Eli Saslow of the Washington Post lies in support of Barack Obama while giving him a front page advertisement in the story "In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying" (link). Consider this:
On the television in his living room, Peterman has watched enough news and campaign advertisements to hear the truth: Sen. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, is a Christian family man with a track record of public service. But on the Internet, in his grocery store, at his neighbor's house, at his son's auto shop, Peterman has also absorbed another version of the Democratic candidate's background, one that is entirely false: Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
What Saslow identifies as the "truth" has not been proven. It's certainly extremely likely that BHO was born in Hawaii, but the recent birth certificate issue shows that that is still an open question. Yet, Saslow calls that the "truth", and Saslow is therefore lying.
Further, while BHO does practice the Christian religion that doesn't rule out him being, having been, or being considered by some to still be a Muslim. What religion someone practices can be proven, but what religion they actually are is something only they can tell. That's certainly a fine point, but one that credible reporters would make.
Likewise with the gay rumor: Larry Sinclair's charges have not been disproven, they're just very highly unlikely.
As for the racist bit, that again cannot be proven since no one knows what BHO truly believes. While he personally might not be racist (despite saying some interesting things in one of his books), he's certainly associated with at least one person who is, Reverend Wright.
Saslow moves from lying to smearing in this bit:
But with their pride came a nasty undercurrent, one that Obama's candidacy has exacerbated: On College Street, nobody wanted anything to change. As the years passed, Peterman and his neighbors approached one another to share in their skepticism about the unknown. What was the story behind the handful of African Americans who had moved into a town that is 93 percent white? Why were Japanese businessmen coming in to run the local manufacturing plants? Who in the world was this Obama character, running for president with that funny-sounding last name?
The first example begs for a real reporter. Was there any validity to their concerns? The second attempts to call those who oppose selling American factories to the Japanese xenophobes or similar; Saslow is trying to "enforce" the Beltway establishment's support for "free" trade. The last example wraps it all together, trying to portray those concerned about Obama as racist xenophobes.
Then, Saslow moves into MoveOn mode:
Like most of his neighbors, he dislikes McCain for his stance on the Iraq war and would like to cast his vote for a president who will bring the troops home. But on a recent visit to his son's auto shop, Peterman overheard misinformed customers talking again about a Muslim in the White House.
The implication is that BHO would, unlike McCain, "bring the troops home". That isn't necessarily true, and as stated above no one knows whether BHO is really a Muslim and thus those customers weren't necessarily "misinformed".
Saslow also provides a section called by him or an editor "The Truth Squad":
So far, those who have pushed the truth in Findlay have been rewarded with little that resembles progress. Gerri Kish, a 66-year-old born in Hawaii, read both of Obama's autobiographies. She has close friends, she said, who still refuse to believe her when she swears Obama is Christian. Then she hands them the books, and they refuse to read them. "They just want to believe what they believe," she said. "Nothing gets through to them."
Of course, they aren't necessarily pushing "the truth", but presumably things that are objectively true together with unprovable things that align with BHO's version of events. As for the books, Saslow is counting on no one having read them.
Politics · Mon, 06/30/2008 - 06:37 · Importance: 4