In 2008, NPR's All Things Considered tried to take apart the "swift-booking" of Barack Obama by conservative author Jerome Corsi, insisting in several places "we know" Corsi's reporting wasn't factual. On Friday's All Things Considered, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik took a looser standard in publicizing the Palin-bashing book by liberal author Joe McGinniss. Folkenflik eventually found book experts who disdained the difference between a "warts and all" book and an "all warts" book. But none of the book's claims were held up individually as false. It just on the whole "felt unreliable."
This leads the listener to wonder what might be true: Palin's cocaine-snorting, the premarital sex with NBA stars, the neglect of her children? Which? Folkenflik brings up McGinniss's tawdry publicity stunt, renting right next to the Palin home in Wasilla, running some mini-soundbites of outrage from conservative talkers like Sean Hannity ("creepy") and Bill O'Reilly ("immoral"). But Folkenflik tweeted Friday "How rascally is the writer behind 'The Rogue'?" All in all, the stunt was a plus:
One of the top stories on Yahoo! news this morning is an Associated Press report on anti-Obama author Jerome Corsi being held in Kenya over his immigration papers. Reporter Tom Odula makes sure he sticks this Obama campaign language in, complete with a website plug:
Corsi's book claims the Illinois senator is a dangerous, radical candidate for president and includes innuendoes and false rumors — that he was raised a Muslim, attended a radical, black church and is secretly seething with "black rage."
Obama is a Christian who attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and his campaign picks apart the book's claims on the Obama campaign's rumor-fighting Web site, FightTheSmears.com.
So the AP accurately reports that Obama attended Reverend Wright's church, but it's placed on a list of "false rumors" or "innuendoes" that it was radical? (Is there any doubt that Wright was seething with black rage?) Obama's not a "radical," despite his history of working relationships in Chicago with people whose idea of idealism was bombing U.S. government buildings.
Barack Obama’s official fight-back packet against anti-Obama author Jerome Corsi carries an endorsement of sorts from Time magazine. In a yellow Time-like banner on the top-right of the cover is the Time logo and the words "Trash" and "Poisonous Crap."
The nasty words come from a Time "Swampland" blog post by one Joe Klein, who decries all the "filth and lies" from the "right-wing sludge merchants." Question: since when does "Anonymous" Joe Klein, who feverishly lied for months in 1996 about authoring the Clinton roman a clef "Primary Colors" entitled to fling spittle about "lies" at anyone else on the blogosphere? [Image from the lefties at socialmedia.biz.]
But Time hired Joe Klein anyway. Go figure. They apparently needed someone to write gooey cover stories about Democrats. Klein has loved Obama with almost as much feverish devotion as he loved Bill Clinton. Take this swooning passage from 2006: "Obama seemed the political equivalent of a rainbow — a sudden preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy....There aren’t very many people — ebony, ivory or other — who have Obama’s distinctive portfolio of talents." You can understand Klein’s anger at anyone who’d attempt to ruin his rainbow.
The back-and-forth over Jerome Corsi's book, "The Obama Nation," has been heated, largely unfair to the author, and predictably marred by attacks from allegedly "objective" journalists as well as Democratic mouthpieces (but I repeat myself). Blatant examples of media bias have been noted by several NewsBusters posters, including Tim Graham (here, here, and here), Geoff Dickens, Mark Finkelstein, and Clay Waters.
But that doesn't mean there haven't been moments of humor. A delicious one comes at the expense of the Associated Press's Nedra Pickler.
On the front page of Thursday's Washington Post, reporter Eli Saslow took on the new anti-Obama books in a story headlined "New Books Aim to Unweave the Obama Narrative." For his part, Saslow writes as if it's his job to simply present the Obama narrative on the front page of the Post as news, like his gooey piece lamenting how Obama's radical black church was feeling "marginalized and vilified" over the Jeremiah Wright controversy. Saslow quickly reached the verdict that the book was widely disproved, and so was the Swift-boat veteran book from 2004:
Corsi's "The Obama Nation" lacks major revelations and has been dismissed by Obama's campaign as a series of lies from a serial liar. Parts of the book have also been disproved by the mainstream media. In 2004, Corsi co-wrote "Unfit for Command," in which Swift boat veterans criticized Sen. John F. Kerry's Vietnam War record. That book was also widely disproved.
Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, has started a Web site to help discredit these tactics on Obama's behalf.
Never Again! Not the Holocaust. We're talking about the MSM's determination not to let Barack Obama be "Swiftboated." In successive segments today, CNN provided a perfect example of the phenomenon. First, a one-sided trashing of Obama Nation, the anti-Barack book by Jerome Corsi, who co-authored Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. In the succeeding segment, anchor Suzanne Malveaux worried out loud to Paul Begala that Barack Obama might not be responding fast enough to attacks against him, thereby "falling into the same trap as John Kerry."
Introducing the first segment, Situation Room anchor Malveaux didn't hesitate to make unequivocal claims as to the Corsi book's inaccuracy.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: There's a new book out about Barack Obama, and it is not flattering. The facts are mixed with accusations about Obama that are misleading or just flat-out wrong. Yet despite all of this, there is concern that author's claims might catch on with some voters. Our CNN's Jessica Yellin joining me now, and Jessica, the author even admits that there is an agenda here behind this book.
For years, the New York Times has praised misleading books from liberal authors attacking President Bush and the war in Iraq: Tomes by Michael Moore, Seymour Hersh, Kitty Kelley, Richard Clarke, Jane Mayer, and Ron Suskind (who has also reported for the paper) -- too many to mention. Yet when a wildly successful book appears that attacks the Times's favored candidate, Democrat nominee Barack Obama, the paper unloads a front-page pushback against the "unsubstantiated, misleading...inaccurate"book.
In the summer of 2004 the conservative gadfly Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists as co-author of "Unfit for Command," the book attacking Senator John Kerry's record on a Vietnam War Swift boat that began the larger damaging campaign against Mr. Kerry's war credentials as he sought the presidency.