AP: Obama’s stalwart water carrier *UPDATED*

The AP does it again, serving as Obama’s water carrier.  Here’s the set up:  Jerome Corsi’s book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, instantly shot to number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Panic ensued.  First, the New York Times attacked it, pointing to three minor errors, along with ominous hints that there were other mistakes in the book.  Now the AP has gotten into the act, taking as verbatim truth the Obama campaign’s own challenges to the book.  The only problem is that the facts that the AP attacks on Obama’s behalf are true.  Here’s a bit of a fisking:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama hit back Thursday with a 40-page rebuttal to the best-selling book “The Obama Nation,” arguing the author is a fringe bigot peddling rehashed lies.  [Have you noticed that anyone who challenges Obama is a racist?  Today's Best of the Web, in the "Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar" section, has some great examples of the way in which Obama's water carrier's sexualize political attacks against him on the grounds that they carrier some bizarre racial subtext.]

Jerome Corsi’s anti-Obama book, “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality,” claims the Illinois senator is a dangerous, radical candidate for president. The book is a compilation of all the innuendo and false rumors against Obama — that he was raised a Muslim [Obama was enrolled at an Indonesian school as a Muslim and received instruction in Islam which, in my mind, counts as "raised Muslim."  It doesn't mean he was or is a practicing or believing Muslim, and I really don't care about his religious instruction when he was 9, but it's not a falsehood], attended a radical, black church [which part of Rev. Wright and black liberation theology doesn't the AP understand?] and secretly has a “black rage” hidden beneath the surface [If Ann Coulter's skewering of Obama's book is accurate, there's nothing very hidden about it].

In fact, Obama is a Christian who attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.  [That introductory clause at the beginning of the sentence ("In fact") implies that the AP is going to set the record straight and explain the truth behind the alleged lies.  Being familiar with the actual facts behind that throat-clearing, though, I can only say, "Objection, your honor, non-responsive."  As you'll note above, Corsi said Obama was "raised a Muslim," which is true for a part of his life.  That he is now a professed Christian has nothing to do with the truth about his upbringing.  Additionally, please note how the AP names the Church with a certain reverence, as if its very name puts the lie to statements about the church's radicalism or Obama's black rage.  Both his church's radicalism and Obama's rage however, are well documented, often from Wright's and Obama's own mouths.]

[snip]

Obama’s campaign says the book is full of factual inaccuracies that include the wrong date for the Obamas’ marriage. [To which I say BFD.  That is not a substantive error and would matter only if it was part of some salacious argument that Obama's oldest child was conceived out of wedlock which is obviously untrue, not to mention irrelevant.]  Corsi also writes that Obama left much of his family background out of his autobiographies — his father’s polygamy and alcoholism, his sister’s birth in Indonesia and that his then-fiance Michelle accompanied him on a visit to Kenya — but the campaign points out page numbers from “Dreams From My Father” where Obama discussed all those things.  [As to this, I have no facts, although I can't help wondering whether Obama referenced these facts in romantic or oblique terms.]

In “The Obama Nation” — the title is a twist on the word abomination [Wow!  I would never have figured that out without AP's help, so I must be -- or AP must perceive me as being -- really stupid] — Corsi catalogs various allegations that have haunted Obama on right-wing blogs and anonymous e-mails.  [Well, so far, the three major allegations alleged are . . . wait for this . . . true!]

Corsi suggests, without a shred of proof, that Obama may be using drugs today. Obama has acknowledged using marijuana and cocaine as a teenager but says he quit when he went to college and hasn’t used drugs since.

Corsi makes an issue of the fact that, before he quit smoking cigarettes, Obama didn’t want it widely known that he smoked. “If Obama takes pains to hide his smoking from us, what else does he take pains to hide?” Corsi asks in the book.  [That's an excellent point about Obama's penchent for hiding things that are not so nice about himself.  It's a lack of openness and honesty that makes one desire corroboration from sources other than Obama himself.  I still think it's a weak point on Corsi's part, but having been burned with Clinton's repeated assurances of sexual fidelity, it's a bit hard to take someone's word on embarassing subjects, such as sex and drug use.]

Corsi also dwells on Obama’s mother marrying Obama’s African father and later marrying someone from Indonesia — whom Corsi describes as “a second man of color to be her mate.”   The Obama campaign says the description is one of many examples of Corsi’s “offensive language” in the book.  [Is the problem "man of color" or "mate?"  I thought "man of color" was the PC term.  "Mate"?  I don't know.  Is this just poor writing in lieu of the word husband or is Corsi trying to imply something animalistic?  Frankly, I read it as poor writing (a cigar is just a cigar), but I have no doubt that in Obama's world it's being viewed as tantamount to saying "woman marries ape."]

