The first response to publicist Maria Sliwa's e-mail queries to news organizations about whether they would like to receive a review copy of "The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists" came back from a reporter at the Christian Science Monitor.
The answer was "no." But it wasn't just "no." The reporter called the book by journalist-author-WABC radio host Aaron Klein and researcher Brenda J. Elliott -- at the time embargoed and thus unread -- a name for toilet paper I'd rather not print. Reflexively, Sliwa hit the delete button (thus losing the reporter's name for posterity). But when other e-mails started coming back with similarly visceral (and even similarly scatological) responses, she started saving them, realizing the reactions themselves were a story.
And so they are. Again, these e-mails, some of which appear below, are responding to the prospect of a new book by a journalist known for groundbreaking work as the Jerusalem-based correspondent for the popular conservative news site Worldnetdaily.com. Klein was also the journalist who first put the Bill Ayers-Barack Obama story together in February 2008 -- 5,000 miles from the United States.
"Ridiculous crap," wrote John Oswald, news editor of the New York Daily News.
"Never, ever contact me again," wrote Time Magazine senior writer Jeffrey Kluger.
"Absolute crap," wrote Evelyn Leopold, former U.N. bureau chief for Reuters.
"Seriously, get a life," wrote David Knowles, AOL's political writer.
"This is sensational rubbish that is of no interest to any legitimate publication," wrote Newsweek deputy editor Rana Foroohar.
Such attitudes help explain why Newsweek is on the block, and why mainstream media (MSM) in general are hurting. But the mindset itself remains mysterious. These ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate didn't just want to ignore the Klein-Elliott book about Barack Obama's radical ties, they wanted to denigrate it, and some quite angrily, which is an out-of-sync reaction to a book that last week debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 10. Somehow, the book was personally or even existentially offensive to these MSMers' most cherished convictions. Whether such convictions balance on a halo affixed to Barack Obama (threatened by the book's revelations), or rest on their own sorry credentials as news professionals (ditto), or something else, I don't know. But this rejectionist reflex, which characterized the abysmal 2008 Obama campaign coverage, is why we now have a president who poses a danger to the future of the republic.
Unfortunately, conservative media, too, are relatively AWOL on this book. Even Fox News, which has indeed hosted Klein, hasn't built on the book's newsiest chunks, the ones that make it stunningly clear that Obama's radical-filled past was, as they say, merely prologue. From Obama's participation in the socialist New Party in the mid-1990s, to his connections to communist-terrorist Bill Ayers, it's all relevant today. How? For example, some of the same anti-American, anti-capitalist revolutionaries from those bad old days now help craft republic-changing legislation.
Take Obama's 2009 stimulus package that launched the outraged Tea Party Movement. As the authors report, a radical group with a Marx-inspired agenda called the Apollo Alliance strongly influenced the legislation -- as the group repeatedly brags at its website (apolloalliance.org), charting similarities between the stimulus bill and Apollo's recommendations, and citing Senate House Majority Leader Harry Reid's tribute to Apollo as an "important factor." Among Apollo's Leftist founders is Joel Rogers, who co-founded the socialist New Party. Jeff Jones, who co-founded the Weather Underground with Bill Ayers and Mark Rudd, is the director of Apollo's New York office. The authors further explain why it is that, as a project of the secretive Tides Center - on whose board sits Wade Rathke, founder of ACORN and former member of Weather Underground's parent group, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) -- the Apollo Alliance's financial sources are effectively impossible to trace.
All of this isn't "guilt by association." It's association, a key to understanding how the radicalism of Obama's past today shapes the policy dictating our future. And it cries out for further journalistic digging. Consumers of New Media - blogs, talk radio -- already know some of the story, while The Manchurian President's brisk sales guarantee a wide audience. But the MSM? Clueless. Which wouldn't much matter if it still weren't the case that only the MSM cover the president. Or do they cover-up the president?