Media protect 'literary lion' Obama

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©Jack Cashill - September 26, 2009

Although the major mainstream media organs have yet to address the claim in Christopher Andersen's new book, "Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage," that Bill Ayers helped Obama write "Dreams From My Father, the media trench diggers are busily building a firewall.

The alleged media watchdog Media Matters claims that the theory had already been discredited. They cited an Oxford professor who performed a "computerized analysis," which indicated it was "very implausible" that Ayers helped Obama.

In reality, some well-meaning Republican politicos hoped to contract with Oxford prof Peter Millican to do a computerized analysis before the 2008 election.

When they failed to come up with the requested $10,000, Millican ran to the the London Times. He told its editors "how he was drawn into a plot to link the Democrat to a former radical."

The London Times obliged Millican with the cheesy headline, "How they tried to tarnish Barack Obama." Bottom line, there was no "computerized analysis," just the politically inspired pique of a goofy Oxford don.

For Media Matters, this was enough to discredit Andersen's detailed inside account of how Ayers came to be involved in Obama's otherwise failed effort to finish a book he had started five years earlier.

Politics Daily blows off Andersen's revelation in one sentence: "Andersen suggests, with no proof or attribution, that Obama managed to 'submit a manuscript' for his memoir 'thanks to the help from the veteran writer Ayers.'"

True, there is no attribution, but the level of detail suggests an inside source who obviously did not want to be named. Andersen would have had to be a total liar and fraud to contrive the story line he did.

Andersen's highly successful career as a celebrity journalist argues strongly against such an interpretation.

The Washington Independent's David Weigel, who does not appear to have read Andersen's book, feels free to dismiss Andersen's claim because he credits me as a source.

To trivialize my contribution, Weigel cites one point of comparison between Obama and Ayers – their mutual use of the phrase "behind enemy lines" to establish their place in capitalist America – as though I had not also listed hundreds of other such comparisons, many much more compelling.

Had he read Andersen's book, Weigel would have seen that his retelling of the story was based not on what I had written but on what Andersen had been told by someone very close to the action.

"I think it's telling that when asked to expand on this in an interview with Sean Hannity," Weigel writes, "Andersen moved on. The most potentially explosive section of his book and he doesn't want to talk about it?"

Weigel adds, "Would he do that if his research consisted of more than citing the obsessive Cashill?"

In fact, however, I was not the source for the story Andersen told. He never talked to me. I was as surprised as everyone else was by his revelation to Hannity. I even had to run out and buy the book.

Andersen had access to people who would never have talked to me, quite possibly Michelle herself or even Bill Ayers.

This person was close enough to tell Andersen that "oral histories [of Obama relatives], along with a partial manuscript and a truckload of notes, were given to Ayers." A detail this specific is telling.

Andersen "moved on" because he realized he was in danger of alienating his core audience – a largely liberal, female constituency more interested in learning about Obama's sloppy habits than about his literary fraud.

That is why Andersen is a problem for the left. He had no agenda. His book is dispassionate, softly liberal and largely sympathetic to the Obamas, particularly to Michelle and her family.

Andersen interviewed hundreds of people for the book, many close to the first family. The Obamas had likely given at least their tacit blessing to the project.

They had probably forgotten just how much they had to hide.

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Editor's note: For a more complete account of this phenomenon, read Jack Cashill's amazing new book, "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture.


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