He claims Obama received extensive Islamic religious education as a boy in Indonesia, education that was only offered to the truly faithful. Actually, Obama is a Christian and as a boy he attended both Catholic school and Indonesian public schools where some basic study of the Koran was offered.  [As I pointed out, above, it's irrelevant that Obama is a Christian today.  Corsi is right that, as a child, Obama was registered as a Muslim at his school, and that he received regular instruction in Islam as part of the school curriculum.  It's very Left to point to the present and try to use it to disprove the facts of the past, isn't it?]

There’s more, but I’m not going to fisk it.  The above shows quite clearly just how stupid the AP thinks we are.

I doubt that Corsi’s book is very good scholarship, I’m sure he’s made careless errors, and there’s no doubt that it’s an attack book aimed at bringing Obama down. The problem is that the actual errors called to our attention are minor (marriage dates, for example), the so-called corrections Obama/the AP make are often false (he was raised as a Muslim; he did belong to a black rage church), and the bottom line is true: Obama is a political radical. As I’ve often said, he’s not black, he’s Red.

Trial lawyers are taught and repeatedly reminded that no case is perfect and that the smartest thing to do when you know your client has problems is to acknowledge those problems immediately and explain them (or apologize them) away.  This straightforward approach invariably makes it look as if the problems aren’t a big deal at all and it allows you to control the discussion, not your opponent.  Denying these same problems just makes you look stupid, makes you look as if you think the judge and the jury are stupid, shows you up to be a liar and, worst of all, highlights things you’d rather downplay.  The AP’s weak efforts here perfectly illustrate just how sound that legal advice is.

UPDATEPeter Wehner points out that there are definite problems with both Corsi and his book.  I don’t doubt that this is true, as I already noted in the second to last paragraph of the post, above.  I also haven’t read Corsi’s book, Obama’s defense, or even Obama’s own books.  The only thing I have read was the AP story and this post criticizes it for its prima facie flaws and biases.

UPDATE IIMore lousy — indeed, creepy — stuff about Corsi, which still doesn’t detract from my point, which is that AP, on Obama’s behalf, mounted a lousy and dishonest attack against Corsi’s arguments.

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  • Ymarsakar

    In this case, the AP is the judge, jury, and executioner, Book. So this changes their strategy from being “weak” to being workable.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Good point, Y.

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  • SharpsRifle

    Absolutely excellent critique! You definitely have al-AP’s number!

  • Ellie2

    I *have* read The Obama Nation and also Dreams of My Father. I didn’t post either as recommended in your Books section.

    But I fail to understand why you feel the need to slime (or pass along other’s slime of) Jerome Corsi. What do his “creepy” thoughts have to do with the truthfulness of his book? To me this way of thinking is waaay creepier: he has doubts about the attacks on 9/11, therefore his reporting on BHO must be false.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Often, Ellie2, the messenger and the message are inextricably intertwined. We recognize it with someone like Michael Moore for example: his known unreliability as to some things makes him presumptively unreliable as to all things. In other words, we feel compelled to check each of his factual assertions to determine their veracity. Someone whose word we trust doesn’t force us to leap through these hurdles.

    To the extent I believe the 911 Truthers are absolutely and completely wrong, the fact that Corsi believes in them makes me doubt his reliability. The same holds true for his attack on the Pope, which is at odds with everything else I’ve ever heard about the man. History may show Corsi to be right on both points, but I doubt it. That means that, to my mind, Corsi’s credibility and judgment are suspect. I have to review independently everything he asserts.

    What’s so funny with the AP story, though, is that it managed to take the few things Corsi asserts that are known truths, and to fashion lies around them. It seems to me that Corsi is a much easier target. To attack the Muslim story (which is true), and to attack the angry black Church meme (which is true) is just so stupid. It’s like hurling a spear at tank, instantly of planting an explosive underneath it.

  • Ymarsakar

    To attack the Muslim story (which is true), and to attack the angry black Church meme (which is true) is just so stupid. It’s like hurling a spear at tank, instantly of planting an explosive underneath it.

    The really dangerous people are the ones who will try to do exactly that with a spear and tank.

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  • Ellie2

    Reviewing — or crikey even refuting — anyone’s assertations is what’s desired. Ad hominum attacks are the tactics of the mindless. What’s the old saying, something like “Answer the charges if you can. If you can’t answer them, insult the person making them.”