Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fox's Obamarama

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Apparently some people feel I'm being too hard on the poor folks at Fox News. And it's true, I have written some unkind things about the "we report, you decide" folks.

But recently, I've begun to think that maybe there's an opportunity for me in Fox's style of reportage.

First, a little background.

Recently, the Fox News folks were all a-twitter over reports that Barack Obama, U.S. senator from Illinois and recently declared presidential contender, had, as a child in Indonesia, attended a 'madrassa' -- a radical Muslim school where children are indoctrinated with fundamentalist ideology.

The story was originally broken by a right-wing magazine called "Insight," which happens to be owned by the same organization as the right-wing Washington Times. That organization, in case you didn't know, is the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, aka the "Moonies." You know the Moonies. Mass weddings. A funny little Korean man who says he's the Messiah. Those guys.

The report in Insight didn't name a single source -- just shadowy, anonymous figures alleged to be from the campaign of rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Well, it seems that unsubstantiated gossip in a tabloid owned by a bizarre religious cult is all it takes to create a headline story on the "fair and balanced" network. Fox anchor John Gibson breathlessly declaimed that the Hillary Clinton campaign had, and I quote, "outed Obama's madrassa past."

Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy thundered, "Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised -- spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father -- as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?"

There are a few problems with this story, however.

One, Obama wasn't raised by his father, he was raised by his stepfather, a Christian who worked for a U.S. oil company. Obama's birth father wasn't a Muslim, either. He was, in fact, an atheist.

Madrassas, in the sense of the radical Islamic academies sponsored by the Taliban, began in the late 1970s along the Pakistan-Afghan border during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, whereas Obama went to school in Indonesia in 1967. At that time, Indonesia's radical Muslim movement had been brutally suppressed by the Sukarno government, so it's highly unlikely that any radical Muslim institute of any kind would have been tolerated.

Any of these facts would have been easily ascertained by anyone at Fox News who'd bothered to take 10 minutes to look them up. These facts also might have been ascertained by any news organization that had taken the radical step of actually sending someone to look at the school. Anyone like, say, CNN.

CNN reporter John Vause, who'd investigated actual madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, went to Obama's alma mater, the Basuki school in Jakarta. What he found was a public school with Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist students, not at all unusual in Indonesia's multicultural society.

"We don't focus on religion," the deputy headmaster of the school, told Vause. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."

Wow. Actually checking facts. Actually interviewing someone who had a connection to the place. This could be the biggest innovation in journalism since the invention of the pencil.

When confronted with these inconvenient truths, Fox began to backpedal. The story, they now insisted, was not about Obama's supposed radical roots, but about Hillary Clinton trying a smear campaign. This must have come as a surprise to Fox viewers, like the one who called in asking questions like: "Is this guy going to believe that terrorists are our enemies?"

Well, there's also a problem with the "it's all Hillary's fault" explanation: There's not a shred of evidence to back it up, other than the unidentified sources alleged in the aforementioned Moonie magazine. Apparently, though, that's good enough for Fox News. To these people, "fair and balanced" translates into "we'll believe anything, as long as it slanders a Democrat. And the more Democrats you can slander in a single story, the better."

And thus, I saw an opportunity. A shot at my own 15 minutes of fame, if you will.

You see, I have discovered my very own blockbuster expose. I have heard from anonymous sources closely connected with the John Edwards campaign that Hillary Clinton is actually an android created in 1972 in a secret Communist Chinese laboratory and programmed to ascend to the presidency by the use of high tech mind-control rays developed from technology salvaged by the U.S. from a crashed alien spacecraft and sold to the North Vietnamese in 1972 by John Kerry.

There. The seed is planted. Now all I have to do is wait for Fox to pick it up, and I'll be famous as the guy that broke the story.

New York, here I come.

Hey, can you prove it didn't happen?

4 comments:

Steve Malley said...

I leave the country for a few years, and the Moonies take over. Remember when our biggest problems were Bill's cigar and Monica's dress? *sigh*

At least Fox is just misreporting on primary candidates. It's not like they're miscalling a Presidential election while it's happening, and in favor of the manager's cousin or anything...

Any chance mister I-got-drunk-and-shot-my-buddy-in-the-face is going to run on the Republican ticket?

*Love* your blog!

David Terrenoire said...

I was going to write about this but you beat me to it.

And I'm so happy because you did a hell of a lot better job on it than I would have.

Another terrific column. Hoo-uh.

Heidi / Regina / McLean said...

Chapter four in my 'Al-Kitab' from Arabic 102 class: Madarass means school. In fact, I wrote "He was my teacher in elementary school." for homework just this morning. So, apparently, I too went to madarass and therefore, should not be trusted with the presidency or any other sharp objects.

Anonymous said...

April 1, 2009

AP- WASHINGTON D.C. - In a move certain to fuel the
debate over Obama’s qualifications for the presidency,
the
group “Americans for Freedom of Information” has
released copies of President Obama’s college
transcripts
from Occidental College. Released today, the transcript
indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received
financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an
undergraduate at the school. The transcript was released by
Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a
suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of
California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro)
applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for
foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship
program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must
claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to
provide the smoking gun that many of Obama’s
detractors
have been seeking.

The news has created a firestorm at the White House as
the release casts increasing doubt about Obama’s
legitimacy and qualification to serve as president. When
reached for comment in London, where he has been in meetings
with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama smiled but
refused comment on the issue. Meanwhile, White House press
secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at the report stating that
this was obviously another attempt by a right-wing
conservative group to discredit the president and undermine
the administration’s efforts to move the country in a
new
direction.
Since Obama was then 18-20 yr. old Barry Soetoro...Obama
was AT THAT TIME , defined by the Financial Aid terms of the
Fullbright Scholarship in 1979, 1980, 1981...as a NON-US
CITIZEN and “foreign national”.
— Brianroy]

...Obama needs to provide original vital records or
certified copies of such records, as computerised documents
might be photoshopped. This is particularly important, as
representative of Hawaii health department, Dr. Fukino has
only released a statement, that the Hi Health department has
A document on file. She did not elaborate, what document.

Since HI statute 338 allows foreign born children of
Hawaiian residents to obtain Hawaiian birth certificates (as
it was reportedly obtained for Obama’s half sister
Maya
Soetoro, born in Indonesia) and those can be obtained based
on a statement of one relative only, such as grandmother or
grandfather (which of course can be biased), it is
imperative that the courts hear those cases on the merits
and that the law enforcement and judges finally start doing
their job and sign subpoenas for all of Obama’s vital
records.

If you have certified copies of any original documents,
please mail them to my office

Dr. Orly Taitz, ESQ,
26302 La Paz, ste 211
Mission Viejo , CA 92691.