Notes on an Obama Smear

Amir Taheri’s most famous scoop.


When reading a newspaper article, often the most important fact is contained not in the body of the text but in the by-line. If you know who wrote a story, you can make a good guess as to its accuracy and intent. Take for example this inflammatory article that appeared in the New York Post on October 14th, purporting to be an interview with Jesse Jackson offering insight into the Middle East policies that Barack Obama would pursue as president. The article was written by the Iranian-born journalist Amir Taheri. Here is the key passage in the article:


[Jackson] promised “fundamental changes” in US foreign policy – saying America must “heal wounds” it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the “arrogance of the Bush administration.”


The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where “decades of putting Israel‘s interests first” would end.


Jackson believes that, although “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.


Even on first glance, this passage is slightly suspicious, although it has lots of quotations it also has some blurry language (“Jackson believes” rather than “Jackson says”) and the single most salient bit of news (that “Zionists” will “lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House”) is not a quote at all but a paraphrase.

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