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The Obama ‘Thesis’ Hoax

By David Weigel 10/23/09 4:03 PM

If you didn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show today, you missed the news that an obscure blogger had gotten his hands on ten pages of Barack Obama’s college thesis, thanks to Joe Klein of Time magazine. Michael Ledeen had jumped on the news, publishing an excerpt that revealed how the president had “doubts” about the “so-called founders.” And Limbaugh ran with it.

The problem: It was a hoax, actually marked as a satire, as Klein blogged earlier today. Ledeen apologized.

UPDATE: Via Media Matters, I see that Limbaugh discovered the hoax midway through the show, and used what used to be known as the “fake but accurate” defense.

http://washingtonindependent.com/65015/the-obama-thesis-hoax

So desperate they'll believe anything -- the fake Obama thesis debunked

October 23, 2009 2:43 pm ET by Simon Maloy

It really gets to be pretty pathetic sometimes, watching the conservatives grasp at every straw they can in order to attack and discredit a president they don't like.

If you listened to Rush Limbaugh today or visited Fox Nation, then you might have heard about President Obama's supposed college thesis in which the college-aged commander in chief allegedly wrote: "The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."

Now, you might be thinking: "Wait a minute, I thought conservatives didn't like Obama's elusive thesis because it was on nuclear disarmament." Well, this is a different thesis, it would seem, and blogger Michael Ledeen wrote about it two days ago:

I missed this first time around. Brian Lancaster at Jumping in Pools reported on Obama's college thesis, written when he was at Columbia. The paper was called "Aristocracy Reborn," and in the first ten pages (which were all that reporter Joe Klein -- who wrote about it for Time -- was permitted to see).

So Ledeen sources this bombshell to another, more obscure conservative blogger, who wrote -- back on August 25, mind you -- that Time's Joe Klein had seen Obama's damning thesis and was going to report on it for "an upcoming special edition about the President." No indication was given as to how this obscure blogger came to know that one of America's premiere journalists had obtained this information. There was no indication as to how this blogger was able to quote material only Klein had had access to. Oh, and let's not forget that this very same blogger was busted by PolitiFact.com for fabricating stories about President Obama.

But hey, why speculate on whether it's true or not? Let's go to the source. Mr. Klein? "A report is circulating among the wingnuts that I had a peek at Barack Obama's senior thesis. It is completely false. I've never seen Obama's thesis. I have no idea where this report comes from -- but I can assure you that it's complete nonsense."

This story is fake and falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. Corrections and apologies are due from Ledeen, Limbaugh, and Fox Nation, but if you believe you'll get an apology from pathological liars of that sort, then you're more gullible than they are.

UPDATE: Very well-hidden at the bottom of the Jumping in Pools blog post that started all this stupidity is a "satire" tag:

LATER UPDATE: It gets even better -- according to the PolitiFact article that called out the Jumping in Pools blogger, Matthew Avitabile, for making up outlandish Obama stories:

Avitabile, a Republican who had previously poked fun at Obama with a tongue-in-cheek article that said scientists had determined that he was "genetically superior," is thankful for all the traffic it generated for his blog Jumping in Pools. In the past he was lucky to get 1,000 hits on a story, but this one got more than 50,000. Yet he's disappointed that so many people published his work without verifying it.

"Out of the 50,000 who looked at it, only three had the good sense to contact me and see if it was true," he told us (PolitiFact was one of the three).

Avitabile described himself as a moderate Republican - "I'm pro-gay rights, pro-wind energy" - but said he was surprised that so many in his party had such negative feelings about Obama.

"People wanted to believe this about the president so bad, that he would really go toward a dictatorship so much that they would go with it without checking it," he said.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/200910230018

Obama's Columbia 'thesis' is all fiction, dreamed up by blogger

Bookmark this story:

Buzz up!ShareThisWhen we last spoke with Matthew Avitabile, a grad student in upstate New York who writes a blog called Jumping in Pools, he had stirred up a hornet's nest with a satirical posting that claimed President Barack Obama wanted soldiers to stop taking an oath to the Constitution and instead pledge their loyalty to the president himself.

That put some conservative bloggers into a tizzy. "Good g*d -- Obama is an egomaniac like we've never seen before. Another Hitler on the rise. This guy is just trashing everything the Consitution stands for," wrote someone named Kitty on the blog Tree of Liberty. The report kept spreading, getting picked up by other bloggers and circulating as a chain e-mail. It earned a Pants on Fire from our Truth-O-Meter.

Avitabile, a 22-year-old State University of New York at Albany grad student and self-described moderate Republican, told us back in February that he was surprised the posting -- which was labeled satire -- could spread so quickly without people verifying the facts. "People wanted to believe this about the president so bad, that he would really go toward a dictatorship so much that they would go with it without checking it," he said.

Now comes another satirical claim from Avitabile's blog that made it all the way to Rush Limbaugh's show before being debunked. It says that Obama criticized "plutocratic thugs" in his thesis at Columbia University:

"Obama was required to write a 'senior seminar' paper in order to graduate from Columbia. The subject of this paper, which totaled 44 pages, was American government. Entitled Aristocracy Reborn, this paper chronicled the long struggle of the working class against, as Obama put it, 'plutocratic thugs with one hand on the money and the other on the government.'

