The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, January 29, 2007

Hopefully the last word on the Obama/Clinton smear

The NYT ran a story yesterday that, while a bit overdue, was still welcome. It tracks the course of the short-lived (but much-touted by the likes of Limbaugh and Faux News' talking heads) story that Hillary Clinton's trenchcoated spies had discovered that Obama had been educated by Islamic extremists. False and false, but that never stops today's right-- no named source? No named reporter? No problem!

Jeffrey T. Kuhner, whose Web site published the first anonymous smear of the 2008 presidential race, is hardly the only editor who will not reveal his reporters’ sources. What sets him apart is that he will not even disclose the names of his reporters.

But their anonymity has not stopped them from making an impact. In the last two weeks, Mr. Kuhner’s Web site, Insight, the last remnant of a defunct conservative print magazine owned by the Unification Church led by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, was able to set off a wave of television commentary, talk-radio chatter, official denials, investigations by journalists around the globe and news media self-analysis that has lasted 11 days and counting.

The controversy started with a quickly discredited Jan. 17 article on the Insight Web site asserting that the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing an accusation that her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had covered up a brief period he had spent in an Islamic religious school in Indonesia when he was 6.

(Other news organizations have confirmed Mr. Obama’s descriptions of the school as a secular public school. Both senators have denounced the report, and there is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign planned to spread those accusations.)

That's just the opener, of course. It goes on to suggest that the Moonie Washington Times instructs the staff to ignore anything published by the Moonie Insight Magazine, to point out that Fox News pundits an with the story even though they were quite aware of its dubious provenance, and a whole lot of other stuff. The one question they can't answer is why in the world people keep voting for their side.