paper where Taheri published the claim, Canada's National Post, issued a retraction. WND had noted the spuriousness of Taheri's claim at the time, and Newsmax noted its retraction -- which makes it strange that they would so unquestioningly embrace Taheri's new claim.

TPM Muckraker also notes a review of 1989 book by Taheri pointing out that it "repeatedly refers us to books where the information cited does not exist," and is "capable of generalizations of breathtaking sweep and inaccuracy."

WND followed up with a Sept. 16 article claiming that the Obama campaign's "angry denial" of Taheri's report "essentially confirmed the story." Well, no.

The Obama campaign said that "Barack Obama has consistently called for any Strategic Framework Agreement to be submitted to the U.S. Congress so that the American people have the same opportunity for review as the Iraqi Parliament," and "has never urged a delay in negotiations, nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades." Taheri, if you'll recall, specifically accused the Obama campaign of negotiating in private with Iraqi leaders, which -- despite what WND wants you to think -- isn't "confirmed" by the Obama statement.

WND again failed to report Taheri's dubious history, or that the Obama campaign also stated that Taheri confused the Strategic Framework Agreement with a separate Status of Forces agreement.

UPDATE: FrontPageMag reprints Taheri's original piece. There's no mention anywhere else at FrontPageMag of Taheri's fact-challenged record.

UPDATE 2: A Sept. 16 NewsBusters post by John Stephenson also repeats Taheri's claim without noting Taheri's fact-challenged record. NewsBusters, if you'll recall, was among the biggest promoters of Taheri's 2006 claim while burying its retraction in an update to the post five days later.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 3:27 PM EDT

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