Factcheck Debunks Corsi’s Book of Smears on Obama

Jerome Corsi, best known for the disproven lies he spread about John Kerry as part of the Swift Boat Liars, has written a similarly dishonest book about Barack Obama. Factcheck.org debunks many of the falsehoods, writing “Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation is a mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods.”  Their summary begins:

Despite its place near the top of The New York Times’ nonfiction bestseller list, where it has been riding high for the past six weeks, Jerome Corsi’s “The Obama Nation” is not a reliable source of facts about Obama.

Corsi cites opinion columns and unsourced, anonymous blogs as if they were evidence of factual claims. Where he does cite legitimate news sources, he frequently distorts the facts. In some cases, Corsi simply ignores readily accessible information when it conflicts with his arguments. Among the errors we found:

  • Corsi claims that Obama “could claim to be a citizen of Kenya as well as of the United States.” But the Kenyan Constitution specifically prohibits dual citizenship.
  • Corsi falsely states that Obama, who has admitted to drug use as a teenager, “has yet to answer” questions about whether he stopped using drugs. In fact, Obama has answered that question twice, including once in the autobiography that Corsi reviews in his book.
  • Corsi relies on claims from one of Obama’s “closest” childhood friends to “prove” that Obama once was a practicing Muslim, without revealing that the witness later said he couldn’t be certain about his claims and confessed to knowing Obama for only a few months.

There is considerably more information in the body of their article. They conclude by looking at Corsi’s lack of credibility:

Corsi is a renowned conspiracy theorist who says that George Bush is attempting to create a North American Union (we looked at that here) and that there is evidence that the World Trade Center may have collapsed because it was seeded with explosives. More recently, Corsi claimed that Obama released a fake birth certificate. We’ve debunked that twice now. And, as our colleagues at PolitiFact.com found, many of the themes in “The Obama Nation” are reworked versions of bogus chain e-mail smears.

Logically, any argument should rise or fall on its own merits, not the reputation of the person making it. A logical fallacy – known as the “genetic fallacy” – occurs when someone rejects an argument based on its origins. The correctness of a claim should be judged by the relationship the claim has with the rest of the world.

Nevertheless, a practical rule of thumb for everyday living is to rely on sources that have proven themselves to be trustworthy, and to check even on those when an issue is in dispute.

In Corsi’s case, we judge that both his reputation and his latest book fall short when measured by the standards of good scholarship, or even of mediocre journalism.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Eric D. Rittberg says:

    Factcheck is a far leftwing operation.  It’s like saying “The Daily Kos poll has Obama way out ahead.” 

    How about quoting some sources that are a little more fair and balanced, rather than George Soros front groups?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    No Eric, Factcheck is a non-partisan organization. There is nothing left wing about it. Of course you see anyone who is not an extreme right winger as left wing.

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