Brent Bozell

Hillary has to be nervous. At this juncture in the campaign, she's being edged out in the Goo Primary. Her natural allies in the media suddenly are more adulatory toward Barack Obama -- and more defensive of anyone who would dare question his exotic biography.

Insight magazine, a longstanding publication of The Washington Times Co., published a gossipy item with anonymous "Democratic Party" sources (they claimed some of them came from Hillary's camp) that Obama had attended a madrassa -- a radical Islamic school -- in Indonesia as a child. The story was unproven and should not have been published in its sorry condition.

The most obvious media outlet coming to the rescue was CNN, which now might be the Obama News Network, and not just the Clinton News Network. "DEBUNKING A SMEAR," screamed the headline on CNN. Reporter John Vause reported from the scene in Indonesia that Obama was actually educated in a state-run school that touched on religion only once a week, "in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Jakarta."

Wolf Blitzer repeatedly described CNN as doing "serious journalism" and that "CNN did what any serious news organization is supposed to do in this kind of a situation. We actually conducted an exclusive firsthand investigation."

Further to the point, CNN President Jon Klein milked the issue to savage the competition, telling The New York Times it was irresponsible for Fox News to mention the Insight tale "without bothering to -- or being able to -- ascertain the facts."

Earth to CNN: Facts are important, but you might want to save the lecturing for someone who didn't hire Peter Arnett to shovel Saddam's horse manure on your airwaves. Or outrageously aired a "news documentary" that falsely accused America of gassing its own soldiers in Laos. Factually challenged smears? CNN has a record unchallenged on cable.

Let's be clear about this. The liberal media don't care what Democratic love objects do when they're in grade school, even in Indonesia, just as they didn't care what Bill Clinton was doing touring Russia and the Soviet bloc in his 20s, just as they didn't care how he dodged the draft or whether he inhaled, just as they didn't even want to know if Clinton raped a woman when he was 32.

But Obama ought to thank his lucky liberal stars that he's not a Republican. This is not the standard the media had for George W. Bush in 1999, when the entire liberal media ran in a pack suggesting Bush was a cokehead.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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