March 11, 2009

The Obama Smear Machine Goes After Aaron Klein

Media Matters, ardent supporters of President Obama, seem to be behind an organized slime campaign against WND's Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Aaron Klein. Earlier today Aaron sent me a letter explaining what was going on. I've reprinted it below.

Let me make the disclaimer that I've become increasingly uncomfortable with WND over their dedication to the Obama birther nonsense and "questions" about eligibility which they actively promote. Shame on the editors of WND for promoting the conspiracy theory which puts them, in my mind, in the same boat as 9/11 Truthers.

Having said that, my familiarity with Aaron's work is pretty much limited to his published work about Palestinian terrorists. On this front, Aaron has done a bang up job exposing not only the real agendas of terrorists but also the complicity of Western nations in the funding of groups like Hamas. More recently he was instrumental in documenting Hamas support of Obama during the election and illegal funding of Obama from Gaza sources.

The issue at hand is about an investigation Aaron was doing over what appeared to be an organized effort by the Left of scrubbing Wikipedia of any mention of Obama's ties to left wing radicals. Those ties are well documented.

I should mention, however, that whoever is scrubbing Wikipedia of birther "questions" is doing a great job. Some accusations and "questions" are just so idiotic that they don't deserve public discussion except, perhaps, on their own Wikipedia page.

The difference? One is based on a factual relationship (Ayers, Wright), the other is based entirely on fiction (super-secret overseas birth) or convoluted legal theory (dual citizenship or very old statutes trumping the clear intent of the XIV Amendment -- see, for instance, Jose Padilla case for example of a person raised overseas, but by accidental virtue of birth is "natural born citizen") that has most lawyers --- schooled in the art of sophistry based on convoluted legal theories --- scratching their heads.

I'll let Aaron explain the rest:

The episode started two days ago, when I reported Obama's Wikipedia page was being scrubbed of criticism.

The article was picked up by Fox News, the London Telepgraph and was linked on Drudge.

My article noted that WND monitored Obama's Wikipedia page for one month and observed as criticism on all kinds of issues (Ayers, Wright, etc) was scrubbed. NOTE: This can easily be confirmed independently by simply going through the tens of thousands of attempted edits to Obama's Wikipedia page and seeing how a large number of critical edits are erased, including edits seemingly backed up with third-party media references.

Further, WND published a follow-up the next day noting many users were still being blocked from attempting to add key issues to Obama's Wikipedia page and other pages, quoting some users.

Indeed, WND has been flooded the past two days with e-mails from readers with their own "Wikipedia stories" of how they were barred from entering what they claim is legitimate, backed-up criticism on Obama's Wikipedia page.

My article also referenced one user who attempted to add backed-up material to Obama's Wiki page on Wright, Ayers, and even eligibility issues. That user's edits were erased within 2 minutes and he was barred from editing again on Wikipedia for 3 days.

After I received a query about that one user, asking whether it was me, I updated the article to reflect that indeed it was my researcher. I wanted to personally oversee whether indeed criticism of Obama was being deleted. I was investigating scores of claims e-mailed to me that Obama's Wikipedia page was being scrubbed of criticism.

For your information, often investigative journalists engage in exactly this kind of testing like seeing if they can bypass mandatory disclosures while donating to a candidate (several newspapers did this prior to the November election), or if they can register a dog to vote in Illinois. Thus, even if I had personally edited Obama's page as a test to investigate allegations of scrubbing, this is entirely legitimate journalistic practice.

Next, a fulltime anti-WND blogger named Terry Krepel, who also works for George Soros-backed Media Matters, put his spin on my scoop suggesting that I was the Wikipedian.

A few pro-Obama blogs yesterday (eg. Gawker, WI) seized on my one edit to falsely claim that I "manufactured controversy."

Their entire spin is based around my one test edit and somehow suggests that my article was manufactured due to my one edit being rejected at Wikipedia. In other words, they are claiming that I tried once to add something to Obama's Wiki entry, was blocked and then based my entire article of "scrubbing" on that one blocked edit. As if my edit wasn't investigating pre-existing claims of scrubbing; as if I didn't document how I observed Obama's Wikipedia page for one month and watched all sorts of things scrubbed. As if one cannot verify all of this by simply browsing the history of Obama's page to see how literally TENS of thousands of edits were scrubbed of controversy and how until I wrote on the issue, Ayers and Wright weren't even mentioned on Obama's page.

I also want to point out that after I wrote the story, I received the largest volume of emails ever sent to me for a single story. The e-mails mostly told of personal tales of having edits scrubbed from Obama's page. In other words, nothing was manufactured

Next, the Sydney Morning Herald joined the fray - with a totally false story.

I am now getting calls from some other (pro-Obama) reporters, all asking about this non-story; all because I dared to write something negative about Obama. Already, I am not exactly a hero to pro-Obama reporters. I first broke the story at WND about Ayers' and Rashid Khalidi's ties to Obama.

Also it was in an interview with me (and radio host John Batchelor) that Hamas infamously "endorsed" Obama, with Hamas' comments to me becoming a top theme in the presidential debate. So I dont think pro-Obama reporters mind smearing me.

Klein also has sent a retraction demand to the Sydney Morning Herald.

UPDATE: Terry Krepel chimes in and says: a) that he's not a fulltime anti-WND blogger -- inaccurate on Klein's part, but I didn't think he meant it literally; b) that Media Matters is not funded by Soros. I've retracted the part about Media Matters although I was under the impression that it was started with seed money from Soros? Sorry if I've been wrong about that. The larger point about Media Matters is that while it claims to be non-partisan it is just as non-partisan as, say, AIM -- meaning it has an overt ideological orientation.

Also, I have several irate conservatives (I'll withhold names) telling me that there is very good evidence that Klein's "researcher" was in fact Klein himself. I have no way to verify this, but the evidence presented to me seems fairly compelling.

I don't know, though, it seems like we are missing the forest for the trees here. Isn't the bigger issue here that Klein brings up that the Wiki is being scrubbed of anything that might put The One in a negative light? And there are thousands -- literally thousands -- of such changes?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:08 PM | Comments |