The latest round of “Barack Obama is being smeared” stories share a couple of objectionable premises. First, they conveniently ignore that Obama’s version of his life is fictionalized – by his and his editors’ own admission. Nevertheless, the Obama defenders represent Obama’s tales as objective “truth” and the anti-Obama books as political spin.
Second, the Obama defenders take a tone of defiance. They have all the data they need and they like the self-congratulatory narrative just fine, thank you. But, of course, Obama’s version of reality makes little or no effort to explain his troubling relationships with liberation theology and left-wing ideology. (Stanley Kurtz is fast becoming the authority on such matters.) So it is not simply that Obama shaves the truth, it is that he ignores and hopes that we will ignore large, troubling chunks of his life, and that the mainstream media hasn’t shown much interest in reporting on it.
If there are inaccuracies or exaggerations in these latest accounts that is fair game. But what is inexcusable is that the mainstream media itself has done such a putrid job of exploring Obama’s roots, interviewing friends and colleagues and getting to the bottom of very problematic relationships (from Father Plfeger to Reverend Wright to the Woods Fund). The guardians of media propriety (these would be the ones who haven’t yet decided on their excuse for not covering the John Edwards story) are naturally peeved that non-mainstream reporters have stepped into the breach.
Bottom line: Obama’s view of his life is sugar-coated and highly romanticized at best. The mainstream press, rather than carp at the latest Obama critics, would do well to perform the function they have for every other candidate in recent memory: vet him. But they show no interest in that — they have nasty book reviews to dole out instead.