It’s no surprise that the media are in the tank for Barack Obama, but the willingness of the New York Times to simply misrepresent the facts–while pretending to act as a fact-checker!–is pretty breathtaking. You may think the Times is an outlier, if not a joke, but I suspect that many more news outlets are prepared to follow the Times’s lead in flat-out misreporting the facts, if that’s what it takes to get Obama elected.
The Times story is “On McCain, Obama and a Hamas Link.” It takes John McCain to task for pointing out that Hamas has endorsed Obama. The Times reporter, Larry Rohter, says that John McCain has “again portrayed the Democratic contender as being the favorite of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group.” Of course, this is not McCain’s “portrayal;” it is an indisputable fact that Hamas has endorsed Obama and has said that it hopes he will be elected. But the paper’s most egregious error, in its campaign “fact check” column, is yet to come.
Rohter notes that charges and counter-charges have gone back and forth between the McCain and Obama campaigns, but Rohter judges that McCain is mostly at fault:
But important nuances appear to have been lost in the partisan salvos, particularly on Mr. McCain’s side.
McCain, Rohter writes, is guilty because he says that Obama has advocated “unconditional” meetings with Iran’s President:
[I]n a fund-raising letter sent out in April, a spokesman for Mr. McCain wrote: “We need change in America, but not the kind of change that wins kind words from Hamas, surrenders in Iraq and will hold unconditional talks with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.”
That, the Times says, is wrong. It quotes Obama adviser Susan Rice denying that Obama has advocated “unconditional” talks with Ahmadinejad:
Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state.
That’s good enough for the New York Times’s “fact checkers.” The problem is that, contrary to his campaign’s current revisionist effort, Obama plainly has advocated unconditional talks with Iran on several occasions. He was caught on YouTube doing exactly that during one of the Democratic debates. Not only that, Obama’s web site contains this statement:
Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.
Now that it is convenient for Obama to retreat from his conciliatory attitude toward Iran and other bitterly anti-American states, the Times is happy to help him cover his tracks, even though Obama’s own web site confirms that, exactly as the McCain campaign said, Obama has advocated talks with Iran “without preconditions.”
It will be interesting to see whether the Times corrects this column. Personally, I’m not holding my breath. I think we are about to witness a level of partisanship in the “mainstream” media that has not been seen since the era of professional news media began a little over a century ago. In the past, when newspapers like the Times have misreported facts, people have generally assumed it was, even if the result of bias, inadvertent. No longer. We have entered an era in which leading news organs will intentionally and persistently misinform their readers in order to achieve a political objective–the election of Barack Obama.
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