Toles' cartoon was prompted by how the Post handled a story concerning the false reports afloat that Obama is secretly a Muslim who will take the oath of office on a Koran. Whatever you think of the inexperienced Senator from Illinois, this is completely untrue.
The Washington Post, in writing about it, presented "both sides of the issue" and discussed the rumors [aka lies] without explicitly stating that the story is just false. The Post's Lois Romano's defended the way in which the paper presented the story. Since this discussion has become so heated, Romano said, the Post's
editors decided it was in the readers interest to address it. I have heard people say that they won't support Sen. Obama because they read he doesn't put is hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. He has denied this -- so airing some of this and giving him a chance to deny its accuracy could be viewed as setting the record straight.This is, as Salon's Glenn Greenwald observes, patently absurd. The Post should have called these rumors what they are: lies. To compound matters the Post gave the story the following headline:
Foes Use Obama's Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About HimWhat the Post should have done, Greenwald notes, is what the New York Times did yesterday in a story on how Giuliani uses statistics about his supposedly stellar mayoral record.
All of these statements are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong . . . .An examination of many of his statements by The New York Times, other news organizations and independent groups have turned up a variety of misstatements, virtually all of which cast Mr. Giuliani or his arguments in a better light.Why am I blogging about this? Because of the decided parallel to how the media often handles claims by Holocaust deniers. Mercifully, this has been less the case with David Irving's contentions since he lost his attempt to sue me for libel. His claims about the Holocaust were exposed as lies and fabrications.
I wonder however if we will soon see the Washington Post presenting "both sides" of the Holocaust denial argument.
Presenting two sides is a good thing when there are two sides. But one "side" is a complete lie it should unequivocally be treated as such.
The Washington Post failed that test.