Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday Satire

Jon Swift swift-boats the swift-boaters. Here's a taste:
The media's job is to raise important questions about the candidates not provide simplistic answers. The American people can provide the simplistic answers on their own. So far the media has raised a lot of important questions about Barack Obama. Who is Barack Obama? Why is his middle name Hussein? Is he secretly a Muslim? Does he smoke? Does he work out? What is he wearing? If he were a tree, what kind of a tree would he be?

No one knows very much about Barack Obama. He has written only two books, which no one has ever read, and given very few interviews. Newsweek's Howard Fineman, in his remarkably insightful column comparing the Presidential race to a high school election, calls him the Mysterious Newcomer. "Presidential elections are high school writ large," says Fineman (his use of the word "writ" cluing you in to the seriousness of his metaphor; Pulitzer Prize judges, take note). As everyone knows about high school elections, the candidates with the least amount of gossip about them wins.

The mainstream media, which increasingly is taking cues from bloggers and chain emails, has begun to jump on the story of Obama's secret Muslim identity. Insight Magazine, which is owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, a religion that is not trying to take over the United States, as far as we know, has raised more suspicions that Obama is secretly a Muslim and attended a madrassa when he was young. It has also accused Hillary Clinton's campaign of trying to plant those rumors by quoting unnamed campaign "sources," which as any journalist knows are the most reliable sources of all. With this story Insight cleverly made two candidates look bad, Obama and Clinton, without having to actually prove anything.

Unfortunately, many members of the mainstream media are still operating under the old rules of journalism, which requires two unnamed sources with axes to grind before a story can be printed.
There's more... a lot more ... and the chuckles are worth it. But if you want to know what Barack Obama really said in his autobiography about his 'Muslim' experience check this out -- and then ask yourself, "Why would anyone with so much as half a brain watch Fox News?

Which brings us to Leonard Pitts' latest. The Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Miami Herald asks "President Obama?" Unsurprisingly, he sees the larger obstacles as "race and culture."

While mainstream media have seemed intrigued by, but not obsessed with, the senator's heritage, the same, unfortunately, cannot be said of the extreme right blogosphere. There, one seldom reads any reference to Obama that does not make reference to his middle name: Hussein. Then there are those who observe that only a single consonant separates his surname from the first name of the al Qaeda leader who launched the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

It is such nakedly puerile slander that your first response is to laugh. Then you remember how that same blogosphere managed to turn the war hero John Kerry into a ''traitor'' and the Texas Air National Guardsman, George W. Bush, into a war hero -- and it seems much less funny.

The normally sensible Mr. Pitts missed it here. As Jon Swift's satire shows, it isn't just the "extreme right blogosphere" that's behind such "puerile slanders." It's the mainstream media, to its shame. Media like Newsweek Magazine, Fox News, CNN, and Moonie-owned publications like Insight Magazine and the Washington Times.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

At one point my younger brother was offered a position for the corporation he was working for in Indonesia and conducted extensive research on living conditions, including schools, for his kids.

As recently as a decade ago, the available of choices were private religious schools, either Muslim or Catholic, and there weren't that many of either.

Based on that information, I would guess that Mr. Obama attended the school that was available where his family was living.

Madrasa, no matter how you spell it, means school. Not every madrasa is a Saudi-financed Wahhabi school like those in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Like Catholic schools, they have religious classes and are usually associated with a place of worship, but there is nothing sinister about them. Only a few are associated with nut cases.