RSS 2.0 Follow Us!
 

Related Posts

David Graham’s Absurd Contention that Obama was Vetted

John on March 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

I should be more specific. Graham is arguing that the Derrick Bell video is an instance that proves Obama was properly vetted. Here’s how he put it in the Atlantic yesterday:

Breitbart.com is charging that there was a massive cover-up of the whole flap, pointing to a video of Charles Ogletree, an Obama mentor and Harvard Law professor, saying, “We hid this throughout the 2008 campaign.” But this is bogus — and not just because the video clearly shows it’s a throwaway laugh line. This incident is well known. It was covered at the time, and it’s been covered since. David Remnick wrote about it in his major Obama biography, The Bridge. In fact, Frontline used some of this very same footage in a 2008 documentary about Obama. It’s valid to ask whether Obama was vetted as fully as he should have been, but this incident is evidence for the proposition that he was.

It sounds semi-plausible at first glance but let’s break this down so you can see just how empty this paragraph really is. Starting over from the top:

Breitbart.com is charging that there was a massive cover-up of the whole flap, pointing to a video of Charles Ogletree, an Obama mentor and Harvard Law professor, saying, “We hid this throughout the 2008 campaign.” But this is bogus — and not just because the video clearly shows it’s a throwaway laugh line.

Saying it’s a “throwaway line” isn’t the same as saying it isn’t true. Graham doesn’t actually say that. Continuing:

This incident is well known. It was covered at the time, and it’s been covered since.

Well known? I followed the 2008 election very closely and I never saw it. If I never saw it, very few Americans ever saw it. But let’s see if Graham has something to back up his claim that this is “well known”:

David Remnick wrote about it in his major Obama biography, The Bridge.

True. But when was The Bridge published? In 2010 it turns out. Here’s the copyright page:

So this incident was discussed in a 600-page book published nearly two years after the election. Graham did say it was discussed “since” but how many people bought this book and how many actually read it? In any case, this isn’t vetting.

In fact, Frontline used some of this very same footage in a 2008 documentary about Obama.

Yes they did. But they didn’t play the full video and the audio. They used it as B-roll for the announcer to talk over. And how many people does David Graham think watch Frontline? I’m unable to find the Nielsen ratings for that particular episode, but it can’t have been more than a fraction of the voting population. Even those who watched it wouldn’t gain an understanding of who Bell was and what it meant. But from this Graham leaps wildly to the conclusion that Obama was properly vetted!

It’s valid to ask whether Obama was vetted as fully as he should have been, but this incident is evidence for the proposition that he was.

No, it’s certainly not! A book published long after his election does not constitute vetting. All Graham has really offered to make that case is some B-roll sans audio from a PBS TV show watched by a handful of Americans. From that and that alone he concludes the press did its job. What utter nonsense.

Post to Twitter

Category: Politics |

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.