While Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is vacationing in Hawaii–might be the last quiet time for years, poised as he is for a 2008 White House run– a body of anti-Obama material is surfacing–centering around his record and his religious beliefs and yes, his middle name, Hussein. It’s a backlash–and a foreshadowing of what is to come.
(see previous posts about a column I did on Obama’s middle name and a verbatim from Obama on his middle name when he took my question on it while in New Hampshire.)
A website, www.mediamatters.org does a good job of surveying the poorly sourced stories out there–and setting out the record.
this from www.mediamatters.org….release from them on the “swiftboating” of obama below…
Schlussel: Should Obama be president “when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam”?
In a December 18 column headlined “Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim” and posted on her website, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel questioned the “loyalties” of Obama, given that his middle name is Hussein, his late, estranged father was of Muslim descent, and he has shown interest in his father’s Kenyan heritage. Read More
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Washington, D.C. — Taking the current media focus on Sen. Barack Obamas (D-IL) middle name a step further, right-wing pundit and regular MSNBC guest, Debbie Schlussel argued that because Obamas middle name is Hussein and the fact that his late father was of Muslim descent, Obamas loyalties? must be called into question. In her December 18 column headlined Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim,? Schlussel asked: Is this a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?? She ended her column by asking if Obama becoming vice president instead would be acceptable. Answering her own question, she wrote: NO WAY, JOSE … Or, is that, HUSSEIN??
Schlussels article is the latest example of the bigoted conservative attacks against Senator Obama,? said Karl Frisch, spokesman for Media Matters for America. While Schlussels comments are among the worst, she certainly isnt alone. The public discourse surrounding Senator Obama has devolved into a petty game of who can say his middle name more often or insult his character and ancestry with the most zeal. Its time for this bigotry to stop. News outlets like MSNBC can make the first move. They shouldnt give people like Schlussel airtime to spew their hate-filled conspiracy theories because when they do, they undermine their own reputations as legitimate news organizations.?
Schlussels column fits into a larger pattern in the recent media coverage and commentary regarding Obama. Indeed, like Schlussel — who has repeatedly appeared on MSNBC in the past — numerous media figures have gone out of their way to highlight Obamas middle name in recent weeks, a detailed accounting of which is available below or online at the following link:
During MSNBC’s special election coverage on November 7, co-anchor Chris Matthews remarked that Obama’s “middle name is Hussein” and suggested that it would “be interesting down the road.”
On November 27, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson referred to radio host Bill Press as “a true member of the Barack Hussein Obama fan club.”
During the November 28 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, Republican strategist Ed Rogers referred to “Barack Hussein Obama.”
On the December 5 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume, senior political correspondent Carl Cameron told viewers: “Though he’s written two books about himself already, most people know very little about Barack Hussein Obama Junior’s uncommonly privileged life.”
On the December 11 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room, correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that “[o]nly one little consonant differentiates” Obama and Osama. She then added, “[A]s if that similarity weren’t enough. How about sharing the name of a former dictator? You know his middle name, Hussein.”
On the December 11 edition of The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Jeff Greenfield compared the similarity of Obama’s “business casual” clothing to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “jacket-and-no-tie look.” Greenfield concluded the segment by saying: “Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread.” He later explained on the CNN website that he was making “a joke.”
On December 13, Matthews teased another interview with Rogers by describing the strategist as “the one who just loves Barack Obama’s middle name Hussein.”
On the December 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh gave Obama a “nickname” — “Barack Hussein Odumbo” (in reference to Obama’s “big ears”).
On the December 14 edition of Hardball, NBC’s Mike Viqueira announced “a man named Barack Obama, whose middle name, incidentally, is Hussein, running for president.”
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America is the first organization to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. For more information, visit www.mediamatters.org