I don’t know how any journalist can sleep at night after writing an article legitimizing a falsehood under the pretense of simply “reporting that the rumors are out there.”

Despite his denials, rumors and e-mails circulating on the Internet continue to allege that Obama (D-Ill.) is a Muslim, a “Muslim plant” in a conspiracy against America, and that, if elected president, he would take the oath of office using a Koran, rather than a Bible, as did Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the only Muslim in Congress, when he was sworn in earlier this year.

In campaign appearances, Obama regularly mentions his time living and attending school in Indonesia, and the fact that his paternal grandfather, a Kenyan farmer, was a Muslim. Obama invokes these facts as part of his case that he is prepared to handle foreign policy, despite having been in the Senate for only three years, and that he would literally bring a new face to parts of the world where the United States is not popular.

“Despite his denials”??? Don’t you mean despite the fact that the rumor isn’t true?

Presenting it as all a matter of opinion and perspective, rather than a matter of truth and lies allows this reporter to eschew all manner of responsibility for repeating what is a patently false charge about a presidential candidate. The media can’t bring itself to look closely at Rudy Giuliani’s use of city money to fund his affairs or his ties to mobster Bernie Kerik, but it sure as hell can find time to give equal weight to anonymous chain emails and debunked smears from Right wing publications. Romney can imply support for population based ethnic quotas in his cabinet, but don’t expect the MSM to pick it up the way it picks up conspiracy theories on Right Wing Message Boards.

An early rumor about Obama’s faith came from Insight, a conservative online magazine. The Insight article said Obama had “spent at least four years in a so-called madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.” It attributed this detail to background information the Clinton campaign had been collecting.

After Obama denied the rumor, Jeffrey Kuhner, Insight’s editor, said Obama’s “concealment and deception was to be the issue, not so much his Muslim heritage,” and he suggested that the source of the madrassa rumor was the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign denied the charge.

The article notes that Insight accused Obama of hiding his ‘Muslim ties,’ but doesn’t note that Obama wrote about living in Indonesia in his autobiography as well as writing that his father, while born a Muslim, was an atheist by the time Barack was born.

You know where I put something that I don’t want anyone to find out about me? In my bestselling autobiography.

Hey Mr. Perry Bacon Jr., as long as you’re going to report on the rumor, you might want to report on the fact that CNN debunked it days later by visiting the very school Insight had claimed was a “Muslim Seminary”.

On the January 22 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer aired a report “to debunk a possible smear campaign against Senator Barack Obama” and said that, by “check[ing] out the fact,” CNN was acting “as a serious news organization should do.” The report by CNN correspondent John Vause, visited “Barack Obama’s elementary school in Jakarta” and stated that he’s “been to madrassas in Pakistan, and this school is nothing like that.” (The report did not address the charge that Clinton was behind the story.)

Apparently the Washington Post isn’t a serious news organization. Ironically, Insight’s original coverage of the Obama/Madrassa rumors took the same angle, they claimed to be reporting that the rumors existed, not that they were true.

But since we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that none of the allegations surrounding Obama’s religious background are true, you would expect an article on said allegations to acknowledge that. But it doesn’t.

The article mentions that the allegations are on Snopes…

Another e-mail, on a site called Snopes.com that tracks Internet rumors, starts, “Be careful, be very careful.” It notes that “Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim,” and that “since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when you are seeking political office in the United States, Obama joined the United Church of Christ to help purge any notion that he is still a Muslim.”

…But doesn’t mention that even Snopes says they’re false.

Also, last time I checked, the Constitution of the United States of America said that there should be no religious test for public office. I wasn’t aware that not only are those running for president subject to a religious test, but all of the members of their extended family are as well.

But hey, maybe Mr. Bacon is just like Joe Klein, and doesn’t have the time nor the mental faculties to figure out what the facts are before he reports on them.

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