"In the paper, in which only the first ten pages were given to the general media, Obama decries the plight of the poor: 'I see poverty in every place I walk. In Los Angeles and New York, the poor reach to me with bleary eyes and all I can do is sigh.'

"In part, the future President blames this on the current economic system: 'There are many who will defend the 'free market.' But who will defend the single mother of four working three jobs. When a system is allowed to be free at the expense of its citizens, then it is tyranny.'

"However, the President also singled out the American Constitution: '... the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.'

"It is yet unknown if more of this thesis will be released. It was also noted that the President received an A- for the paper, which later led to his graduation."

The blog posting gained credibility because the "satire" label was small and easy to miss, and it falsely claimed that Time magazine columnist Joe Klein uncovered the thesis.

"With all of the secrecy regarding the President's academic record," the blogger wrote, "famed Time reporter Joe Klein looked into the records for an upcoming special edition about the President. Klein included several key points in the piece, including his grades and stellar letters of recommendation. However, what has leaked along with this information was the subject of a thesis written by the young Obama while still an undergraduate at Columbia."

Avitabile said he intended the item to be satire, but not over-the-top-obvious satire.

"If you have to explain a joke, it's not funny," he said. "I kind of get inspiration from Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. You want people to be let in and then at the end, they realize it, and either find it funny on its own terms or find their reaction to be funny."

The satire was too subtle for many people, though. The item appeared to go unnoticed for weeks. Then, on Oct. 21, 2009, Michael Ledeen of Pajamas Media, a political blog, wrote about Obama's alleged thesis:

"That’s quite an indictment, even for an Ivy League undergraduate. I wonder if the prof – and I’d like to know who the prof was – made an appropriate marginal comment, something about historical context, about the Constitution’s revolutionary status in the history of freedom, and about the separation of powers in order to make the creation of any 'shackles' as difficult as possible."

Just two days later, on Oct. 23, Rush Limbaugh cited it it in a sharp attack on Obama.

"The Constitution is the most liberty-promoting and freedom-acknowledging document in the history of the world, and this little boy in college is writing about it with utter disdain, and he still shares those feelings," Limbaugh told listeners. He added, "So Joe Klein at Time magazine has known for a long time about Obama's college thesis when he was at Columbia. Why didn't this come out a year ago at this time? Why didn't this come out before the election in November?"

Within minutes, though, the story began falling apart. While he was still on air, Limbaugh received notice from a listener who was skeptical of the thesis story and found nothing to back it up. So the host began to backtrack.

"I'm also told that the blog containing the passage on Obama's thesis is a satire blog...," he said later in the same show. "So I shout from the mountaintops, 'It was satire!' But we know [Obama] thinks it. Good comedy, to be comedy, must contain an element of truth, and we know how he feels about distribution of wealth. He's mad at the courts for not going far enough on it. So we stand by the fabricated quote because we know Obama thinks it anyway. That's how it works in the media today."

Klein later confirmed on Time's Swampland blog that he had "never seen Obama's thesis," and other bloggers followed with contrite apologies.

"I should have picked up some hint, but I didn’t," Ledeen posted on Oct. 23. "Shame on me."

Meredith Jessup of TownHall.com followed suit the same day, but she added, "it's important to note that none of this nonsense would be running wild around the internet if the campaign had just released Obama's thesis in the first place."

Which might be a fair question – if there had been a thesis at all. But there wasn't. A Columbia University spokesman told PolitiFact that "an undergraduate thesis requirement for those in political science did not even exist at Columbia in 1983." In other words, Obama couldn't have written a thesis because no Columbia political science student in his era did. Yet the conviction that a thesis is out there has driven critics to search everywhere for it.

The elusive Obama "thesis," it seems, stems from in an inadvertent slip of the tongue by one of Obama's former professors.

In 2007, when Obama was serving in the Senate and gearing up for the first presidential primaries and caucuses, New York Times reporter Janny Scott assembled a story about Obama's years in New York, including his time as an undergraduate at Columbia. She managed to track down Michael Baron, who had taught a senior seminar on international politics and American policy for eight students, including Obama, in 1983.

Baron, now a digital media executive for a Sarasota, Fla.-based company, mistakenly used the term "thesis" when he spoke with the Times reporter, which sent reporters scurrying to find it.

"Journalists began hounding Columbia University for copies of the musty document," wrote Jim Popkin, an NBC News senior investigative producer in a July 2008 blog posting. "Conservative bloggers began wondering if the young Obama had written a no-nukes screed that he might come to regret. And David Bossie, the former congressional investigator and 'right-wing hit man,' as one newspaper described him, took out classified newspaper ads in Columbia University’s newspaper and the Chicago Tribune in March searching for the term paper."

But Obama's paper was nowhere to be found. While the paper was the fruit of a year-long course, it's not something the university would have saved. "It was not like a master's or doctoral thesis that gets collected and put on microfiche," Baron told PolitiFact.

Baron, who donated to Obama's campaign, ultimately received about two-dozen calls from journalists, some from as far away as Japan and Europe, about the missing "thesis." The former professor insists that there was nothing damaging in the 25- to 40-page paper on nuclear disarmament, which earned Obama an A, and certainly nothing about shortcomings of the Constitution or the distribution of wealth, as the blog post indicated. "The students did not write papers about a policy being good or bad," Baron said. "It was about decisionmaking -- who should be listened to and how to avoid narrow thinking."

