Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE NOISE MACHINE....Today in the New York Times, David Kirkpatrick runs down the story behind the bogus report of Barack Obama's supposed early education in an Indonesian madrassa. It's mildly interesting (Insight magazine is no longer part of the Washington Times -- who knew?), but it turns out that it's mostly wasted. A single quote from Insight editor Jeffrey Kuhner pretty much tells the whole story:

"I said, 'That is a sexy story, if you can confirm it,' " Mr. Kuhner recalled. After Insight posted the article on Jan. 17, Mr. Kuhner said, he was disappointed to see that the Drudge Report did not link to it on its Web site as it has done with other Insight articles. So, as usual, he e-mailed the article to producers at Fox News and MSNBC.

And that was that. Your media machine at work.

Kevin Drum 11:33 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

America. Land of junk food, junk science, junk religion and junk media.

Posted by: #31874XYZ on January 28, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

See? This is why all the best tennis players nowadays come from Switzerland.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 29, 2007 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

It figures that he'd email it to Faux Noise Channel. I wonder why his second choice was MSNBC. ABC has shown a lot more proclivity to being a right wing noise machine. It's hysterical that Kuhner was upset that Drudge ignored it. Drudge rhymes with sludge.

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on January 29, 2007 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin,

I won't vouche for this story.

But...

Did you know his middle name was HUSSIEN?

Doesn't that raise alarm bells in your mind?

That's like us electing John Hitler Smith after WWII.

Posted by: egbert on January 29, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Donald Segretti did pretty much the same type of sleazy dirty tricks for Nixon campaign, and he eventually did time in prison.

Why is this kind of underhanded stuff even being tolerated by us?

It's not even balanced sleaze. The Washington Post recently ran a non-story about former sen. John edwards sale of his house, in which it was intimated that something was terribly wrong without spelling out exactly what what the supposed wrongdoing was.

Meanwhile, the media pointedly ignored the Jeff Gannon / Talon News story, in which the White House was evidently complicit in allowing a gay male escort nearly unfettered access to the White House to masquerade as a journalist in the White House press pool -- and do God only knows what else.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 29, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Very strange that Drudge ignored this story. Doesn't seem to fit with his character and past behavior at all.

Posted by: AP on January 29, 2007 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

America. Land of junk food, junk science, junk religion and junk media.
Posted by: #31874XYZ on January 28, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget the junk Bonds.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 29, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Egbert......Do you know that a nephew of Hitler served in the U.S. Navy during WW2?

Posted by: R.L. on January 29, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

I forgot to say that Hitler's nephew was named Hitler.

Posted by: R.L. on January 29, 2007 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

I liked this part of the article better:
First - 'Mr. Kuhner, in an editor’s note on Insight, said the Web site could not afford to “send correspondents to places like Jakarta to check out every fact in a story.”'
Second, when the story takes a turn that Kuhner doesn't like - 'Mr. Kuhner said he was not yet convinced by reports from officials of the elementary school that Mr. Obama attended in Indonesia about its secular history. “To simply take the word of a deputy headmaster about what was the religious curriculum of a school 35 years ago does not satisfy our standards for aggressive investigative reporting,” he wrote.'

Too bad those aggressive standards don't include checking out the "facts" in the first place.

Posted by: Journalistic Standards on January 29, 2007 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad those aggressive standards don't include checking out the "facts" in the first place.

C'mon! Facts are just tools to push you in the direction of right think. What does it matter if they're real or virtual? Forget all that elitist inductive crap.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 29, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Why aren't liberals doing this sort of thing more often and proactively trying to get the media to cover what they want? All we have to do is push stories in a way that makes the mainstream media look good (in other words, without becoming increasingly shrill about how the MSM isn't doing its job, no matter how true that may be).

Shouldn't Howard Dean have a bunch of talking heads on speed dial?

Posted by: Anthony on January 29, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii >"...Why is this kind of underhanded stuff even being tolerated by us?..."

Well, obviously, the Reverend wants it that way.

Not that I`m tolerating it...

The mind is its own place,
and in itself can make a heaven of hell,
and a hell of heaven. - John Milton

Posted by: daCascadian on January 29, 2007 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

So now we have two good rules of thumb with which to push back on the conservative bias of the MSM. The first is "Trust no source funded by Texans" and the second is "Trust nothing published by Insight."

After the crap has been published, of course, it is too late. How many Americans now have a twinge of unconscious negative evaluation, "stealth Muslim", when they they see a picture of Barrack Obama?

Meanwhile, Hillary's campaign can claim they weren't going to use that bogus info anyway! Damage done plus the virtue of disclaiming it, heh! A double win for HC.

Posted by: PTate in FR on January 29, 2007 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK
'Mr. Kuhner said he was not yet convinced by reports from officials of the elementary school that Mr. Obama attended in Indonesia about its secular history. “To simply take the word of a deputy headmaster about what was the religious curriculum of a school 35 years ago does not satisfy our standards for aggressive investigative reporting,” he wrote.'

Posted by: Journalistic Standards on January 29, 2007 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

This passage, which Kilpatrick permits to run unchallenged, is my only problem with the NYT article. First of all, Insight apparently never contacted Obama's office for comment or rebuttal; second of all, the evidence against the Madrassa story is far more than, as Kuhner is permitted to characterize it "simply .. the word of a deputy headmaster." Just to take the most obvious piece of available documentation, the women teachers in Obama's class photograph are dressed in secular clothing that anyone will immediately recognize as impermissible at a Wahabbi institution (do women, even appropriately garbed, really teach at Madrassas?).

