Last week, Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) presidential campaign launched a new website — dubbed “Fight The Smears” — dedicated to debunking false rumors about the candidate, his wife, and his family. A spokesman said, “The Obama campaign isn’t going to let dishonest smears spread across the Internet unanswered.”
But it seems the Obama campaign is going to have to expand this particular operation beyond the Internet and include Fox News. Last night on Special Report, Brit Hume noted the fact that Obama “is a practicing Christian,” but citing a recent article in the Jerusalem Post, Hume then claimed that Obama’s half-brother “is not so sure”:
HUME: Barack Obama is a practicing Christian, married in a Christian church whose children were also baptized in that church. His campaign has emphasized his faith in part to dispel what the campaign calls an on-line smear campaign which contends among other things that Obama was raised a Muslim. There is even a statement on his official campaign Web site reading, “Obama has never been a Muslim and is a committed Christian.”
But Obama’s half brother is not so sure. Malik Obama tells The Jerusalem Post that, “if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.”
In fact, Obama does indeed have a “Muslim background,” but that in no way makes him a Muslim — a point he emphasized last year on the campaign trail when he was asked “to explain his Muslim heritage”:
“My father was from Kenya,” he said, “and a lot of people in his village were Muslim. He didn’t practice Islam. Truth is he wasn’t very religious. He met my mother. My mother was a Christian from Kansas, and they married and then divorced. I was raised by my mother. So, I’ve always been a Christian. The only connection I’ve had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father’s side came from that country. But I’ve never practiced Islam.”
It is currently unclear to what Malik Obama’s “Muslim background” quote is referring (for example, Obama’s family history or perhaps his time living in Indonesia). The Post article Hume referenced is no longer available online and it does not appear on the LexisNexis database.
Regardless, Hume’s interpretation of Malik Obama’s quote is false or misleading at best.
According to a cached version of the article, the Post does not quote Malik Obama as Hume suggests. Rather, Obama is paraphrased from an interview he conducted with Israeli Army Radio. The entire cached article consists of two sentences.
,After ABC reported that Malik Obama never told Israeli Army Radio that Barack has “a Muslim background,” Hume has now issued a correction to his report. However, Media Matters notes that Hume “did not acknowledge that he had falsely claimed Malik Obama had spoken with The Jerusalem Post.”