Avitabile, asked whether he would continue to publish satire on his site, gave an unequivocal yes. And he urged readers of all blogs to be vigilant. "I encourage anyone who's on the Internet, make sure it's linked to an accredited news source," he said. "If you do pass it along, you should say, 'This is probably fake, but this says the president is a lizard...."

So once again, satire from Jumping in Pools has triggered an avalanche of unwarranted outrage. And so for the many bloggers who spread the incorrect information, we set the meter ablaze – Pants on Fire. And check your facts next time, okay?

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/st...reamed-blogger/

What's next from the buffoon party, Palin pole dancing at Sunday services?

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Guest 2smart4u
The Obama ‘Thesis’ Hoax

By David Weigel 10/23/09 4:03 PM

If you didn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show today, you missed the news that an obscure blogger had gotten his hands on ten pages of Barack Obama’s college thesis, thanks to Joe Klein of Time magazine. Michael Ledeen had jumped on the news, publishing an excerpt that revealed how the president had “doubts” about the “so-called founders.” And Limbaugh ran with it.

The problem: It was a hoax, actually marked as a satire, as Klein blogged earlier today. Ledeen apologized.

UPDATE: Via Media Matters, I see that Limbaugh discovered the hoax midway through the show, and used what used to be known as the “fake but accurate” defense.

http://washingtonindependent.com/65015/the-obama-thesis-hoax

So desperate they'll believe anything -- the fake Obama thesis debunked

October 23, 2009 2:43 pm ET by Simon Maloy

It really gets to be pretty pathetic sometimes, watching the conservatives grasp at every straw they can in order to attack and discredit a president they don't like.

If you listened to Rush Limbaugh today or visited Fox Nation, then you might have heard about President Obama's supposed college thesis in which the college-aged commander in chief allegedly wrote: "The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."

Now, you might be thinking: "Wait a minute, I thought conservatives didn't like Obama's elusive thesis because it was on nuclear disarmament." Well, this is a different thesis, it would seem, and blogger Michael Ledeen wrote about it two days ago:

I missed this first time around. Brian Lancaster at Jumping in Pools reported on Obama's college thesis, written when he was at Columbia. The paper was called "Aristocracy Reborn," and in the first ten pages (which were all that reporter Joe Klein -- who wrote about it for Time -- was permitted to see).

So Ledeen sources this bombshell to another, more obscure conservative blogger, who wrote -- back on August 25, mind you -- that Time's Joe Klein had seen Obama's damning thesis and was going to report on it for "an upcoming special edition about the President." No indication was given as to how this obscure blogger came to know that one of America's premiere journalists had obtained this information. There was no indication as to how this blogger was able to quote material only Klein had had access to. Oh, and let's not forget that this very same blogger was busted by PolitiFact.com for fabricating stories about President Obama.

But hey, why speculate on whether it's true or not? Let's go to the source. Mr. Klein? "A report is circulating among the wingnuts that I had a peek at Barack Obama's senior thesis. It is completely false. I've never seen Obama's thesis. I have no idea where this report comes from -- but I can assure you that it's complete nonsense."

This story is fake and falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. Corrections and apologies are due from Ledeen, Limbaugh, and Fox Nation, but if you believe you'll get an apology from pathological liars of that sort, then you're more gullible than they are.

UPDATE: Very well-hidden at the bottom of the Jumping in Pools blog post that started all this stupidity is a "satire" tag:

LATER UPDATE: It gets even better -- according to the PolitiFact article that called out the Jumping in Pools blogger, Matthew Avitabile, for making up outlandish Obama stories:

Avitabile, a Republican who had previously poked fun at Obama with a tongue-in-cheek article that said scientists had determined that he was "genetically superior," is thankful for all the traffic it generated for his blog Jumping in Pools. In the past he was lucky to get 1,000 hits on a story, but this one got more than 50,000. Yet he's disappointed that so many people published his work without verifying it.

"Out of the 50,000 who looked at it, only three had the good sense to contact me and see if it was true," he told us (PolitiFact was one of the three).

Avitabile described himself as a moderate Republican - "I'm pro-gay rights, pro-wind energy" - but said he was surprised that so many in his party had such negative feelings about Obama.

"People wanted to believe this about the president so bad, that he would really go toward a dictatorship so much that they would go with it without checking it," he said.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/200910230018

Obama's Columbia 'thesis' is all fiction, dreamed up by blogger

Bookmark this story:

Buzz up!ShareThisWhen we last spoke with Matthew Avitabile, a grad student in upstate New York who writes a blog called Jumping in Pools, he had stirred up a hornet's nest with a satirical posting that claimed President Barack Obama wanted soldiers to stop taking an oath to the Constitution and instead pledge their loyalty to the president himself.

That put some conservative bloggers into a tizzy. "Good g*d -- Obama is an egomaniac like we've never seen before. Another Hitler on the rise. This guy is just trashing everything the Consitution stands for," wrote someone named Kitty on the blog Tree of Liberty. The report kept spreading, getting picked up by other bloggers and circulating as a chain e-mail. It earned a Pants on Fire from our Truth-O-Meter.

