For some reason, National Review seems to be taken seriously by the media elite, as though they were thoughtful, intellectually honest conservatives. And yet they've been peddling the conspiracy theory that Bill Ayers actually wrote Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father for more than a year.
This latest round of wishful thinking was set off by Ayers' alleged "admission" that he wrote the book -- an admission that came out of the blue while talking to a conservative blogger in line at Starbucks. If it sounds far-fetched to you that Ayers would, after all this time, blurt out a confession while standing in line for an iced latte, that's probably because you're smarter than Jonah Goldberg.
As Dave Weigel notes, there's a perfectly obvious explanation for Ayers' comment (if you assume he actually said what this blogger claims he said):
A reasonable explanation for this, if we take the heretofore-obscure blogger at her word for what Ayers said: Ayers was messing around with a conservative movement that's been after him for a decade, putting them back on the trail of a fruitless conspiracy theory.
Even AllahPundit of the right-wing web site Hot Air sees this for the nonsense that it is:
What's more amusing? The fact that he'd tease a conservative by baiting her about the right's Cashill/Andersen-fueled authorship suspicions, or the fact that the Examiner seems to think he was making an earnest, honest-to-goodness confession?
Note that this wasn't even in response to a question. He simply blurted it out as soon as the interviewer identified herself as conservative.
Still: I bet this latest, lamest conspiracy theory ends up on FOX News. The only question is whether Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity gets to it first. My money's on Hannity; he's feeling the pressure.
Over at NRO's Bench Memos, Ed Whelan speculates that there may be "Political Corruption" at the Congressional Research Service because it recently issued a report on selected opinions by Judge Sotomayor. Concluding his post, Whelan asks:
Just wondering: Has CRS ever before prepared an assessment of the record of a Supreme Court nominee?
It took me some time, but I think I figured out the answer for him. Yes.
UPDATE: Whelan has now acknowledged the existence of CRS reports on Judge Alito's opinions:
I've learned from Tony Mauro that CRS did some reports on then-Judge Alito's cases in connection with his Supreme Court nomination. A quick Google search discloses at least three such reports-one on Alito's abortion opinions, one on his "freedom of speech" opinions, and one on his environmental opinions.
But does the CRS have a "long history" of issuing these reports, as they claim? "[U]nclear," says Whelan:
According to Mauro, a CRS spokeswoman says that "CRS 'has a long history of supporting the Senate's advice and consent role' in judicial nominations with such research." Whether that means that reports like those done on Sotomayor and Alito were done previously is unclear.
From Mark Krikorian's May 27 post on the National Review Online's The Corner:
It Sticks in My Craw [Mark Krikorian]
Most e-mailers were with me on the post on the pronunciation of Judge Sotomayor's name (and a couple griped about the whole Latina/Latino thing - English dropped gender in nouns, what, 1,000 years ago?). But a couple said we should just pronounce it the way the bearer of the name prefers, including one who pronounces her name "freed" even though it's spelled "fried," like fried rice. (I think Cathy Seipp of blessed memory did the reverse - "sipe" instead of "seep.") Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent's simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to.
For instance, in Armenian, the emphasis is on the second syllable in my surname, just as in English, but it has three syllables, not four (the "ian" is one syllable) - but that's not how you'd say it in English (the "ian" means the same thing as in English - think Washingtonian or Jeffersonian). Likewise in Russian, you put the emphasis in my name on the final syllable and turn the "o" into a schwa, and they're free to do so because that's the way it works in their language. And should we put Asian surnames first in English just because that's the way they do it in Asia? When speaking of people in Asia, okay, but not people of Asian origin here, where Mao Tse-tung would properly have been changed to Tse-tung Mao. Likewise with the Mexican practice of including your mother's maiden name as your last name, after your father's surname.
This may seem like carping, but it's not. Part of our success in assimilation has been to leave whole areas of culture up to the individual, so that newcomers have whatever cuisine or religion or so on they want, limiting the demand for conformity to a smaller field than most other places would. But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options -- the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there's a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.
Numerous media figures have compared President Obama and his administration to the mafia, frequently referencing films and television shows such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.
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Media figures and outlets have falsely suggested that President Obama said that he will seek a replacement for Justice David Souter who demonstrates the quality of "empathy" rather than a commitment to follow the law. In fact, in that statement Obama said that his nominee will demonstrate both.
Maggie Gallagher repeated the dubious claim that the Democratic Party "threaten[ed] [New Hampshire Democratic] state senators" if they did not support the state's same-sex marriage bill, without noting that the state's Democratic Party chairman has disputed the allegation.
Mark Hemingway claimed that Paul Begala's statement that "[o]ur country executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded American POWs" is false. However, the United States participated in a tribunal that sentenced numerous Japanese soldiers to death for war crimes including "torture" after a trial in which forms of waterboarding were presented as evidence of torture.
Referring to a question he asked at President Obama's press conference, on Morning Joe, Chuck Todd suggested Obama was being inconsistent in not asking the American people for sacrifice -- during a recession, with millions recently unemployed -- after having criticized President Bush for failing to ask for sacrifice following 9-11.
A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
Numerous media figures have asserted that the proposed stimulus package supported by President Barack Obama would amount to spending at least $223,000 for every job created, echoing a press release issued by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee. But by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the stimulus package by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- these media figures ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and education, health, and public safety investments.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed asserted in a column that she "hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds -- dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat!" Sneed added: "A lot of chit-chat? Hot air? Or trouble? To date, Rahm's been mum. Stay tuned." Despite the complete absence of sourcing, many in the media have run with Sneed's assertion, in some cases simply quoting Sneed, in others, paraphrasing the assertion, and in still others, actually expanding on it.
In a National Review Online column, Lisa Schiffren claimed that "[i]n personal conversations," Sen. Barack Obama "asked that the Iraqi leadership wait for the next administration (his) to begin serious troop withdrawals -- as Amir Taheri has documented." In fact, a Bush administration official has reportedly said that Taheri's assertion was not true. Schiffren also repeated other false and baseless claims in her column providing "suggestions" to the McCain campaign.
In a blog post on National Review Online, Mark Krikorian asked if diversity policies touted by Washington Mutual, which was seized by federal regulators and sold to another bank on September 25, were the "[c]ause" of the bank's collapse.