Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama-Fawning Continues At MSM

Barack Obama said something that sniffed a bit like a whopper today -- and not the hamburger kind. Not that anyone in the media bothered to question it.

The story is all over the media, from an interview Obama gave to The Advocate, a gay newspaper. In it, he says he'll do what he can to make military life better for gays, and criticizes "don't ask don't tell" thusly:
"We're spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need. That doesn't make us more safe."
Really? We've been kicking out Arab speaking gays? I'd like a bit of verification, please.

I'm not sure about "don't tell," but reporters sure have a "don't ask" attitude about Obama. Outlets that have run the story without fact-checking the quote include CNN, the Guardian,, Town Hall, Fox News, The Boston Globe, and Stars & Stripes -- all of them, and many, many more carrying the same AP story without a question.

As it turns out, a second or two on the good ol' WWW could have given reporters an initial, iffy answer to the question, if they had thought to ask it:
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has only six (6) fluent Arabic speakers out of 33 who speak Arabic. Yet, despite the Bush administration’s lip-service to a need for more Arabic speakers, the U.S. military has fired over two dozen linguists for being gay: 20 were Arabic linguists, 6 were Farsi linquists. (source)
Even if the statement is true -- it's linked to a Carpetbagger Report post that links the source for the quote to The New Republic (hardly a credible source!) via a broken link that lands you on the home page, where a search for "pentagon linguists arabic" lands you nothing.) -- it's disingenuous.

The number of fluent Arabic speakers in the Baghdad embassy is a useless piece of information deliberately used to make the problem appear big because the number is so small. But there are linguists elsewhere besides the embassy, from Forward Operating Bases to Central Command to the NSA.

But at least I asked the question. I thought the days when reporters grabbed the news releases from the candidates and ran them without a question ended with Watergate. But I guess that only goes for Republicans.

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