Avitabile, a 22-year-old State University of New York at Albany grad student and self-described moderate Republican, told us back in February that he was surprised the posting -- which was labeled satire -- could spread so quickly without people verifying the facts. "People wanted to believe this about the president so bad, that he would really go toward a dictatorship so much that they would go with it without checking it," he said.

Now comes another satirical claim from Avitabile's blog that made it all the way to Rush Limbaugh's show before being debunked. It says that Obama criticized "plutocratic thugs" in his thesis at Columbia University:

"Obama was required to write a 'senior seminar' paper in order to graduate from Columbia. The subject of this paper, which totaled 44 pages, was American government. Entitled Aristocracy Reborn, this paper chronicled the long struggle of the working class against, as Obama put it, 'plutocratic thugs with one hand on the money and the other on the government.'

"In the paper, in which only the first ten pages were given to the general media, Obama decries the plight of the poor: 'I see poverty in every place I walk. In Los Angeles and New York, the poor reach to me with bleary eyes and all I can do is sigh.'

"In part, the future President blames this on the current economic system: 'There are many who will defend the 'free market.' But who will defend the single mother of four working three jobs. When a system is allowed to be free at the expense of its citizens, then it is tyranny.'

"However, the President also singled out the American Constitution: '... the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.'

"It is yet unknown if more of this thesis will be released. It was also noted that the President received an A- for the paper, which later led to his graduation."

The blog posting gained credibility because the "satire" label was small and easy to miss, and it falsely claimed that Time magazine columnist Joe Klein uncovered the thesis.

"With all of the secrecy regarding the President's academic record," the blogger wrote, "famed Time reporter Joe Klein looked into the records for an upcoming special edition about the President. Klein included several key points in the piece, including his grades and stellar letters of recommendation. However, what has leaked along with this information was the subject of a thesis written by the young Obama while still an undergraduate at Columbia."

Avitabile said he intended the item to be satire, but not over-the-top-obvious satire.

"If you have to explain a joke, it's not funny," he said. "I kind of get inspiration from Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. You want people to be let in and then at the end, they realize it, and either find it funny on its own terms or find their reaction to be funny."

The satire was too subtle for many people, though. The item appeared to go unnoticed for weeks. Then, on Oct. 21, 2009, Michael Ledeen of Pajamas Media, a political blog, wrote about Obama's alleged thesis:

"That’s quite an indictment, even for an Ivy League undergraduate. I wonder if the prof – and I’d like to know who the prof was – made an appropriate marginal comment, something about historical context, about the Constitution’s revolutionary status in the history of freedom, and about the separation of powers in order to make the creation of any 'shackles' as difficult as possible."

Just two days later, on Oct. 23, Rush Limbaugh cited it it in a sharp attack on Obama.

"The Constitution is the most liberty-promoting and freedom-acknowledging document in the history of the world, and this little boy in college is writing about it with utter disdain, and he still shares those feelings," Limbaugh told listeners. He added, "So Joe Klein at Time magazine has known for a long time about Obama's college thesis when he was at Columbia. Why didn't this come out a year ago at this time? Why didn't this come out before the election in November?"

Within minutes, though, the story began falling apart. While he was still on air, Limbaugh received notice from a listener who was skeptical of the thesis story and found nothing to back it up. So the host began to backtrack.

"I'm also told that the blog containing the passage on Obama's thesis is a satire blog...," he said later in the same show. "So I shout from the mountaintops, 'It was satire!' But we know [Obama] thinks it. Good comedy, to be comedy, must contain an element of truth, and we know how he feels about distribution of wealth. He's mad at the courts for not going far enough on it. So we stand by the fabricated quote because we know Obama thinks it anyway. That's how it works in the media today."

Klein later confirmed on Time's Swampland blog that he had "never seen Obama's thesis," and other bloggers followed with contrite apologies.

"I should have picked up some hint, but I didn’t," Ledeen posted on Oct. 23. "Shame on me."

Meredith Jessup of TownHall.com followed suit the same day, but she added, "it's important to note that none of this nonsense would be running wild around the internet if the campaign had just released Obama's thesis in the first place."

Which might be a fair question – if there had been a thesis at all. But there wasn't. A Columbia University spokesman told PolitiFact that "an undergraduate thesis requirement for those in political science did not even exist at Columbia in 1983." In other words, Obama couldn't have written a thesis because no Columbia political science student in his era did. Yet the conviction that a thesis is out there has driven critics to search everywhere for it.

The elusive Obama "thesis," it seems, stems from in an inadvertent slip of the tongue by one of Obama's former professors.

In 2007, when Obama was serving in the Senate and gearing up for the first presidential primaries and caucuses, New York Times reporter Janny Scott assembled a story about Obama's years in New York, including his time as an undergraduate at Columbia. She managed to track down Michael Baron, who had taught a senior seminar on international politics and American policy for eight students, including Obama, in 1983.

Baron, now a digital media executive for a Sarasota, Fla.-based company, mistakenly used the term "thesis" when he spoke with the Times reporter, which sent reporters scurrying to find it.

