Melanie Phillips’ disreputable sources

September 17, 2008 at 10:45 pm | Posted in Barack Obama, U.S. Politics | Leave a comment
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For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, let’s go over this one last time. The ‘change’ Barack Obama believes in isn’t just a syrupy by-word for Bambiesque ‘ideals’ like diplomacy, resisting the urge to torture prisoners & restoring Habeas Corpus; rather, it’s a black-powered Marxist death cult determined to enslave ‘whitey’ and hasten the arrival of the End Times. At least, that’s what anyone who’s read Melanie Phillips’ blog over the past few months would be forgiven for believing.

Unable to get too excited about John McCain (she’s written more about Sarah Palin than the Straight Talkin’ One), Mel decided to focus her blogging prowess on uncovering all there is to know about the slippery Illinois Senator, speculating about Obama’s ‘Muslim roots’, the ‘Muslim roots’ of his ex Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and the ‘Muslim roots’ of shamed former associate, Antoin Rezko. Having done the whole ‘the Muslims are coming!’ thing to death, she’s tried a new tack in recent weeks, reminding her readers about his association with the ‘radical’ Saul Alinsky, the ‘radical terrorist’ William Ayers, and now the ‘radical, black Communist’ Frank Marshall Davis. So what’s this black Senator doing with all these radicals then? Well, obviously because he shares their agenda:

the agenda indeed of Gramsci/Alinsky: patron saints of community organisers, apostles of deeply underground mole-like revolutionary Marxism, architects of the wildly successful undermining of western morality and society in America and Britain — and now poised to embed itself in the White House, epicentre of the oppressive global capitalist regime, itself.

Join up the dots.

You can bet she felt very smug writing that part. Progressives don’t have anything to fear from the allegations made in Mel’s mega-series; most are second-hand recitations of long-debunked smears (she insists on citing 9/11 conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi despite the fact his book couldn’t even get the date of Barack & Michelle’s wedding correct), whilst the rest rely on the Guilt by Association fallacy. What does baffle me, however, is why she continues to do it. Does she not know that the sources for her smears are discredited? Is she aware they’re discredited but still believe them to be true? Or, worse, does she just not care whether the information she uses is sound or not? To illustrate, let’s look at the credentials of three men credited with the information in Mel’s last post:

Trevor Loudon: An ex-Vice President of New Zealand’s right-wing ACT Party, Loudon is a student of Zenith Applied Philosophy, a small Scientology spin-off founded by a guy who calls himself ‘John Ultimate’ and believes his home to be the centre of the universe. ZAP has attracted some controversy over its reported links with fascist organisations. When he’s not busy suggesting Obama is a Communist, Loudon can occasionally be found comparing cabinet ministers to Himmler.

Cliff Kincaid: Cliff is president of ‘UN watchdog group’ America’s Survival and editor of Accuracy In Media. Once funded by philanthropist of the far-right, Richard Mellon Scaife, AIM achieved notoriety in 2001 by ‘proving’ Bill Clinton had ordered the murder of Vince Foster, despite three independent investigations (including one by Kenneth Starr) finding no evidence for it. Ever eager to jump on a non-story to slime his enemies, in 07 Kincaid pronounced that the ‘Hillary is a lesbian’ lie was ‘as explosive’ as the lie about Obama being raised as a Muslim. Just for laughs, Kincaid also happens to believe that you can stop being gay as easily as you can quit smoking.

Herbert Romerstein: A lower-profile hatchet man than the others. Romerstein’s life’s work has been smearing people as unpatriotic, from his work investigating Un-American Activities in Congress, through to a line of books on the matter. He smeared the writer I.F. Stone as a Communist despite being the sole source for the accusation, and was described by decorated US attorney Martin Garbus as ‘utterly untrustworthy’.

These are the people Melanie Phillips cites, uncritically, to build her latest case against Barack Obama. Not exactly Woodward & Bernstein, is it? I have no idea whether Phillips’ continually clumsy hatchet job on Obama is due to laziness, naivety, delusion or just plain old partisan cynicism. But the last time I checked, there were still some standards of honesty & accuracy in the journalistic profession, and if Phillips can’t adhere to even the most basic of those standards, then perhaps she’d be better off resigning from her posts, taking up blogging full time, and retiring to the world of the hackneyed hard-right, where every conservative is virtuous, every liberal is evil and where nothing they say or write is ever, ever wrong.

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