Jed Babbin, the editor of Human Events, for which I write a weekly column, contacted me yesterday evening to tell me he had received a call from a Washington Post reporter, Perry Bacon, asking him about a column I wrote eight months ago entitled “Our First Muslim President?” — about, of course, Barack Obama.
Apparently the Post is reacting to a recent Robert Novak column in which Novak said this:
WASHINGTON — Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed.
What could it be? Well, there are some signs that at least some people think it has something to do with Obama’s Muslim upbringing. This week also Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau has been editorializing about a viral email that has been going around claiming that Obama is still a Muslim, and now the Post’s Perry Bacon is digging into eight-month-old articles. Bacon asked Babbin, “The article’s entitled ‘Our First Muslim President.’ Do you think that’s reasonable?”
Of course, the article is actually entitled “Our First Muslim President?,” with the question mark, and it debunks those viral emails by making it clear that Obama has left Islam. It suggests that Obama’s Muslim past may actually make him a more attractive candidate in many circles, allowing him to present himself as the one candidate who really understands the Islamic world, and thus the only one who can make peace with it. In fact, it was so neutrally written that some people took it as my endorsement of Obama’s candidacy. That it certainly wasn’t, but it wasn’t remotely the kind of dirty-trick attack that Perry Bacon seems to be assuming it was. I guess now I’m working for Hillary, or maybe that Bacon was hoping to hang on me what Hillary’s people are doing: Jed tells me that Bacon’s questions represent “an apparent effort by the Washington Post to defend Hillary Clinton and protect her from the backwash of the tricks she’s trying to pull.”
We’ll see what kind of story he produces, but I suspect already that Perry Bacon of the Washington Post, who made no attempt to contact me while asking about a column that I wrote, is set to join the illustrious S. I. Rosenbaum of the St. Petersburg Times, Eric Gorski of Associated Press, and Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal in the Jihad Watch Journalism Hall of Fame. If you’re looking for a sly ideologue trying to masquerade as an objective observer, just call a reporter.