Peter Baker of the Washington Post blogs in defense of WaPo’s spreading lies about Obama:
Two furors stoked by the blogosphere over the last 24 hours neatly illustrate the changing political climate in the United States these days and underscore the depths of suspicion, anger and hostility out there as the country tries to pick a new leader. . . . [L]iberal bloggers ripped The Washington Post for publishing a story on untrue rumors that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is secretly a Muslim.
. . . [A]ny legitimate criticism and sober-minded discussion of the issues raised get drowned out by the loudest, most vituperative voices. The net result is not dialogue, but a contest of outrage.
That, my friends, is a textbook red herring. And, last I looked, CJR was not a vituperative liberal blogger and the CJR writer stated that “In The Washington Post this morning, reporter Perry Bacon Jr. wrote what may be the single worst campaign ’08 piece to appear in any American newspaper so far this election cycle.” And indeed, Baker has little substantively to say in defense of the WaPo story. This seems his best shot:
The reporter wrote the story because a voter in Iowa told him that Obama is a Muslim and he was struck that people remain so ill informed. . . . But somehow a story intended to debunk the false claims, trace their origin and explore the challenge they present the campaign in trying to quash them spawned a furious eruption among liberal bloggers accusing the Post of spreading the rumors.
This is disingenuous to say the least. I feel confident that the Obama campaign wasnot pleased with the story. Does Mr. Baker wonder why? Perhaps Lyndon Johnson can explain it:
[O]ne of Johnson’s favorite jokes is about a popular Texas sheriff running for reelection whose opponents decide to spread a rumor that he f[***]ks pigs: “We know he doesn’t, but let’s make the son of a bitch deny it.”