Written by Cliff Kincaid
June 23, 2008
By Cliff Kincaid
What happens when the “fact-checkers” don’t check facts and the “watchdogs” don’t watch? Consider the case of those who claim to be watching politicians for lies and deceptions and pretend to analyze Senator Barack Obama’s new patriotic “Country I Love” television ad, airing in 18 states.
The Annenberg Political Fact Check, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz have written analyses of the Obama ad. But they are as flawed as the ad itself.
The Obama TV ad purports to describe his upbringing and legislative accomplishments but ignores his childhood mentor, Communist Frank Marshall Davis. While Obama associates Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn looked to Havana and Hanoi for their inspiration and guidance, Davis loved the old Soviet Union and refused to answer questions under oath about his Communist Party membership. He was a Stalinist.
Overall, there is a pattern of people who hate America showing up at critical junctions in Obama’s life and career to influence and advise him. But he wants us to believe that somehow American “values” have been instilled in him. By whom?
By airing his patriotic ad, Obama is trying to suggest that whatever associations he had with these and other anti-American figures, and whatever mysterious circumstances he may have been raised or trained in, he still managed to somehow become a loyal American. But how is this possible? Which pro-American political figures had any influence at all on his life and career? Would he please name some?
A reasonable interpretation of this ad, based on what we know about Obama so far, would have to conclude that it is the most deceptive commercial ever to air in the history of politics. It is designed to mask the fact that Obama, with all of his baggage, could not by any reasonable standard get a federal security clearance. But our media don’t have the basic integrity to point this out.
The Obama ad, which also touts his alleged legislative accomplishments, is curious for another reason. It ignores his costly pro-U.N. Global Poverty Act, now on the verge of full Senate passage.
The reason for the omission is obvious: Obama’s campaign understands that the bill, which commits the United States to spending more foreign aid money on the rest of the world, is not popular with the American people and would make him look like an anti-American globalist and socialist. This perception has to be avoided at all costs.
“America is a country of strong families and strong values,” Obama declares in the ad. “My life’s been blessed by both. I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn’t have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up.”
In fact, his white grandfather helped raise Obama by selecting Frank Marshall Davis, a black communist writer and poet, as a father-figure and role model while he was growing up in Hawaii. His values, passed on to Obama, were those of a communist agent who pledged allegiance to Stalin. Among other things, as Obama himself admits in his book, “Frank” told him that blacks had a reason to hate whites and that he should not believe that [expletive deleted] about the American way of life. Davis was an influence over Obama during the years 1975-1979. His “poetry” is viciously anti-American and pro-Soviet. And yet Obama listened to it growing up.
All of this has been well-documented in numerous articles by Accuracy in Media, based on information in Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father; books by and about Davis; and interviews with and speeches by those who had information about Davis’s role in raising Obama. Congressional investigations named Davis as a key member of the Communist Party USA involved in a Soviet network that also included actor Paul Robeson and labor leader Harry Bridges.
The Davis Connection
Professor Paul Kengor makes the essential point that the role of Davis in influencing Obama has to be taken into account.
“Davis and his comrades worked to undermine genuine liberal causes because of their lock-step subservience to the Comintern and the USSR,” he notes. “Modern liberals need to understand, for example, how the American communist movement, including men like Davis, flip-flopped on issues as grave as Nazism and World War II based entirely on whether Hitler was signing a non-aggression pact with Stalin or invading Stalin’s Soviet Union. The disgusting about-face by CPUSA on this matter was unforgivable. And what a shame that liberal college professors don’t teach this to their students. Liberals also need to know how their friends inside government were used by communists who sought victory for Mao Tse-Tung in China in 1949, which would lead to the single greatest concentration of corpses in human history: 60-70 million dead Chinese from 1957 to 1969.”
Does Obama understand the dangers of communism and socialism? It is not reassuring to consider that Obama obviously doesn’t want the public to know that his childhood mentor was a Stalinist member of a communist network in Hawaii. His “Country I Love” TV ad ignores it. But that’s why we are supposed to have outside “fact-checkers,” media watchdogs, and the media themselves.
Nevertheless, the Annenberg Political Fact Check project declares that Obama’s “description of his upbringing and work history are accurate.” It claims, “The basic details that Obama provides about his family are correct. His books and various news reports confirm that Obama was raised in Hawaii by his mother and grandparents, who were transplants from Kansas…”
Books and various reports? That seems rather vague. In fact, his book, Dreams From My Father, confirms that a mysterious “Frank” was a mentor, and that he was a significant influence over Obama after his father had abandoned the family. And this “Frank,” as we now know, was Frank Marshall Davis. But the folks at “Fact Check” pretend not to know. Perhaps they didn’t take the time to examine the facts. This project includes personnel formerly with CNN, Time magazine, and public broadcasting. But a more serious examination of their backgrounds reveals that some of the staffers have had affiliations with liberal causes, personalities, and candidates such as Common Cause, Bill Moyers, the AFL-CIO, and Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark.
Is there a left-wing bent here that has tainted their research?
The Post Gets It Wrong
The veteran Washington Post reporter, Howard Kurtz, takes a slightly different tack. He declares that the core message of the Obama 60-second spot “is designed to neutralize perceptions that Sen. Barack Obama is less than patriotic, in the wake of his earlier decision to forgo a flag pin and his wife’s comment about not having been really proud of her country before now.” Yes, that’s part of it.
