Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Truth Behind Obama's Madrassa

Did Hillary's researchers leak the story that Barack Obama started school in a fundamentalist Islamic madrassa in Indonesia?

Did Barack really go there?

Did CNN really debunk Fox's coverage of Insight's story.

The answers are: We'll never know, it appears so and most definitely not.

Hillary's crew denies the story came from them, but WashTime's Insight web site stands by the story:
On its Web site yesterday, Insight defended its report, saying, “Our reporter’s sources close to the Clinton opposition research war room confirm the truth of the story.” (This and other blockquotes from NYT)
"The story" in this case is (1) Clintonians leaked the story and (2) Barack went to a madrassa. But as long as Hillary denies being the source and doesn't accuse Barack as being brainwashed as a youngster, this story ends there.

As far as whether Barack went to the madrassa, the answer is yes, and it comes from a highly credible source: CNN, which was working to debunk the story:
CNN’s political director, Sam Feist, said he had seen the Insight report discussed on “Fox and Friends.” Mr. Feist said he wanted to determine the validity of what he said, if true, would be a “holy-cow political story,” so he sent a correspondent, John Vause, to Jakarta from Beijing. Mr. Vause’s report, broadcast Monday on CNN, described the Jakarta school as unaffiliated with Islamic fundamentalism. The school headmaster said it was a “public school” that did not “focus on religion.”
So CNN's debunking was only on the nature of the madrassa, not whether or not Barrack went there. In fact, by failing to address Barack's attendance, it is an admission of Barack's attendance.

So CNN apparently was unable to debunk the Fox and Insight story by reporting that he didn't go to the madrassa. And as far the headmaster's statement of curriculum, what do you think he'd say with international news cameras stuck in his face? "Oh yes, we teach the little ones how to blow themselves up here?" His statement proves or disproves nothing.

So, as it stands, both Barack and Hil have decried the story, but have presented no evidence that (1) Barack is not madrassa educated or (2) Hil's not up to dirty tricks. CNN tried to drag down Fox, but only showed that it continues to take the words of kind-talking Muslims on their face, without any second-checking.

One good thing has come out of this tet-a-tet -- one of the nastiest media quotes of recent time:
A Fox News spokeswoman, Irena Briganti, said CNN was mainly looking for publicity in attacking its higher-rated rival. Of Mr. Cooper’s comment, she said, “Yet another cry for attention by the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper.”
Cooper had been snide towards Fox earlier, saying:
Well, that's the difference between talking about news and reporting it. You send a reporter, checks the facts and you decide at home.
Nothing like letting thorough reporting go by the wayside in favor of a journalistic spat!

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