RIGHT FALLS FOR ‘THESIS’ HOAX…. Right-wing pundit Michael Ledeen published an item this week on Barack Obama’s “college thesis,” which Obama allegedly wrote as a student at Columbia 25 years ago. Leeden cited some website, which ran a piece in August.
The paper was called “Aristocracy Reborn,” and in the first ten pages (which were all that reporter Joe Klein — who wrote about it for Time — was permitted to see), the young Obama wrote:
“… the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.”
That’s quite an indictment, even for an Ivy League undergraduate…. Maybe instead of fuming about words that Rush Limbaugh never uttered, the paladins of the free press might ask the president about words that he did write.
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh picked up on Leeden’s report, blasting Obama for the alleged paper.
The first sign of trouble was when Joe Klein noted that he’s never seen or written about Obama’s college thesis, and has “no idea where this report comes from.”
The second sign of trouble was when one stopped to notice that Obama didn’t write a senior thesis (though he did write a thesis-length paper on Soviet nuclear disarmament).
The third sign of trouble was when one clicked on the link that Leeden provided as support and found the word “satire.”
Yes, Leeden and Limbaugh got all worked up, trashing the president for a paper he didn’t write in college 25 years ago, relying on a satirical blog post. And for real entertainment value, notice what Leeden and Limbaugh did when they realized they’d fallen for a dumb joke — they blamed Obama anyway.
Leeden conceded he was wrong and apologized, but added, “It worked because it’s plausible.” Limbaugh said the text he touted was fake, but it didn’t matter because, “I know Obama thinks it.” Yep, even when they’re wrong, it’s only because the president makes it easy for them to be confused.
Remember, the Washington Post and New York Times are committed to paying much closer attention to what’s generating buzz among far-right talk-show hosts and bloggers. Here’s hoping the dailies noticed the Leeden/Limbaugh journalistic breakthrough.