"Journalists began hounding Columbia University for copies of the musty document," wrote Jim Popkin, an NBC News senior investigative producer in a July 2008 blog posting. "Conservative bloggers began wondering if the young Obama had written a no-nukes screed that he might come to regret. And David Bossie, the former congressional investigator and 'right-wing hit man,' as one newspaper described him, took out classified newspaper ads in Columbia University’s newspaper and the Chicago Tribune in March searching for the term paper."

But Obama's paper was nowhere to be found. While the paper was the fruit of a year-long course, it's not something the university would have saved. "It was not like a master's or doctoral thesis that gets collected and put on microfiche," Baron told PolitiFact.

Baron, who donated to Obama's campaign, ultimately received about two-dozen calls from journalists, some from as far away as Japan and Europe, about the missing "thesis." The former professor insists that there was nothing damaging in the 25- to 40-page paper on nuclear disarmament, which earned Obama an A, and certainly nothing about shortcomings of the Constitution or the distribution of wealth, as the blog post indicated. "The students did not write papers about a policy being good or bad," Baron said. "It was about decisionmaking -- who should be listened to and how to avoid narrow thinking."

Avitabile, asked whether he would continue to publish satire on his site, gave an unequivocal yes. And he urged readers of all blogs to be vigilant. "I encourage anyone who's on the Internet, make sure it's linked to an accredited news source," he said. "If you do pass it along, you should say, 'This is probably fake, but this says the president is a lizard...."

So once again, satire from Jumping in Pools has triggered an avalanche of unwarranted outrage. And so for the many bloggers who spread the incorrect information, we set the meter ablaze – Pants on Fire. And check your facts next time, okay?

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/st...reamed-blogger/

What's next from the buffoon party, Palin pole dancing at Sunday services?

It's obvious that Fox blowing away the competition has gotten to you. TS.

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It's obvious that Fox blowing away the competition has gotten to you. TS.

They lie. You know , we know it. You can continue to kiss thier asses if you want. We can all revel in the fact that you like to kiss the asses of liars. It's that simple,2smart. You will never, ever win the arguement regarding FOX. They lie, period. Prove me wrong.

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They lie. You know , we know it. You can continue to kiss thier asses if you want. We can all revel in the fact that you like to kiss the asses of liars. It's that simple,2smart. You will never, ever win the arguement regarding FOX. They lie, period. Prove me wrong.

Cite examples of these lies, otherwise you're the liar.

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Cite examples of these lies, otherwise you're the liar.

You freaking idiot! Did you read Manscape's post? Limbaugh ranted and raved about a phony story that wasn't true. He didn't bother to check it to see if it was true. He just went on a tirade against Obama for something he never did.

And then when his OWN LISTENERS told him it WASN'T TRUE, he said he stood behind it anyway.

THAT'S LYING, YOU MORON!

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You freaking idiot! Did you read Manscape's post? Limbaugh ranted and raved about a phony story that wasn't true. He didn't bother to check it to see if it was true. He just went on a tirade against Obama for something he never did.

And then when his OWN LISTENERS told him it WASN'T TRUE, he said he stood behind it anyway.

THAT'S LYING, YOU MORON!

Hello !! Limbaugh doesn't work for FOX. Who's a moron ?

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The Obama ‘Thesis’ Hoax

By David Weigel 10/23/09 4:03 PM

If you didn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show today, you missed the news that an obscure blogger had gotten his hands on ten pages of Barack Obama’s college thesis, thanks to Joe Klein of Time magazine. Michael Ledeen had jumped on the news, publishing an excerpt that revealed how the president had “doubts” about the “so-called founders.” And Limbaugh ran with it.

The problem: It was a hoax, actually marked as a satire, as Klein blogged earlier today. Ledeen apologized.

UPDATE: Via Media Matters, I see that Limbaugh discovered the hoax midway through the show, and used what used to be known as the “fake but accurate” defense.

http://washingtonindependent.com/65015/the-obama-thesis-hoax

So desperate they'll believe anything -- the fake Obama thesis debunked

October 23, 2009 2:43 pm ET by Simon Maloy

It really gets to be pretty pathetic sometimes, watching the conservatives grasp at every straw they can in order to attack and discredit a president they don't like.

If you listened to Rush Limbaugh today or visited Fox Nation, then you might have heard about President Obama's supposed college thesis in which the college-aged commander in chief allegedly wrote: "The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."

Now, you might be thinking: "Wait a minute, I thought conservatives didn't like Obama's elusive thesis because it was on nuclear disarmament." Well, this is a different thesis, it would seem, and blogger Michael Ledeen wrote about it two days ago:

I missed this first time around. Brian Lancaster at Jumping in Pools reported on Obama's college thesis, written when he was at Columbia. The paper was called "Aristocracy Reborn," and in the first ten pages (which were all that reporter Joe Klein -- who wrote about it for Time -- was permitted to see).

So Ledeen sources this bombshell to another, more obscure conservative blogger, who wrote -- back on August 25, mind you -- that Time's Joe Klein had seen Obama's damning thesis and was going to report on it for "an upcoming special edition about the President." No indication was given as to how this obscure blogger came to know that one of America's premiere journalists had obtained this information. There was no indication as to how this blogger was able to quote material only Klein had had access to. Oh, and let's not forget that this very same blogger was busted by PolitiFact.com for fabricating stories about President Obama.

