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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Of Corsi Lies

An editorial from the local paper on the new book smearing Obama with lies:

Return of the swift boater, Editorial, Register Guard: You’ve got to hand it to Jerome Corsi. Not only did he manage to debut in the No. 1 spot on The New York Times best-seller list with his book-length smear of Barack Obama, but he also has played the media like a Stradivarius.

Capitalizing on his success four years ago as a key figure in the swift boating of John Kerry, Corsi once again is capturing priceless political coverage that further propels book sales and keeps his grab bag of lies, innuendo and character assassination front and center in the presidential campaign. He has appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and had major stories and editorials on his book published in dozens of leading U.S. and international newspapers.

Rarely does such obvious media manipulation succeed so effortlessly without promising exclusive photos of Brangelina’s new babies. We take the bait because we must. The media are obliged to vet the charges and countercharges that ping-pong through a presidential campaign.

As Obama has discovered painfully, deliberately repeated misinformation is difficult enough to combat with irrefutable evidence. Left unchallenged, it can undergo the Joseph Goebbels’ transformation — repeat a lie often enough and it becomes truth.

That’s why the Obama campaign wasted no time pushing back hard against Corsi’s book, “The Obama Nation,” a title that is a deliberate play on the word “abomination.”

Because of the virulent misinformation that has circulated on the Internet about Obama since his rapid rise to the top of the Democratic ticket, his campaign has developed a rumor-debunking Web page called “Fight the Smears.” On that page is a link to a 40-page rebuttal to Corsi’s 384-page book.

In addition, John Kerry’s political action committee has launched a new Web site called Truth Fights Back to “fight against the right-wing smear machine.” It devotes significant space to “making sure Jerome Corsi doesn’t get away with his lies unchallenged.”

Corsi shouldn’t get away with much of anything unchallenged. He’s a staff reporter for the hard-right World Net Daily, where the Web site features an item headlined “Astonishing photo claims: Dead Bigfoot stored on ice” and another that announces “Big Macs fund training for homosexual activists.”

Corsi is well-known for his intemperate remarks. He has referred to Arabs as “ragheads,” called Pope John Paul II senile and characterized Islam as “a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion.”

Just one example of Corsi’s technique in “The Obama Nation” is enough to give readers a sense of the kind of pejorative manipulation of information he uses throughout the book. In a discussion of the drug use Obama disclosed in his autobiography and acknowledged discontinuing at age 20, Corsi adds, “Still, Obama has yet to answer questions whether he ever dealt drugs, or if he stopped using marijuana and cocaine completely in college, or whether his drug usage extended into his law school days or beyond.

“Did Obama ever use drugs in his days as a community organizer in Chicago, or when he was a state senator from Illinois? How about in the U.S. Senate?”

How about last night? Why is Barack Obama afraid to confirm for the American people that he did not snort $1,000 worth of high-grade Colombian cocaine last night?

The news media may be forced to pay attention to such horse pucky in its efforts to set the record straight, but the public could drive a stake through the heart of the whole monstrous process by simply refusing to buy the book.

One thing, and I'd hope the editors know this, the public could refuse to buy the book, but I'm not sure that would be enough to stop them from becoming "bestsellers". As I understand it, these books are propelled to the top of the best seller list in large part by bulk purchases from interested groups. A conservative group will purchase a large quantity of the books (for far less than the cost of, say, a TV ad - they get the books at a discount), then hand them out to people who might be susceptible to the lies in the book. So there is a double benefit - the media is manipulated into thinking it is a "bestseller" and it gets lots of attention ("We take the bait because we must"), and lots of copies of the book find their way to people who are vulnerable to being manipulated by the book, but wouldn't have purchased it themselves.

The New York Times best-seller list does count corporate sales, etc., in its rankings, but it notes when a book's sales have been influenced by these factors. Unsurprisingly, Corsi's book has a footnote attached to it saying "A dagger (†) indicates that some bookstores report receiving bulk orders." So they're at it again.

Maybe a liberal group should consider, as part of an aggressive pushback against this, a large buy of one of the books on McCain and fight fire with fire. You may not have heard of the books about McCain (ask yourself why), but there are plenty to choose from.

Finally, the McCain campaign, in a show of just how honorable they are, has refused to denounce the book which has been summarized as arguing:

The Democratic candidate is a deceitful jihadist drug addict who, if elected, plans to impose a black supremacist, socialist regime.

I guess we'll have to depend upon the media's "efforts to set the record straight":

The media are obliged to vet the charges and countercharges that ping-pong through a presidential campaign.

Yeah, right. The last election shows just how effective the press is at getting the truth out there rather abetting the creation of a false narrative.

So how should Democrats react? What should they do differently this time?

    Posted by on Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 12:00 PM in Economics, Politics, Press | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (34)

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