One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

The Truthiness of Obama-as-Muslim

I shouldn’t be too surprised that two of my favorites columnists — Nicholas Kristof and Frank Rich — this week end up mutually reinforcing one another.  An essential part of the fog of “truthiness” that the McCain team’s Rove protégés have created to protect their fragile candidate — and which Rich superbly pierces through in another bitingly accurate column — is the Obama-is-a-Muslim myth that Kristof is straining to dispel in his piece.  This kind of bunk can only be peddled in a climate in which facts have no real currency, in which the terms of debate are manufactured, and in which assumptions and prejudices are mined rapaciously.  Of course, as Kristof writes, it is also part of a campaign to “otherize” Obama, one that aptly describes the McCain campaign’s entire strategy, from depicting Obama as a “celebrity” to the self-righteous slogan of “Country First.”  But I don’t necessarily agree that the effort to confuse voters about Obama’s religion — or even to encourage doubts about his patriotism or “Americanness” — has been undertaken in place of a similarly subtle campaign playing on the candidate’s skin color.  McCain and his allies have unfortunately been able to sow seeds of racism in the same fields in which they have cultivated fears about Obama’s religion, doubts of his allegiances, and the downright lies about his policies.  Truthiness, then, proves a dangerously effective fertilizer for this sordid yield.

September 21, 2008 - Posted by | U.S. politics

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