Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 31, 2009

FALSE POSITIVES.... I can only imagine how excited conservatives were yesterday afternoon after the White House released its visitors logs, detailing the thousands of people who've came to the White House since January. As the New York Daily News noted, "For one brief, shining moment, it looked like conspiracy theorists had found the mother lode."

The reason for the short-lived exhilaration was that the logs included names such as William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Michael Moore. True to form, several prominent conservatives pounced. The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb proclaimed, "I tried to warn you, America. Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers!"

As is too often the case, the right failed to think this one through. As Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, explained:

There's an important lesson here as well. This unprecedented level of transparency can sometimes be confusing rather than providing clear information.

A lot of people visit the White House, up to 100,000 each month, with many of those folks coming to tour the buildings. Given this large amount of data, the records we are publishing today include a few "false positives" - names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else. In September, requests were submitted for the names of some famous or controversial figures (for example Michael Jordan, William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly ("R. Kelly"), and Malik Shabazz). The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House.

Yes, someone named William Ayers visited the White House this year, but not that William Ayers. Someone named Jeremiah Wright stopped by, but not that Jeremiah Wright.

Conservatives got excited for nothing. Goldfarb's national "warnings" notwithstanding, there is no controversy here.

It's also worth noting that the Obama White House deserves some credit for embracing this level of openness and transparency. The Bush team, as you may recall, fought like hell to keep visitor logs shielded from public view. Obama's team is not only making the information available, it's putting all the information online. It's the most transparent White House ever.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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Comments

That's what they want you to think! But in reality, Barack Obama *is* Jeremiah Wright! Hahahahahahahahaha!!

Posted by: Christopher on October 31, 2009 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

See, I told you so...

Jeremiah Wright & William Ayers in the White House. Wright is probably telling The Chosen One how to put down whitie. Ayers is probably writing Obama's next book.

This is news that we can repeat & repeat & it is true!

So what if they are not the known Wright & Ayers! That does not matter to our corporate media and talking heads, who are prepared to repeat anything that can be interpreted as negative about The Chosen One. That does not matter to our base, who are prepared to believe the worst of Obama.

We lie.
We know we lie.
There are no penalties from our corporate media for lying.
Our base will believe any lie.
We will continue to lie.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on October 31, 2009 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm still waiting for a reasonable explanation of all the nights the male prostitute Jeff Gannon spent in the White House when W was President.

Posted by: par4 on October 31, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Nobody feels any pain
Today as I stand inside the rain
Everybody knows
That Baby's got new clothes
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls.
They take just like a cockroach , yes , they do
They makes lies just like a sociopath , yes , Oh yes they do
And they ache just like a festering sore , or a fractured hip
But they break just like a little 2 bit bore

Posted by: FRP on October 31, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many times Mickey Mouse shows up in the visitors sign n.

Posted by: martin on October 31, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush team, as you may recall, fought like hell to keep visitor logs shielded from public view.

I'm guessing all those Indian chiefs with Jack Abramoff weren't just sound-alike names.

Posted by: Danp on October 31, 2009 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Like Martin, I wonder how many times people named Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill visited the White House.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on October 31, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

.....anybody find Jeff Gannon's name in there? Any overnights?....oh my bad...that was the LAST administration.

Posted by: dweb on October 31, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Wait until they find the name of Vic Hitler on the list (apologies to Hill Street Blues fans...).

Posted by: artsmith on October 31, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

So what if "the" Bill Ayers shows up as a tourist and takes the public White House tour? Will he end up on one of these lists and give Fox a months worth of headlines over it?

Posted by: PO on October 31, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Any chance this "transparency" that makes your heart flutter will produce something of substance? Something like the HCR deal Obama has with Big Pharma? Or does that fall in the States Secret category?

Posted by: Chopin on October 31, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Chopin, @11:51,

My understanding is that the WH hasn't so much released the full visitors' logs, as released the specific names (or pages which contained them?) that they had been asked about. So, unless specific names of the PhARMA negotiators had been asked for, they might not have appeared on those released records.

Posted by: exlibra on October 31, 2009 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

The WH should have dropped in a few other names just for laughs...Mao Tse-Tung, Vladimir Lenin, maybe Ayn Rand...Mike Hunt. Imagine Megyn Kelly in a tizzy, "V.I. Lenin, Ayn Rand...Mike Hunt...yeah, like Mike Hunt ever visited the White House!"
Sorry, Halloween calls for sophomoric humor.

Posted by: Jeff Wenker on October 31, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Why would they include the names of White House tourists except to "hide in plain site" other visitors with business pending?

Posted by: Dale on October 31, 2009 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK
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