14 August 2008

“A Piece of Scholarship”?

Jerome Corsi, a coauthor of the book whose lies started the "swiftboating" of the John F. Kerry presidential campaign, is back with a book on Barack Obama. And it's a bestseller, confirming the old Republican wisdom that you can fool some people all of the time--those people being the modern party's "base."

Corsi's approach to Obama appears to boil down to complaining that the candidate has never said that he'd stopped beating his wife. And when that doesn't go far enough, the book rolls out lies. As Media Matters has shown, Corsi criticized Obama for leaving many things out of his memoir, Dreams of My Father, such as:

Interestingly, Obama did not dedicate Dreams from My Father to his mother, or to his father, Barack Senior, or to his Indonesian stepfather. Missing from the dedication are the grandparents who raised him in Hawaii...
Yet at the end of his introduction Obama had written:
It is to my family, though -- my mother, my grandparents, my siblings, stretched across oceans and continents -- that I owe the deepest gratitude and to whom I dedicated this book.
And that's just one of several things Corsi--who boasts a Harvard doctorate--managed to miss in reading Obama's book. The selecive

Corsi told the New York Times that for Media Matters to point out his lies was "nitpicking." I would have thought that making a big deal of how someone else had chosen to dedicate a book would be nitpicking.

Corsi doesn't always deal in minuscule matters. Back in 2004, Media Matters collected some of Corsi's online comments on topics ranging from the Catholic church to Chelsea Clinton. Since then he's written that "President Bush intends to abrogate U.S. sovereignty to the North American Union" and that oil doesn't come from fossils.

Who's publishing this man's book? A Simon & Schuster imprint called Threshold Editions, headed by longtime Republican operative Mary Matalin. (Note how the title for that webpage still gives the old URL MatalinGOP.com. Matalin appears above.) And commercially, it's hard to fault an imprint that's published an instant bestseller, however embarrassing its contents.

Matalin claimed to the Times that Corsi's book “was not designed to be, and does not set out to be, a political book,” but was instead “a piece of scholarship.” Obviously she hadn't coordinated her lie with her author since the same article says:
“The goal is to defeat Obama,” Mr. Corsi said in a telephone interview. “I don’t want Obama to be in office.”

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