Friday, January 04, 2008

A Challenge for the Washington Post and the New York Times

It's time for them to step up to the plate and put their journalistic muscle to work proclaiming the accurate facts about Barack Obama.

This incident should not have happened.

Mark Halperin has posted a press pool report that recounts a scene in Iowa today where Barack Obama faced still more questions about his religion from voters who have no idea that he's a Christian:

He reached over the counter and shook hands with workers at the Subway sandwich shop.

Zanata Moore-El asked Obama if he was an atheist.

“I’m a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ,” Obama replied. “Don’t read e-mails.”

E-mails have circulated in recent weeks saying Obama is a Muslim or an atheist or took his oath of office on a Quran instead of a bible, none of which his true.

“I hated having to ask him that,” Moore-El said. “But I heard he was like an atheist. I don’t want a president who’s an atheist. I’m a firm believer in God. I just really wanted to make sure because I really wanted to vote for him and he has some good topics and everything.”

Just to hit this point again, this sort of stuff reminds us just how much is at stake -- and how much may be at stake again soon -- when we do things like demand that The Washington Post state firmly and unequivocally that rumors of Obama's Muslim past are false.

This could only get more pressing, not less. A recent poll found that more than 80% of Americans don't know that Obama is a Christian. If Obama becomes the Dem nominee you can bet that the rumors of his shadowy Muslim past will ratchet up a thousand fold. And if you don't think that this sort of thing can make a difference in a general election, you're kidding yourself.

As Greg Sargent noted "if one big news org's report aggressively call the rumors out as false, another report will follow suit, and another, and another, and so on. And just maybe we might end up with an electorate that's at least a tad informed on the question."

Here's a challenge to the Washington Post and the New York Times and the other influential news organizations of our country to step up to the plate and set the record straight in unequivocal terms.


Post a Comment

<< Home