Not a McCarthyite

I have to wholeheartedly disagree with Quin Hillyer’s endorsement of Andy McCarthy’s paranoid National Review rant on President Obama. It does not seperate fact from fiction, but rather substitutes speculation and conjecture for actual reporting, and its sourcing is atrocious.

For instance, McCarthy’s source for claiming that Obama’s description of his early employment “is bunk” is the Sweetness & Light blog. If you link to the post he cites, Sweetness & Light offers an expired link to another blog, Analyze This, written by somebody claiming to be one of Obama’s former coworkers. Sweetness & Light also cites a commenter to the Analyze This blog. Now, it’s entirely possible that everything written on Analyze This, including its comments section, is completely accurate. But if McCarthy wants to see Obama’s original birth certificate (because the official “certification of live birth” does not provide enough information for him), you’d think he’d want to do more legwork to corroborate his own claims, instead of just lazily linking to another blog and writing without skepticism, “As the website Sweetness & Light details, this is bunk.”

At another point, McCarthy writes:

There’s speculation out there from the former CIA officer Larry Johnson who is no right-winger and is convinced the president was born in Hawaii that the full state records would probably show Obama was adopted by the Indonesian Muslim Lolo Soetoro and became formally known as “Barry Soetoro.” Obama may have wanted that suppressed for a host of reasons: issues about his citizenship, questions about his name (it’s been claimed that Obama represented in his application to the Illinois bar that he had never been known by any name other than Barack Obama), and the undermining of his (false) claim of remoteness from Islam. Is that true? I don’t know and neither do you.

It’s stunning enough that McCarthy, a former prosecutor, would engage in such amateur speculation without backing it up with actual facts. But his favorable citation of Larry Johnson is even more alarming. As Dave Weigel reminds us, Johnson is not a reliable source, but a “now-discredited blogger who blew his credibility last year after insisting, for weeks, that he knew ‘sources’ who were holding onto a tape of ‘Michelle Obama railing against ‘whitey’ at Jeremiah Wright’s church.'” In addition, Johnson erroneously reported that Karl Rove was indicted during the Valerie Plame affair, in a post titled, “Rove Indicted — Frog March the Bastard.” Johnson also has the distinction of having authored a New York Times op-ed titled “The Declining Terrorist Threat” — which was published just two months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. It is simply irresponsible journalism by McCarthy to cite the authority of this man.

Right now, Obama’s approval ratings are sinking. And it isn’t because people like McCarthy are raising questions about his biography. It’s because his economic policies aren’t working as promised, and Americans are not buying the health care proposals he’s trying to sell them. By writing this dreck, all McCarthy is doing is providing fodder to liberals who seek to distract attention from Obama’s fading popularity and his disasterous health care plan by arguing that conservative opposition to Obama is rooted in an effort to portray him as somehow illegitimate.