Ohio Daily Blog

Just Can't Get Enough

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Obama Calls Out Fox News on "Madrassa" Smear

Greg Sargent at The Horse's Mouth has the full text of an appropriately aggressive memorandum issued by the office of presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), calling out Insight Magazine (owned by the conservative Washington Times) and Fox News hosts for pushing that ridiculous and patently false smear that Obama was raised as a Muslim and attended a "madrassa" in Indonesia. The story was thoroughly debunked by CNN, but Obama isn't content to leave any lingering doubts:
Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source ... . Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?” ...

If Doocy or the staff at Fox and Friends had taken [time] to check their facts, or simply made a call to his office, they would have learned that Senator Obama was not educated in a Madrassa, was not raised as a Muslim, and was not raised by his father – an atheist Obama met once in his life before he died.

Later in the day, Fox News host John Gibson again discussed the Insight Magazine story without any attempt to independently confirm the charges.

All of the claims about Senator Obama’s faith and education raised in the Insight Magazine story and repeated on Fox News are false. Senator Obama was raised in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother. ...

To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago. Furthermore, the Indonesian school Obama attended in Jakarta is a public school that is not and never has been a Madrassa.

These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of, and that Senator Obama is trying to change by focusing on bringing people together to solve our common problems.
As Sargent notes, the key thing is that Obama calls out the people who spread the rumor by name. His aggressive response sets a good tone for the rest of the campaign.

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At January 24, 2007 7:19 PM , Jill said...

Okay, all true. HOWEVER, don't you think that there should be something from him, if there hasn't been already (and I haven't been following this that closely so I don't know, maybe it's been done already), but don't you think he should be saying something like, And even if I WAS raised Muslim, SO WHAT?

Don't you kind of sort of think? I mean, otherwise, he's being a bit offensive to Muslims, no?


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