But hey, why speculate on whether it's true or not? Let's go to the source. Mr. Klein? "A report is circulating among the wingnuts that I had a peek at Barack Obama's senior thesis. It is completely false. I've never seen Obama's thesis. I have no idea where this report comes from -- but I can assure you that it's complete nonsense."

This story is fake and falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. Corrections and apologies are due from Ledeen, Limbaugh, and Fox Nation, but if you believe you'll get an apology from pathological liars of that sort, then you're more gullible than they are.

UPDATE: Very well-hidden at the bottom of the Jumping in Pools blog post that started all this stupidity is a "satire" tag:

LATER UPDATE: It gets even better -- according to the PolitiFact article that called out the Jumping in Pools blogger, Matthew Avitabile, for making up outlandish Obama stories:

Avitabile, a Republican who had previously poked fun at Obama with a tongue-in-cheek article that said scientists had determined that he was "genetically superior," is thankful for all the traffic it generated for his blog Jumping in Pools. In the past he was lucky to get 1,000 hits on a story, but this one got more than 50,000. Yet he's disappointed that so many people published his work without verifying it.

"Out of the 50,000 who looked at it, only three had the good sense to contact me and see if it was true," he told us (PolitiFact was one of the three).

Avitabile described himself as a moderate Republican - "I'm pro-gay rights, pro-wind energy" - but said he was surprised that so many in his party had such negative feelings about Obama.

"People wanted to believe this about the president so bad, that he would really go toward a dictatorship so much that they would go with it without checking it," he said.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/200910230018

Obama's Columbia 'thesis' is all fiction, dreamed up by blogger

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Buzz up!ShareThisWhen we last spoke with Matthew Avitabile, a grad student in upstate New York who writes a blog called Jumping in Pools, he had stirred up a hornet's nest with a satirical posting that claimed President Barack Obama wanted soldiers to stop taking an oath to the Constitution and instead pledge their loyalty to the president himself.

That put some conservative bloggers into a tizzy. "Good g*d -- Obama is an egomaniac like we've never seen before. Another Hitler on the rise. This guy is just trashing everything the Consitution stands for," wrote someone named Kitty on the blog Tree of Liberty. The report kept spreading, getting picked up by other bloggers and circulating as a chain e-mail. It earned a Pants on Fire from our Truth-O-Meter.

Avitabile, a 22-year-old State University of New York at Albany grad student and self-described moderate Republican, told us back in February that he was surprised the posting -- which was labeled satire -- could spread so quickly without people verifying the facts. "People wanted to believe this about the president so bad, that he would really go toward a dictatorship so much that they would go with it without checking it," he said.

Now comes another satirical claim from Avitabile's blog that made it all the way to Rush Limbaugh's show before being debunked. It says that Obama criticized "plutocratic thugs" in his thesis at Columbia University:

"Obama was required to write a 'senior seminar' paper in order to graduate from Columbia. The subject of this paper, which totaled 44 pages, was American government. Entitled Aristocracy Reborn, this paper chronicled the long struggle of the working class against, as Obama put it, 'plutocratic thugs with one hand on the money and the other on the government.'

"In the paper, in which only the first ten pages were given to the general media, Obama decries the plight of the poor: 'I see poverty in every place I walk. In Los Angeles and New York, the poor reach to me with bleary eyes and all I can do is sigh.'

"In part, the future President blames this on the current economic system: 'There are many who will defend the 'free market.' But who will defend the single mother of four working three jobs. When a system is allowed to be free at the expense of its citizens, then it is tyranny.'

"However, the President also singled out the American Constitution: '... the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.'

"It is yet unknown if more of this thesis will be released. It was also noted that the President received an A- for the paper, which later led to his graduation."

The blog posting gained credibility because the "satire" label was small and easy to miss, and it falsely claimed that Time magazine columnist Joe Klein uncovered the thesis.

"With all of the secrecy regarding the President's academic record," the blogger wrote, "famed Time reporter Joe Klein looked into the records for an upcoming special edition about the President. Klein included several key points in the piece, including his grades and stellar letters of recommendation. However, what has leaked along with this information was the subject of a thesis written by the young Obama while still an undergraduate at Columbia."

Avitabile said he intended the item to be satire, but not over-the-top-obvious satire.

"If you have to explain a joke, it's not funny," he said. "I kind of get inspiration from Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. You want people to be let in and then at the end, they realize it, and either find it funny on its own terms or find their reaction to be funny."

The satire was too subtle for many people, though. The item appeared to go unnoticed for weeks. Then, on Oct. 21, 2009, Michael Ledeen of Pajamas Media, a political blog, wrote about Obama's alleged thesis:

"That’s quite an indictment, even for an Ivy League undergraduate. I wonder if the prof – and I’d like to know who the prof was – made an appropriate marginal comment, something about historical context, about the Constitution’s revolutionary status in the history of freedom, and about the separation of powers in order to make the creation of any 'shackles' as difficult as possible."

Just two days later, on Oct. 23, Rush Limbaugh cited it it in a sharp attack on Obama.

"The Constitution is the most liberty-promoting and freedom-acknowledging document in the history of the world, and this little boy in college is writing about it with utter disdain, and he still shares those feelings," Limbaugh told listeners. He added, "So Joe Klein at Time magazine has known for a long time about Obama's college thesis when he was at Columbia. Why didn't this come out a year ago at this time? Why didn't this come out before the election in November?"

