Monday, March 10, 2008

Smearing Clinton again over Obama's religion

The mischaracterization of Sen. Hillary Clinton remarks over Obama's religion enters the realm of malignant absurdity. As previously documented at length here at The RealSpiel, Hillary never said Barack was a Muslim and left no doubt about it. But again today:

A March 10 editorial in the New York Post characterized as "cheap shots and low blows" Sen. Hillary Clinton's recent comments made in response to a question about Sen. Barack Obama's religion and asserted that "Clinton hedged on whether Obama is a Muslim." The Post then quoted only a portion of Clinton's response to 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft's question -- "You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?" In fact, during an interview on the March 2 edition of CBS' 60 Minutes, Clinton repeatedly made clear that she believes Obama is not a Muslim and likened the false rumors about Obama's religion to false rumors about her, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented.

From the Post:

Beyond that, there are the cheap shots and the low blows -- as, for example, when Clinton hedged on whether Obama is a Muslim, acknowledging that he isn't one "as far as I know."

Let's face it: The Hill-and-Bill machine has a record of scandal and sneakiness that runs all the way back to Arkansas. And the potential for dirty tricks is huge.

In fact, Clinton's first comment in response to Kroft's initial question on the subject -- "You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?" -- was: "Of course not. I mean, that's -- you know, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that." Kroft then said, "And you said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim." Clinton answered, "Right. Right." Only after Kroft again asked, "You don't believe that he's a Muslim ... or implying, right?" did Clinton respond, "No. No. Why would I? There's no ... No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know."

Additionally, the Post did not mention that during the exchange, Clinton equated the false rumors about Obama's religion to false rumors about her: "Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time."

You've got to laugh at a gutter tabloid that regularly delivers "cheap shots and low blows." Consider the source, folks.

However, a few rubes--perhaps prodded by political operatives--continue to obsess over five words from Hillary--as far as I know--reading dubious scripts into the phrase, inferring that it was a calculated ploy, a qualifier that perhaps, just maybe, Obama is a Muslim. What utter nonsense. As far as I know means based on what I know. . .according to what I know. . .as much as I know. . .from what I know.

Most likely, based on Clinton's own words, as far as she knows, there's nothing to the rumor because, as she further elaborated, she has been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. To take those five words--as far as I know--out of its context edits Clinton's full response for mendacious purposes.

Hillary-haters will infuse their own biased and specious fallacies as to what Clinton meant. They claim she hedged.

Saying, Of course not, is not a hedge.

Saying, there is no basis for that, is not a hedge.

Saying, I take him on the basis of what [Obama] says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that, is not a hedge.

Saying, No. No. . . is not a hedge.

To perpetuate the questioning of Hillary's words is not only intellectually dishonest, but the tactic is also an obsessively-driven attempt to demean and destroy Hillary Clinton.

But there's another exercise to misrepresenting Hillary's words: By doing so, the press casts doubt on whether Obama is a Christian by repetitiously haranguing Clinton and indirectly maligning Obama. This is how the game is played--dissembling words out of the mouth of another to concoct a smear attacking the ultimate target. It's a two-fer, a combination shot, and a sneaky dirty trick of our fetid press corps. Over and over the public hears maybe Obama is a Muslim. See how this ruse works?

Let's face it: The New York Post isn't esteemed for its journalistic integrity, the same Rupert Murdoch fishwrapper that falsely declared, AL GORE, LIAR is the same birdcage liner that compared Howard Dean to--quoting the Boston Globe’s Cathy Young--“Hitler, Goebbels, Lenin, Trotsky, and Brezhnev. It’s a wonder that Mao and Saddam Hussein didn’t make the cut.”

Two other examples of Post lies readily available from The Daily Howler:

Deborah Orin, The New York Post, 3/18/99: A few years ago, Gore boasted that he and his wife, Tipper, had been the inspiration for the tear-jerker Harvard romance, “Love Story”—he ate his words when the author said no way.

New York Post editorial, 3/19/99: Gore, recall, claimed that he and wife Tipper were the inspiration for the 1970s best selling novel “Love Story”—which came as news to the book’s author, Erich Segal.

And the truth:

In November 1997, Gore made a fleeting remark that turned out to be accurate; he said that he had once seen a newspaper story in which Eric Segal was quoted saying that the main characters in Love Story had been based on Gore and his wife. (The three had been friends when Gore was in college.) As it turned out, Segal had been slightly misquoted in the news report Gore had seen—the male character in the book was partly based on Gore, but wife Tipper had been no role model. . .

. . .Key point: Segal defended every word Gore had said. There had been a report like the one Gore described—and the male character in his book had been based on Gore.

I laugh at anyone who takes the New York Post seriously and I reject slimebags who truncate quotes to exploit political advantage.

This crap needs to stop. And now.