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Saturday, May 15, 2010
Klein, Elliott Dishonestly Respond to Criticism of Their Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Why don't Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott want to have an honest discussion about their WorldNetDaily-published book "The Manchurian President"?

We don't know. Instead of that honest discussion, they have instead chosen to misrepresent criticism of the book issued by me and my employer, Media Matters.

A May 6 WorldNetDaily column by Klein -- curiously published the day before under Elliott's name on her blog, The Real Barack Obama -- purports to respond to a blog post by my Media Matters colleague Simon Maloy heaping deserved ridicule on the tenditious guilt-by-association evidence Klein cites to claim that Obama was under the sway on William Ayers as an 11-year-old child through the Sunday school he attended. Klein is apparently devoid of a sense of humor, for he twists that blog post around to misrepresenting it as claiming that this was the only evidence Klein had presented of an Obama-Ayers link:

Media Matters, however, simply quoted from the opening of the new book's chapter on Ayers – 3 pages out of a 17-page chapter – clearly giving the impression the entire chapter focuses simply on that one aspect of Obama's boyhood years and that I do not have any other documentation linking Obama to Ayers.

The rest of Klein's (or Elliott's?)  column reads like it was taken from the book's PR kit for all the empty boilerplate praise it spews forth.

Meanwhile, in a May 6 RBO post, Elliott takes offense at another blog post by Maloy, this time taking aim at more ridiculous aspects of the book, such as its sninster red-drenched cover, with (supposedly) Obama's eyes framed to give, as Maloy writes, "the unmistakable impression that the President of the United States is peering out at you from behind a keffiyeh." Elliott demonstrated she has the same sense of humor as Klein:

Anyone with half an ounce of common sense can clearly identify a sheet of paper with a printed red marble design that has a strip torn out. The mismatched edges are clearly visible.

Who knew there was such a thing as Toreador Red?

And then we have the reference to a keffiyeh, which is a “traditional headdress typically worn by Arab men made of a square of cloth (“scarf”), usually cotton, folded and wrapped in various styles around the head.” Perhaps Maloy should have taken the time to do a bit of research. Maybe he meant a Tagelmust (left), which has “the appearance of both a veil and a turban.”

Close but no cigar? Not even.

Then she linked to a MoveOn-published book with a similar cover.

Klein ranted further about Media Matters on the May 9 edition of his WABC radio show. He repeated the same misrepresentation about Maloy's Sunday school blog as he did at WND -- "This is an absolute smear against my book!" he exclaimed -- then highlighted a different Maloy post (this one more focused on the clownish Matthew Vadum -- who had expressed his pride that his questionable "research" was cited in the book -- than Klein) calling the book "a sloppy, guilt-by-association smear job that features some of the worst, most dishonest 'journalism' the right has to offer." This totally set Klein off:

That's it. No proof that it is sloppy or dishonest. In fact, I can guarantee you that Media Matters is going through page after page, footnote after footnote of this book, and they have not yet until today, with all of the smears of the book, released one piece of false information in this book. They have not found one mistake in this book. They have not found one piece of, quote, dishonest journalism in the book. So to just blindly say that this book is a  "smear job that features some of the worst, most dishonest 'journalism' the right has to offer" without giving one proof, one piece of evidence that the book has anything in it that is sloppy or dishonest, well, to me that is sloppy and dishonest, and that is a total attempt to smear my book, whicih I guess I should be proud of. ... "Dishonest journalism" -- how dare they? How dare Media Matters lob such a claim without any evidence whatsoever?

What Klein didn't tell you:  Two days after that latest Maloy post -- and two days before Klein's radio show -- I published a detailed analysis of Klein's book at Media Matters demonstrating the false claims, discredited conspiracy theories, birther arguments, deceptive editing, and guilt by association Klein uses.

In other words, Klein appears to be lying. Sloppy and dishonest, anyone? (Later in the show, he does claim he was emailed the analysis during a commercial break.)

At this writing, it has been a week since that analysis was published, and Klein has said absolutely nothing about it, let alone make any attempt to rebut it.

Meanwhile, Elloitt's attempt to rebut my analysis was lame at best, focusing only on the claim in the book that Ayers "may have" written Obama's book "Dreams From My Father" and, even more narrowly, on Oxford don Peter Millican's debunking of the conspiracy theory:

Media Matters provides a fair amount of disinformation regarding its top item, our statement that unrepentant 60s terrorist, and longtime Barack Obama associate and Hyde Park neighbor, Bill Ayers, “may have ghostwritten” Obama’s 1995 autobiography, ‘Dreams From My Father.’

Not only does the meaning of “may have” escape Media Matters but it also discounts what it calls “purported evidence” we attribute to WND columnist Jack Cashill. Cashill has conducted extensive research on the possible Ayers’ collaboration since 2008.

Media Matters profers two pieces of key disinformation to support its contentions.

1. “Oxford don conducted computer study, found claim to be ‘very implausible.’” As cited below, the “Oxford don”, Peter Millican, clearly states on his website that he did not conduct a computer study.

2. “The Sunday Times of London reported on November 2, 2008, that Peter Millican, a philosophy don at Hertford College, Oxford, who ‘devised a computer software program that can detect when works are by the same author by comparing favourite words and phrases,’ was contacted by Republican activists who offered him $10,000 to ‘assess alleged similarities’ between Dreams From My Father and Ayers’ book Fugitive Days.”

First, Elliott writes:

The fact is that it was not The Sunday Times of London who reported about Millican on November 2, 2008. On that date, the newspaper published two articles that were written by Peter Millican and submitted to it for publication.

In fact, only one of the articles cited is a column by Millican. The second is in fact, a news article carrying the byline of "Sarah Baxter in Washington." It's an article about Millican's claims, sure, but it's not a column by Millican.

The rest of the article nitpicks about how much analysis Millican did of the comparison, ultimately dismissing him as "obviously not unbiased in his assessment." And Jack Cashill is unbiased? Please.

At no point does Elliott note that the book has no mention whatsoever of Millican's analysis; instead, she presents only the conspiracy-minded claims of Cashill and biographer Christopher Andersen -- who, in part, was relying on Cashill.

That's it. That's all Klein and Elliott have had to say about this substantial criticism of their book.  Are they afraid of the truth? Or do they just want to tell it where I'm not watching?

I guess I won't be going on Klein's radio show anytime soon, even I'm probably the most knowledgable person in the country about the book and its claims (besides the authors, of course). It seems that these two are little more than gutless wonders who are eager to smear but go into hiding when they're directly challenged and are afraid to honestly confront their accusers.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EDT

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