He adds, “The images of his mother and grandparents with Obama as a child serve a biographical function for viewers who are not that familiar with his life story, while also illustrating the values?‘accountability and self-reliance’?that he wants to make part of his campaign message.”
A “biographical function?” Then what about Davis? What about associating with communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright? What about a pattern of associations with communists and socialists that runs from Hawaii to Occidental College to Columbia University to Chicago? This is where the ad completely fails to tell the truth.
Going beyond the biographical information, Obama claims legislative accomplishments. “That’s why I passed laws moving people from welfare to work, cut taxes for working families and extended health care for wounded troops who’d been neglected,” the ad shows Obama saying.
Kurtz counters: “Obama sponsored or co-sponsored?but did not ‘pass’?the welfare and tax measures but does not mention that these were in the Illinois legislature in 1997 and 2000. He sponsored congressional measures that helped hospitalized veterans, but in a relatively minor way: extending beyond 90 days the period in which they can receive free meals and free phone calls to family members.”
The Annenberg Fact Check project has similar criticisms of Obama’s claims about his legislative accomplishments.
The $845 Billion Bill
It’s true that Obama has inflated or “polished” his rÃ©sumÃ©. But what about his notorious Global Poverty Act? Why doesn’t Obama mention that? And why wasn’t this glaring omission mentioned by Kurtz and the Annenberg Fact Check group?
On February 13, Obama issued a press release hailing the passage of this bill by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Since it has already passed the House, it awaits a full Senate vote. So why wouldn’t Obama highlight this bill in his patriotic TV ad? The answer lies in the extreme pro-U.N. nature of the bill.
The bill (S. 2433) requires the president to develop a strategy using “international organizations” to implement the Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations to reduce poverty. It still includes an official reference to the “Millennium Development Goals” established by the United Nations Millennium Declaration of the U.N. General Assembly Resolution in 2000.
As I noted in a previous column, the bill does not attach a dollar figure and does not need to because that is contained in the 2002 so-called “Monterrey Consensus,” which grew out of the 2000 Millennium Declaration.
The Millennium Declaration, which was issued in 2000, specifically called for a “Financing for Development” conference, which was held in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico, and produced the “Monterrey Consensus.” The whole purpose of this event was to force countries to spend more money on foreign aid.
The “Monterrey Consensus” document coming out of the conference committed nations to spending 0.7 percent of Gross National Product (GNP) on official development assistance (ODA), otherwise known as foreign aid. It says, specifically, that “We recognize that a substantial increase in ODA and other resources will be required if developing countries are to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration.” It then goes on to call for “concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 percent” of GNP as ODA. It also proposes “innovative sources of finance” to pay for the increased foreign aid. That is a reference to global taxes.
My estimate, based on information in a column by Jeffrey Sachs of the U.N.’s Millennium Project, is that the cost is $845 billion over 13 years.
“We are short by $65 billion each year, which may seem like a vast sum, but it represents just 0.5% of our GNP,” says Sachs. Therefore, over a 13-year period, from 2002, when the U.N.’s Financing for Development conference was held, to the target year of 2015, when the U.S. is expected to meet the Millennium Development Goals, this amounts to $845 billion. Remember: this figure is based on their estimates of what the U.S. owes.
Obama and his media backers have been whining for months that I have somehow misinterpreted the provisions of his bill. But they have failed to produce a serious rebuttal of the facts I have presented.
Hiding the Truth
So the question remains: if the Global Poverty Act is not intended to fleece the American taxpayers, why wouldn’t Obama highlight the bill as his major legislative accomplishment in the U.S. Senate? This is a bill, I repeat, which has passed the House and a key Senate committee and is on the verge of full Senate passage.
The explanation has to lie in the fact that they don’t want people to understand that Obama is the sponsor of a massive foreign aid spending bill that attempts to siphon off hundreds of billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury to the rest of the world, in order to meet U.N. demands.
If the public grasped the nature of the bill and the fact that Obama was the sponsor in the Senate, they might come to some understanding of the nature of Obama’s political ideology and why Frank Marshall Davis mattered so much to him.
So Obama lies about his “values,” while self-described “fact-checkers” and media “watchdogs” ignore and distort the facts along with him.
This is quickly developing as the worst case in political history of reporters being in the tank for one candidate. No wonder former network news star Linda Douglass had the audacity to become an official spokesman for the senator.
As the campaign moves ahead, there will be some superficial criticism by the media of Obama’s claims about himself and his legislative record, such as we saw in the treatment of this ad, but the really damaging truth about his anti-American background and record will be sanitized or suppressed. In a preemptive strike, the Obama campaign has already made it known that any questions about his patriotism, associations, or far-left ideology will automatically be rejected in advance as “smears” or “lies.” So the media will probably not even bother to raise any questions of substance.
Fox News is the latest to go into the tank for Obama, after owner Rupert Murdoch declared him a “rock star” and his New York Post endorsed him in the Democratic primaries.
It will take courage to tell the truth under these circumstances. Fortunately, there are groups like AIM, with your help, that will do it.