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“Barachnophobia” Strikes Again As Brit Hume Twists The Truth

Reported by Priscilla - June 19, 2008 -

As I have noted, the candidacy of Barack Obama is an abundance of riches for Fox’s slime machine as they get to play their anti-liberal/Democrat/African-American/liberal African-American and anti-Islam cards all while smearing Obama. I have also noted that Hume loves to validate whatever is on the right wing blogosphere and on June 16th he did just that.

Hume picked up a “hot” story that was making its way around right wing blogs. His “Grapevine” featured this little gem, sure to raise the hackles of God fearing folks in the Fox heartland:

"Barack Obama is a practicing Christian, married in a Christian church, whose children were also baptized in that church. His campaign has emphasized his faith in part to dispel what the campaign calls an online smear campaign which contends among other things that Obama was raised a Muslim. There is even a statement on his official campaign website reading, quote, 'Obama has never been a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.' But Obama's half brother is not so sure.” Hume added that “Malik Obama tells The Jerusalem Post that, if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.” And just to reinforce the suspicion of secret Obama Islam, Hume mentioned that the “article was also accompanied by an image of Malik Obama holding a photo of him and Barack Obama in Muslim dress — reportedly when the two first met in 1985.” (Comment: anything “ethnic” is very suspect in “America’s Newsroom.”)

Comment: When I first saw this, I googled all the necessary parameters and all I could find were repetitions of this “despite his Muslims background,” attributed to the Jerusalem Post, in all the usual right wing blogs, including the white supremacist VDare. In checking the Jerusalem Post story, it appeared that they were quoting from an interview that Malik Obama gave to Israeli Army Radio; but there was no audio or transcript of the interview. I decided to wait a couple of days to see if this story had legs and lo and behold, ABC’s Jake Tapper has the scoop.

Although the Jerusalem Post had taken the article off the website, Tapper has the cache (two sentences). As he points out, the paraphrase was used by conservatives to show that Malik was saying that Obama was “raised as a Muslim.” Tapper provides the audio of Malik’s responses during the interview. Tapper points out that “nowhere in there does Malik expressly say anything about Obama having a Muslim background. And nowhere does he "confirm" anything about Obama having a Muslim background.” Tapper says that the paraphrase was “sloppy” and the “interpretation” in the blogosphere is “not supported by the facts” (Didn’t you love the Brit Hume touch of “not so sure”?) But then, sloppy reporting, not supported by the facts, is part of Fox News’s modus operandi – especially when it comes to smearing Barack Obama. Though “Barachnophobia” isn’t listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it is a sickness that does seem to have infected “America’s Newsroom.”