Within minutes, though, the story began falling apart. While he was still on air, Limbaugh received notice from a listener who was skeptical of the thesis story and found nothing to back it up. So the host began to backtrack.

"I'm also told that the blog containing the passage on Obama's thesis is a satire blog...," he said later in the same show. "So I shout from the mountaintops, 'It was satire!' But we know [Obama] thinks it. Good comedy, to be comedy, must contain an element of truth, and we know how he feels about distribution of wealth. He's mad at the courts for not going far enough on it. So we stand by the fabricated quote because we know Obama thinks it anyway. That's how it works in the media today."

Klein later confirmed on Time's Swampland blog that he had "never seen Obama's thesis," and other bloggers followed with contrite apologies.

"I should have picked up some hint, but I didn’t," Ledeen posted on Oct. 23. "Shame on me."

Meredith Jessup of TownHall.com followed suit the same day, but she added, "it's important to note that none of this nonsense would be running wild around the internet if the campaign had just released Obama's thesis in the first place."

Which might be a fair question – if there had been a thesis at all. But there wasn't. A Columbia University spokesman told PolitiFact that "an undergraduate thesis requirement for those in political science did not even exist at Columbia in 1983." In other words, Obama couldn't have written a thesis because no Columbia political science student in his era did. Yet the conviction that a thesis is out there has driven critics to search everywhere for it.

The elusive Obama "thesis," it seems, stems from in an inadvertent slip of the tongue by one of Obama's former professors.

In 2007, when Obama was serving in the Senate and gearing up for the first presidential primaries and caucuses, New York Times reporter Janny Scott assembled a story about Obama's years in New York, including his time as an undergraduate at Columbia. She managed to track down Michael Baron, who had taught a senior seminar on international politics and American policy for eight students, including Obama, in 1983.

Baron, now a digital media executive for a Sarasota, Fla.-based company, mistakenly used the term "thesis" when he spoke with the Times reporter, which sent reporters scurrying to find it.

"Journalists began hounding Columbia University for copies of the musty document," wrote Jim Popkin, an NBC News senior investigative producer in a July 2008 blog posting. "Conservative bloggers began wondering if the young Obama had written a no-nukes screed that he might come to regret. And David Bossie, the former congressional investigator and 'right-wing hit man,' as one newspaper described him, took out classified newspaper ads in Columbia University’s newspaper and the Chicago Tribune in March searching for the term paper."

But Obama's paper was nowhere to be found. While the paper was the fruit of a year-long course, it's not something the university would have saved. "It was not like a master's or doctoral thesis that gets collected and put on microfiche," Baron told PolitiFact.

Baron, who donated to Obama's campaign, ultimately received about two-dozen calls from journalists, some from as far away as Japan and Europe, about the missing "thesis." The former professor insists that there was nothing damaging in the 25- to 40-page paper on nuclear disarmament, which earned Obama an A, and certainly nothing about shortcomings of the Constitution or the distribution of wealth, as the blog post indicated. "The students did not write papers about a policy being good or bad," Baron said. "It was about decisionmaking -- who should be listened to and how to avoid narrow thinking."

Avitabile, asked whether he would continue to publish satire on his site, gave an unequivocal yes. And he urged readers of all blogs to be vigilant. "I encourage anyone who's on the Internet, make sure it's linked to an accredited news source," he said. "If you do pass it along, you should say, 'This is probably fake, but this says the president is a lizard...."

So once again, satire from Jumping in Pools has triggered an avalanche of unwarranted outrage. And so for the many bloggers who spread the incorrect information, we set the meter ablaze – Pants on Fire. And check your facts next time, okay?

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/st...reamed-blogger/

What's next from the buffoon party, Palin pole dancing at Sunday services?

Here's another point of view. A recent, Oct. 26th, Gallup poll shows that the MAJORITY of people view themselves as conservative. Lying doesn't suit you, but I expect little else.

Link: http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/conserva...ical-group.aspx

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Here's another point of view. A recent, Oct. 26th, Gallup poll shows that the MAJORITY of people view themselves as conservative. Lying doesn't suit you, but I expect little else.

Link: http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/conserva...ical-group.aspx

Hmmmm....I wonder where they were on election day. And, incidentally, 40% is not a majority. Liberals and moderates together make up the actual MAJORITY of 56%.

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Here's another point of view. A recent, Oct. 26th, Gallup poll shows that the MAJORITY of people view themselves as conservative. Lying doesn't suit you, but I expect little else.

Link: http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/conserva...ical-group.aspx

1- Loki you wrote this: "Lying doesn't suit you, but I expect little else." THANK YOU! I appreciate that you recognize this one ultimate standard! :P

2- I've seen that poll. How does it connect to the Rish-Limpie-running-with-a-bogus-story-to-smear-the-President topic I started? Perhaps the irony that the conservative ideology leads in a poll while its famous mouthpiece passes bold-faced fraud to his dittoheads? :angry:

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Hmmmm....I wonder where they were on election day. And, incidentally, 40% is not a majority. Liberals and moderates together make up the actual MAJORITY of 56%.

