While many newspapers ride the blurred lines between campaigning for Barack Obama and reporting news about him the New York Times is making it clear that they have no desire to hide behind such pretense. Their "in the bag" effort on behalf of Barack Obama has become so blatant and transparent that they are now printing stories to convince Obama supporters to take on Hussein as a middle name in a show of solidarity for the MSM's presidential candidate of choice.
Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.
“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.
With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.
The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.
Jeff Strabone of Brooklyn now signs credit card receipts with his newly assumed middle name, while Dan O’Maley of Washington, D.C., jiggered his e-mail account so his name would appear as “D. Hussein O’Maley.” Alex Enderle made the switch online along with several other Obama volunteers from Columbus, Ohio, and now friends greet him that way in person, too.
In terms of newsworthiness this one falls somewhere between the revelation that the earth is round and the fact that the sun will rise in the east. But in the world of the New York Times it is news. I couldn't make this stuff up.
Even by the New York Times admission we are only talking about a couple hundred internet users on Facebook and the Daily Kos (of course). But that is good enough to drive the New York Times to promote the Kos'ian effort with the kind of flair and drama that is associated with most left wing campaigns. This particular effort has all the elements necessary to stir the masses.
First and foremost the New York Times must once again travel down the familiar path as dictated by the promote Obama play book. This usually involves some sort of victimization, a sprinkle of identity politics and a smidgen of of anecdotal evidence that what they are saying is true. The New York Times includes all those elements and then some in this latest laugher.
Task number one whenever mentioning Obama's middle name is to dispel the rumors surrounding his Muslim heritage. In this effort the New York Times does not disappoint.
Mr. Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Hussein is a family name inherited from a Kenyan father he barely knew, who was born a Muslim and died an atheist. But the name has become a political liability. Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in e-mail messages, use it to falsely assert that Mr. Obama is a Muslim or, more fantastically, a terrorist.
What would this effort be if the Times staffers couldn't some how put this in the context of a Republican smear campaign? What better place to research that angle than the Daily Kos:
“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on dailykos.com.
Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in e-mail messages, use it to falsely assert that Mr. Obama is a Muslim or, more fantastically, a terrorist.
Yup, the New York Time is so desperate to promote the "We are Hussein" campaign that they are now quoting the Daily Kos.
But why stop there? Might as well tie it into two much needed demographics by making a farcical moral equivalence between the victimization of Obama on his middle name and that of anti-Semitism and racism.
So like the residents of Billings, Mont., who reacted to a series of anti-Semitic incidents in 1993 with a townwide display of menorahs in their front windows, these supporters are brandishing the name themselves.
“My name is such a vanilla, white-girl American name,” said Ashley Holmes of Indianapolis, who changed her name online “to show how little meaning ‘Hussein’ really has.”
Vanilla, white-girl American? Of course the New York Times celebrates anything but. Imagine the outrage if the phrase were anything different, something like "My name is so chocolate, black-girl American". But that is a different story, racism only exists on the right in the world view of certain MSM reporters.
The author of the New York Times report has stretched so far in her efforts to be all inclusive that she even got in a gay equivalence. But perhaps the biggest stretch of the imagination is that we are to believe that all these "Husseins" came up with this effort on their own.
In interviews, several Obama supporters said they dreamed up the idea on their own, with no input from the campaign and little knowledge that others shared their thought.
Yeah, about as original as the mass faintings at Obama campaign rallies.
It's clear that the media is in full damage control after the removal of head scarves from the eyes of cameras at an Obama campaign rally compounded by the Keith Ellison cancellation but this is a bit over the top. Leave it up to the New York Times to knock another chink out of the armor of credibility when it comes to pretending to be an objective source of news on the 2008 presidential trail.
Terry Trippany is the editor and publisher of Webloggin.