Posted by: Warren Terra on January 29, 2007 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, Robert Parry does a far better job than the MSM or the blogosphere of rebutting this right-wing slime job on Obama here .

The Democrats need to always keep in mind that there is a massive, well-funded right-wing propaganda machine out there, that has no qualms about publishing any lie, misstatement or half-truth to damage a liberal politician. Well-funded by the robots controlled by the sexual deviant, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 29, 2007 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

Thank God there are editors like Kuhner who still support investigative journalism. There is still hope for America.

Posted by: Al on January 29, 2007 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Kevin's "quote that tells the whole story" *does* tell the whole story--an offer of a bribe, essentially-but Kevin shd've mentioned that the quote appears at the very bottom of a 2-page story.

Posted by: helmling on January 29, 2007 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

"(do women, even appropriately garbed, really teach at Madrassas?)."
I think not. No mixing the sexes at those schools. I don't think they even believe women should be educated. and sure, Obama's atheist mother would let him be educated that way.

OTOH my feeling is even if he went to one at age 6, so what? I went to a fundamentalist church school at age 6 and I'm now an agnostic.

Posted by: lou on January 29, 2007 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

God forbid we have a major candidate who has an element of understanding to bring to the table re: Islam! Heavens no, can't have that!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

I meant to add: Turn their crap back around on them. After all, when you point one finger at me...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

I thought the Edwards house story was worse. It was filled with innuendo, and mystery, I just knew John Solomon was going to connect the dots. I got right to the end and realized I had been had. There was just no "there" there.

The real mystery is that John Solomon and Lois Romano still have jobs at the Washington Post. Actually I don't blame Solomon and Romano for submitting such junk. I blame the brain dead editor for publishing it.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 29, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

I have to say I agree with Egbert here. It's very, very important to the security of the United States that we disqualify candidates based on their names.

So with that in mind, I will not be voting for John McCain because he shares a first name with John Hinckley; I will also not vote for Rudy Giuliani because his name is very similar to Rudolf Hess.

I will also not consider voting for Mike Huckabee because his first name is the same as serial killer Michael Ross. I will not vote for Duncan Hunter because his first name is the same as the last name as serial killer Joseph Edward Duncan.

Sam Brownback's first name is waaaay to close for comfort to David Berkowitz's chosen name of "Son of Sam."

And Mitt Romney's given name is "Willard"; it would be foolish to consider voting for anyone who shares a name with that crazy rat guy from the movies.

Posted by: BongCrosby on January 29, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Pro-war propaganda organizations have a lot of power, yet they are not immune to the types of smears they use. Smear Mr. Kuhner and Insight with the most odious accusations you can imagine every chance you have.

Posted by: Brojo on January 29, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

It makes me laugh when trolls like monkeybone scream "You guys did it too!!" Good stuff.

Especially amusing when the stories monkey linked to were never debunked. This one was immediately dismantled.

Posted by: ckelly on January 29, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

egbert: Did you know his middle name was HUSSIEN?

And, of course, Jordan is run by Abdullah bin al-HUSSEIN, so obviously, we need to invade Jordan immediately, since they're The Enemy. And Iraq has Jalal al-TALABANI, so obviously he's a terr'ist too.

I'm curious - is this bogus "name" nonsense one step above numerology, or on the same level? I can't decide.

Posted by: DH Walker on January 29, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Sleaze is sleaze...

I hate to dismiss it so matter-of-factly but unfortunately, in the world in which we live in today, with the media spigot running at full blast, it's only going to get worst before it gets any better. I feel that the only way you can change the nature of this style of "media" is to directly challenge it immediately whenever it sees the light of day. When Rather?CBS broadcast Bush's National Guard records it was immediately challenged by those on the right, justifiably too. That's not to say that the content of that report was not true but the report itself appeared to be wholey manufactured. So the right challenged the veracity of the physical report itself, not its CONTENT, and Bush waltzed on while Dan was forced to retire.

So challenge Mr. Kuhner at every turn. Make his name/his site journalistically equivalent to the National Enquirer. Then let's see how quick Rush and Fox News will be to citing his fairy tales.

Posted by: ny patriot on January 29, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

ny patriot: Then let's see how quick Rush and Fox News will be to citing his fairy tales.

Rush and Fox News have any shame? News to me.

Posted by: DH Walker on January 29, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

I am so glad that people like egbert are on the conservative, not the lberal side of the fence. What a deep thinker! What he doesn't seem to realize is that Hussein is an extremely common name in certain parts of the world - kind of like John or Smith is here in the U.S. If the best that the right-wing can come up with is to try to link Barack's middle name to Saddam or his last name to bin Laden, they are more foolish and desperate than I thought.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 29, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Just popping in for a couple of seconds to let you all know about a new twist on the "419" email scams. I don't know if anyone else has seen this yet, but if not, here is your heads up.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 29, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

That's like us electing John Hitler Smith after WWII.
Posted by: egbert

Egbert......Do you know that a nephew of Hitler served in the U.S. Navy during WW2?
Posted by: R.L.

Interesting historical fact.

Did you also know that the son and grandson of a man who supported the Nazis in violation of the Trading with the Enemy act became presidents of the United States?

Posted by: alex on January 29, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

It's tolerated and encouraged by our Republicontarian friends who relish agitprop support from the Murdock-Moon-Scaife axis. There is no such thing as a dollar to dirty for these people, nor is any smear&lie too low.
These people spend billions for their anti-American cause. The papers are nothing less than propaganda outlets for these proto-fascists.

Posted by: Mike on January 29, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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