Media Matters For America vs. An Ordinary AmericanBy Jack Cashill
With the creepy mischief of Media Matters for America (MMFA) much in the news, I thought it might be useful to show how the Soros-funded MMFA conspires to keep even a semi-obscure, self-employed scribe like me in check.
As far as I can tell, I first ambled into MMFA's sights in October 2008 with my research into the authorship of Barack Obama's acclaimed 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. To be fair, the tone of the first MMFA posting was relatively civil, even if the content was simplistic to the point of silly.
Working off an article of mine in American Thinker, Rush Limbaugh had claimed there was no evidence Obama wrote anything before Dreams "except a poem." Some unnamed MMFA researcher huffily chastised Limbaugh. "Obama reportedly authored an article for the Harvard Law Review in 1990," he wrote. In fact, it was a case note, not an article, and the word "reportedly" is well advised as the piece was unsigned. Other early Obama writings would surface in the months to follow, and they would only confirm Limbaugh's point that Obama was not a writer.
In any case, the notion that Obama could move easily in just five years from writing an obscure case note to a book that Time Magazine would call "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician" did not seem to trouble the goodthinkers at MMFA.
My name surfaced again a year later in a post titled, "Hannity, Andersen advance discredited claim that Ayers helped Obama pen his autobiography." The Andersen in question is Christopher Andersen, a mainstream celebrity biographer whose bio, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of An American Marriage, had just debuted on the bestseller lists.
Andersen shared the fact with Hannity that he had sources within Hyde Park who told him that "Bill Ayers helped [President Obama] with his book Dreams From My Father."
MMFA quickly shot this down: "An Oxford professor who conducted a computerized analysis of Obama's book and Ayers' memoir Fugitive Days at the suggestion of former Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) reportedly found that it was 'very implausible' that Ayers helped Obama write his autobiography."
In this case, the MMFA had moved beyond misleading to flat-out lying. Based on his citations, the unnamed researcher had to know that it was not Cannon, but Cannon's brother-in-law, Bob Fox, who approached the Oxford professor. When Fox was unable to come up with the money to commission the research, the professor, Peter Millican, ran to the London Times with his hot scoop about a Republican conspiracy.
Millican did not do a computerized study. As he admitted, Oxford would not let him proceed without payment. I am not even sure Millican read the relevant books. In fact, when criticizing the three parallel stories that I had found in the work of Ayers and Obama, he claimed that "the charge of plagiarism could only be directed at Ayers" because Dreams was written before Ayers's 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days.
The problem for Millican was that all three of the Ayers excerpts made it into print in other books written before Dreams. None of them came from Fugitive Days. In his haste to break the story before the election, Millican made an embarrassing gaffe. I wrote about this in detail at the time, quoting extensively from Millican emails. MMFA simply ignored it. The MMFA researcher also ignored the fact that Andersen got his information not from me but from two Hyde Park sources.
MMFA had no compunction about spreading its knowingly false nonsense throughout the rest of the media. When WND, for which I write a column, hired a publicist to raise awareness about Andersen's book, he kept hearing about the "Oxford study." We made no headway at all, not even among conservative outlets. Although scores of mainstream new sources reviewed Barack and Michelle, not a single one even mentioned its most newsworthy item.
I seem to have earned my own MMFA Hate Week in February 2011 when my book Deconstructing Obama came out. In that Simon & Schuster published the book, and the book-length format gave me the space I needed to make the overwhelming case for Ayers's involvement in Dreams, MMFA had to take me down quick and hard. As case officer this time, I got not some unnamed cub propagandist as in the past, but MMFA's "deputy research director," Simon Maloy.
Maloy titled his review, "Deconstructing Obama: Avant-Garde Idiocy." It hit a week after the book came out. There was nothing civil about it. "I've never encountered anything -- on the left or the right -- so aggressively stupid, so terminally self-unaware, so pathetically festooned with self-aggrandizing tripe as Deconstructing Obama," wrote Maloy who proved, at least, his talent for invective.
Although Maloy restricted himself largely to random agitprop -- e.g. "intellectually and morally offensive screed" -- he did occasionally get specific. In one instance, he scathingly observed that my "candidates for Obama's 'real' father include Malcolm X and Jimi Hendrix."
This was impressively dishonest even by MMFA standards. I talked about Malcolm X only to debunk theories that he was the father. "Malcolm may have been the least likely candidate of any race to sire Obama," I wrote and explained why.
I jokingly introduced Hendrix "for those who insist on a celebrity father" in what I called a "Paul-is-dead" spirit. I concluded, "I can envision the mirthless Huffington headline now, 'Whack job from Web's farthest lunatic orbit says Hendrix Obama's father!'"
I wrote that last sentence to discourage the mirthless left from deliberately taking my Hendrix comment out of context. Maloy may have though it only applied to the mirthless left at the Huffington Post.
Predictably, Maloy's dissembling encouraged the MMFA readership to howls of laughter and heaps of profanity. Wrote one typical respondent on the Hendrix/ Malcolm X paternity claim, "Why would someone even suggest that? Unless of course they are seriously f***ing stupid."
I did not worry about the respondents. I worried about MMFA's ability to intimidate editors into not assigning Deconstructing Obama for review. I worried with good cause. To date, even though my thesis is widely accepted on the right, not a single conservative publication has reviewed it, not even to challenge the thesis. Other than a quick MMFA-style hit in the Washington Post, no mainstream publication has reviewed the book either.
Those broadcast outlets that invited me on the air did so at their own peril. Here are a few of the MMFA titles that my appearances spawned: "Fox & Friends: A Loving Home For The Right's Craziest Conspiracy Theories;" "Doubling Down On The Crazy, Fox Promotes Cashill's Insane Obama Conspiracy Theories;" and "'Where's the Birth Certificate?' Fox's Kilmeade Hosts Obama Conspiracist Jack Cashill." The fact that I did not talk about Obama's birth certificate apparently did not matter much in the truth-free halls of the MMFA.
Hats off here to Fox & Friends for risking MMFA's scorn on my behalf and for challenging MMFA on the air. Kudos too to liberal Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz for publicly saying that MMFA could be the 2012 campaign's Jeremiah Wright.
Now if only our conservative Beltway brethren could get their cojones out of deep freeze and join the Daily Caller's fight, we could start planning out inaugural balls.
FOLLOW US ON