As I suspected, there's dissension within the Forbes ranks over the widely controversial, and widely condemned, Obama attack piece that recently graced the magazine's cover.
When I asked late last week why there was a deafening silence from inside Forbes about the piece, it was because it just didn't make sense that professional journalists who work for the glossy mag would possibly be okay with being associated with such a rank piece of misguided partisan propaganda. And worse, being associated with an error-filled article that so thoroughly embarrassed the magazine.
I understand Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes finally came forward Friday afternoon and defended the D'Souza article, claiming it represented great journalism. But politically, Forbes really had no choice but to back the nasty, get-Obama article. Others who work for the magazine are under no such partisan restraints and we're now getting a glimpse into their disdain for D'Souza's work.
For instance, take this money quote from Forbes columnist Shikha Dalmia, writing on the magazine's web site [emphasis added]:
Writers these days are supposed to cultivate a niche, and D'Souza seems to have homesteaded the intellectual goofiness spot all for himself.
And then she lowers the boom:
Gingrich aside, many commentators have already pointed out the factual problems with many of D'Souza's claims. One involves a $2 billion loan that the administration handed via the Export-Import bank to encourage off-shore drilling in Brazil. "He is funding Brazilian exploration so that the oil can stay in Brazil," D'Souza rails. This is a foolish decision, no doubt, but one that was unanimously endorsed by the bank's five board members, none of whom were Obama appointees.
But there is a problem more basic than factual inaccuracies with D'Souza's thesis. If Obama were seriously motivated by a moral desire to protect poor countries from being ruined by excessive American consumption then his biggest priority would be to rein in this consumption. But that is the exact opposite of what he has done since assuming office. His entire economic agenda is one big and desperate attempt to boost American consumption.
What is even more unsettling than D'Souza's unsubstantiated ideological accusations against Obama are his gratuitous digs at polygamy in Obama's family. He plays this up repeatedly. What is the point of this except to remind Americans that Obama is a Muslim – the most dreaded of "others"?
Good for Dalmia. Meanwhile, I'd sure love to hear Steve Forbes explain again how the D'Souza piece represented "terrific journalism."
He's wrong. The article was a train wreck. And even people who write for Forbes know that to be true.
In a September 9 Forbes cover story that has been praised by Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck, Dinesh D'Souza asserts that President Obama's policies should be understood as a manifestation of his African father's "hatred of the colonial system." Forbes has said it "stands by the story" and that "no facts are in contention," but D'Souza's article contains numerous falsehoods and distortions.
Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich recently made news by suggesting that President Obama is engaged in "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior," but he isn't alone in using the African heritage of Obama's father and grandfather as fuel for ridiculous smears.
Cheered on by Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media, conservative activists spent the past year engaged in an anti-Muslim campaign that included efforts to block the planned Islamic center in lower Manhattan and demonize the imam spearheading the project. The bigotry has culminated in a Florida pastor's now-"suspended" plans to burn Qurans on September 11 -- plans that the pastor has explicitly linked to the controversy over the Islamic center.
In recent days, right-wing media have attacked Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's upcoming State Department trip to the Middle East to "discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance." However, Rauf began participating in the outreach program during the Bush administration, which considered this kind of outreach as useful "[i]n the struggle against violent extremists."
The right-wing media is attacking Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's upcoming State Department trip to the Middle East to "discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance," by falsely claiming he will use the trip as a "taxpayer-funded fundraising jaunt" to finance construction of his Islamic cultural center in New York City. In fact, the State Department has made clear that fundraising of any kind is prohibited during the trip, and Rauf has previously participated in this program, first under President Bush.
Forbes employees are being asked to help make their boss, Steve Forbes, a really big deal on Twitter. Dan Frommer from Business Insider reports:
If you've been following any Forbes staffers' tweets lately, you might notice a uniform push to help their famous CEO Steve Forbes get more Twitter followers.
That's because the company is actually asking its employees to advertise their boss's account, hoping to drum up a readership. (He currently has 1,300 followers -- not terrible for a new user, but not great for an ex-presidential candidate!)
Here's the memo that was sent to employees, which Business Insider has obtained:
We are making a big push for Steve Forbes on Twitter. He only actively started tweeting a few weeks ago, and we would like to make his community as large and involved as possible. We are using many different resources/approaches/strategies to get him more followers in the short-term, but I wanted to ask your help as well.
If you are on Twitter, it would be great if you could mention Steve's account (@SteveForbesCEO), and let your own followers know he is now tweeting. If you aren't on Twitter, now is a great time to start getting involved! I'm happy to sit down with anyone who wants a quick tutorial, help session, or just to chat about it.
Thank you all in advance for your support with this initiative.
Maybe I should copy Forbes and send an email around the office asking co-workers to tell their friends to follow me because I certainly want my "community" to be "as large and involved as possible."
From the July 23 edition of CNBC's The Kudlow Report:
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Media Matters today launched Financial Media Matters (www.FinancialMediaMatters.org) a website dedicated to holding accountable those who report on the financial and business industry as well as those who report on labor, economic, and other fiscal matters. The new website will focus extensively on ensuring that outlets such as CNBC, Fox Business Network, and The Wall Street Journal are held accountable.
"As people across the country struggle with losing their jobs, losing their homes, and losing their nest eggs, Americans are depending on the media -- especially the financial media -- for answers," said Eric Burns, President of Media Matters. He added, "We are launching Financial Media Matters because the public deserves accurate and honest reporting on what is happening and what is being done to fix the economic crisis."
Which reminds me, have you checked out Burns' open letter to CNBC regaring Larry Kudlow potentially using his platform to further his possible candidacy for Senate in Connecticut?
A Forbes.com profile of Newsmax and its co-founder, Christopher Ruddy, quoted Dick Morris praising Newsmax without noting Morris' affiliation with the outlet. The profile also omitted key information on Ruddy, including his history of promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the 1993 death of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster.
Forbes.com's Brian Wingfield asserted that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "shares [Sen. John] McCain's opposition to earmarks." However, in a Juneau Empire op-ed, John Katz -- Alaska's director of state-federal relations and special counsel to Palin -- wrote that in 2008, the Palin administration "request[ed] 31 earmarks, down from 54 last year."