Meanwhile, in Kenya, the author of an anti-Obama book has been deported. Presumably because he didn't have a valid work permit.
An American author, Jerome Corsi, was about to launch his book in Kenya. Corsi's "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality" says that Barack Obama is filled with "black rage," and that Obama was raised a Muslim and attended a radical black church.
FOXNews says that "The Obama Nation" uses "innuendoes[!] and false rumors," and repeated the facts of Obama's background.
The Obama campaign says that Corsi is a bigot who is peddling rehashed lies to hurt Obama in the U.S. presidential race.
I think they're both right.
Who Said That? Tracking Down FactsThe FOXNews article on Corsi's deportation included the URL for Fight the Smears: "Obama is a Christian who attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and his campaign picks apart the book's claims on the Web site FightTheSmears.com."
Fight the Smears dot com picks apart Corsi's book in "Unfit for Publication." I think that unmasking that collection of bias is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but in an election year a campaign has to do that sort of thing.
I looked around for a McCain equivalent of Fight the Smears, and found McCain Fact Check. Sounded promising: there was even the word "fact" in the website's name.
The website's "About Us" page says: "McCainFactCheck.com was built to create an objective platform where the public can find non-biased information regarding John McCain."
In the middle of the home page, right under the banner, there's a list of allegations and facts about McCain. Here's the first half-dozen:
- Does McCain have an illegitimate child?
No, McCain does not have an illegitimate child....
- Does McCain have the worst attendance record in the U.S. Senate?
Yes. McCain has missed 64% of the votes cast during the current 110th Congress....
- Did McCain publicly use racial slurs until recently?
Yes. During his 2000 campaign McCain said he'll hate the "gooks" for as long as he lives, though he later apologized....
- Was McCain unfaithful in marriage?
Yes. While married McCain courted a beautiful heiress 17 years his junior, whom he married a month after he divorced his first wife....
- Did Cindy McCain wear a $300,000 outfit to the Republican Convention?
Yes, says Vanity Fair, though mostly because of Cindy's $280,000 earings....
- Does McCain support overturning Roe v. Wade?
Yes, though during the 2000 campaign he made conflicting statements on the issue....
I like to know where facts come from, and whether they're facts, assumptions, or wishful thinking. So, I checked out who had registered those two domains.
- Fight the Smears is registered by Obama for America, at a North Michigan Avenue address in Chicago Obama Biden is also registered by Obama for America
- McCain Fact Check is registered as "Private" by DomainsByProxy.com, which has an address on North Hayden Road in Scottsdale, Arizona
- McCain-Palin 2008, has "Private" registration at DomainsByProxy.com, too
Loopy members of various political extremes notwithstanding, America isn't one of those places. If you're going to publish a website with a title like "My Teecher is Stoopid," or have opinions that you don't want your neighbors knowing about, private registration is a good idea.
Make that "anonymous" registration. Of course, in today's American culture, the words "privacy" and "anonymity" are used in almost the same way.
Which brings us to the Anonymous Expert.
'Return With Us Now to the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear: The Anonymous Expert Rides Again!With a cloud of dust, a flash of words, and a hearty "I'm an expert," the Anonymous Expert rides again.
I wish that unnamed experts and unverified 'facts' were a thing of the past, but they're not.
I'll give Jerome Corsi credit for one thing: He uses what I presume is his own name when he makes up 'facts' about Obama.
That McCain Fact Check website's facts may or may not have come from the same world I live in, but they look like they've been carefully selected, at best.
I don't have quite the same issue with the McCain - Palin 2008 website's "Private" registration as I do with the McCain Fact Check's. The McCain-Palin website has no pretensions about being unbiased: The website is very clear about its position on who should be the next president. McCain - Palin 2008 is obviously run by McCain supporters.
The McCain Fact Check, on the other hand, reminds me on those unnamed experts we read about in the news. Granted, journalists sometimes need to keep their sources confidential, but I'm a little more willing to believe an "expert" when that person is willing to be personally identified with an assertion.
I recommend using FactCheck.org, which "aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics" - and claims to be "a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania". It's registered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, although the address given is the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. Judging by how annoying to both (or all) sides FactCheck.org can be, I suspect that it actually is non-partisan. And I'd say that an organization interested in political deception and confusion would find more material in the capital than in Pennsylvania.
Best of all, the Annenberg Public Policy Center is a real organization, with a traceable history. So you can make up your own mind about whether what they say is worth reading, or not.
Riding Into the SunsetAnd so, it's time to bid adieu to this exciting tale of national politics, rumors, and assertions of unknown provenance.
As the stranger rides off, I turn to to a colorful townsman and say, "Who was that masked man?" He replies, "I thought you knew: that's the Anonymous Expert."
In the news (links added since first posting):
- "Kenya Reportedly Deports American Author of Anti-Obama Book"
FOXNews (October 7, 2008)
- "Anti-Obama author questioned by Kenyan officials"
CNN (October 7, 2008)
- "Crossing the Globe to Bring Down Obama"
LISNews Librarian And Information Science News (October 7, 2008)