Back in July, the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen wrote:
What has come to be called the Obama Paradox is not a paradox at all. Voters lack faith inhim making the right economic decisions because, as far as they’re concerned, he hasn’t. He went for health-care reform, not jobs. He supported the public option, then he didn’t. He’s been cold to Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu and then all over him like a cheap suit. Americans know Obama is smart. But we still don’t know him. Before Americans can give him credit for what he’s done, they have to know who he is. We’re waiting.
Having taken the Post’s advice and attempted to provide readers with an answer to that, Dinesh D’Souza and Forbes magazine find themselves in hot water, with the same President the Post relentlessly supported, despite, as Cohen wrote, knowing little about. As spotted by Big Journalism’s Frank Ross, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post describes Robert Gibbs swinging into action to protect his boss from D’Souza’s hard-hitting article in the new edition of Forbes:
Dinesh D’Souza has drawn a torrent of criticism with a Forbes cover story that accuses President Obama of adopting “the cause of anti-colonialism” from his Kenyan father.
But while most detractors focus on the author–and Newt Gingrich, who embraced the critique–the White House is aiming its ammunition at the business magazine.
“It’s a stunning thing, to see a publication you would see in a dentist’s office, so lacking in truth and fact,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says in an interview. “I think it represents a new low.” [Did this new low occur unexpectedly…? — Ed]
Gibbs is meeting with Thursday afternoon with Forbes’s Washington bureau chief, Brian Wingfield, to discuss his objections.
Nice magazine you’ve got there, Mr. Forbes. Be a shame if something were to happen to it…
As S.E. Cupp wrote a year ago:
President Obama has never looked less presidential than he does right now, unleashing his henchmen (and women) to snuff out Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, the Chamber of Commerce, Humana, and anyone else who hasn’t pledged allegiance. None of this legitimizes the president or his office…it just legitimizes his critics.
And now add Forbes to the ever-growing White House enemies list. Fortunately, so far, unlike WJLA-TV, which recently fired a reporter for refusing to toe the state-run line, Forbes is standing by their journalist. Kurtz writes:
The magazine would not make Editor in Chief Steve Forbes, who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000, available for comment, or any other editor. The biweekly did issue a statement: “Dinesh D’Souza’s cover story was presented as an analysis of how the president thinks. No facts are in contention. Forbes stands by the story.”
I wonder if that last sentence resonates a little for Kurtz.
Remember the Official Narrative of Watergate, as millions watched in the film starring Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, and Jason Robards? Early in All the President’s Men, after watching White House press secretary Ron Ziegler trashing the Post’s coverage of the Nixon Administration, Robards, as then-Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee,emphatically responds that he stands by his reporters. Who then double-down and relentlessly pursue the Nixon Administration, thus restoring peace and harmony to the Beltway, the Upper West Side, and Beverly Hills. (Needless to say, reality was a bit more complex than that, but it makes for a great movie. I think Georges Sorel directed it, right?)
Presumably, Kurtz and the rest of the Washington Post staffers (well, those who weren’t on the JournoList) will sympathize if Forbes pursues a similar tack, having now been threatened in a similar fashion.
Also, don’t you love Gibbs saying, “It’s a stunning thing, to see a publication you would see in a dentist’s office, so lacking in truth and fact”?
Gibbs has a remarkably selective memory when it comes to presidential criticism, but I can think of a couple of publications often spotted in dentists’ offices that have run stories far worse than D’Souza’s in recent years, including one that until recent weeks, used to be owned by Kurtz’s employer.