Moderates by definition would be neither conservative, nor liberal, but somewhere in between. Why is it you get to claim them? Yes, on Election Day they went for Obama. If, after seeing the spending spree, they had it to do over, I think the results may be different.

I apologize for the use of the word majority, it was a mistake; see its easy to admit a mistake. It was a response to the claim that conservatives were 20% of the voting public, the subtitle of this thread.

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Moderates by definition would be neither conservative, nor liberal, but somewhere in between. Why is it you get to claim them? Yes, on Election Day they went for Obama. If, after seeing the spending spree, they had it to do over, I think the results may be different.

I apologize for the use of the word majority, it was a mistake; see its easy to admit a mistake. It was a response to the claim that conservatives were 20% of the voting public, the subtitle of this thread.

I'm not claiming them at all. I was merely pointing out that the actual majority of the survey respondents did not identify themselves as conservatives. Nor did they identify themselves as either liberal or moderates. I'd be interested to learn more about the demographics of this particular survey's respondents to make sure that Gallup did indeed ask people from all tax brackets, walks of life, occupations, geographic locations, etc.

And, by the way, there are plenty of Democrats who would describe themselves as "conservative."

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No it's not. 50.1% is a majority.

You see, that's the problem with you right wingers. You just make stuff up.

Typical dumb left wing nutjob. Pay attention: 4 grapes, 3 apples, 3 pears

The majority of the fruit are grapes

4 grapes represent 40%, a majority

Duh.

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Typical dumb left wing nutjob. Pay attention: 4 grapes, 3 apples, 3 pears

The majority of the fruit are grapes

4 grapes represent 40%, a majority

Duh.

No stupid, here's how it works.

4 fruit are grapes

6 fruit are not grapes.

The 60% represent a majority, not the 40%.

At least you represented the right wing Republican point of view accurately. :lol:

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Typical dumb left wing nutjob. Pay attention: 4 grapes, 3 apples, 3 pears

The majority of the fruit are grapes

4 grapes represent 40%, a majority

Duh.

You're an idiot. Did you fail grade-school math? Most of the fruit represent something other than grapes. Therefore, that which makes up the other fruit families constitutes the majority.

I can't believe I'm talking about fruit. But then again, one needs to consider the target audience.

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You're an idiot. Did you fail grade-school math? Most of the fruit represent something other than grapes. Therefore, that which makes up the other fruit families constitutes the majority.

I can't believe I'm talking about fruit. But then again, one needs to consider the target audience.

No, I didn't fail grade school math but I'm sure you did. If the grapes represent the GOP, apples represent Dems. and pears represent Independents, then the GOP has 40%, the Dems. have 30% and

the Ind. have 30%. THEREFORE the GOP hold the majority at 40%. DUH.

I can't believe I had to correct an adult over a 5th. grade math problem. But then again, I am talking to the loony left.

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No, I didn't fail grade school math but I'm sure you did. If the grapes represent the GOP, apples represent Dems. and pears represent Independents, then the GOP has 40%, the Dems. have 30% and

the Ind. have 30%. THEREFORE the GOP hold the majority at 40%. DUH.

I can't believe I had to correct an adult over a 5th. grade math problem. But then again, I am talking to the loony left.

No Einstein. The GOP (deadender party) has 20%, just as I indicated when I started this post. :lol::lol::lol:

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No, I didn't fail grade school math but I'm sure you did. If the grapes represent the GOP, apples represent Dems. and pears represent Independents, then the GOP has 40%, the Dems. have 30% and

the Ind. have 30%. THEREFORE the GOP hold the majority at 40%. DUH.

I can't believe I had to correct an adult over a 5th. grade math problem. But then again, I am talking to the loony left.

OK, you need to look up the difference between a majority and plurality.

Then come back to the table with your tail between your legs.

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OK, you need to look up the difference between a majority and plurality.

Then come back to the table with your tail between your legs.

From Webster: Majority; The quality or state of being greater. The preponderant quanity or share.

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From Webster: Majority; The quality or state of being greater. The preponderant quanity or share.

Nice cherry picking. Here's the full entry from Merriam-Webster Online:

Main Entry: ma·jor·i·ty

Pronunciation: \mə-ˈjȯr-ə-tē, -ˈjär-\

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural ma·jor·i·ties

Date: 1552

1 obsolete : the quality or state of being greater

2 a : the age at which full civil rights are accorded b : the status of one who has attained this age

3 a : a number or percentage equaling more than half of a total <a majority of voters> <a two-thirds majority> b : the excess of a majority over the remainder of the total : margin <won by a majority of 10 votes> c : the greater quantity or share <the majority of the time>

4 : the group or political party having the greater number of votes (as in a legislature)

5 : the military office, rank, or commission of a major

— majority adjective

Does everyone see what Guest did? He picked out the obsolete usage, omitted the word "obsolete", and combined it with item c in the third definition, intentionally leaving out the common usage for this context (a number or percentage equaling more than half of a total).

You're an idiot and a liar, Guest. 40% is not a majority in the normal usage of the word. And further, the 40% number was referring to the number who describe themselves as conservative, not Republican. The number of self-identified Republicans is not a majority even by your oddball definition. You were wrong, Guest. And you are too gutless to own up to it.

What a perfect illustration for a topic titled "The Dishonest Voice of the GOP".

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