Tonight on Fox Business' Money Rocks, viewers were treated to another round of “Guilt by Association,” that now-classic game where right-wing media figures smear Obama by tying him to supposedly shady people and organizations. While Glenn Beck is quite clearly the reigning champion of “Guilt by Association,” today's installment rehashed a classic from the campaign trail: Barack Obama once spoke at a dinner honoring scary Islamist (and distinguished professor at Columbia University) Khalid Rashidi.
WILLIAMS: What you're doing here is guilt by association.
BOLLING: True, I gotta give you, I tell you, I am, but what else? Monica, do you not, are you not judged by the company you keep?
CROWLEY: Yeah, and look during the campaign we had this conversation almost every day about the kinds of people Barack Obama was associating with, whether it was Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi. Remember, Barack Obama spoke at an event honoring Rashid Khalidi who is a very far left radical, um, Islamist. He spoke at an event, the Los Angeles Times had tape of that event, they would not release it. Why? What was on that tape? What was he saying? In terms of Israel, in terms of Islamists, in terms of Hamas and Hezbollah. We have no idea? And look, we want to give him the benefit of the doubt, you don't want to think that the President has these kinds of sympathies, well then release tape and show us that there's nothing incriminating there.
BOLLING: Hang on, Monica, here's what we're getting at. We don't want to do a terrorist discussion and try link Mr. Obama to any of that stuff.
Now, to his credit, host Eric Bolling both admits that he's engaging in guilt-by-association and, at the end of the clip, says they're not trying to tie the president to terrorists or any terrorist activities.
Crowley's insinuation -- that the Obama might have sympathies towards Hamas and Hezbollah or Islamists in general -- is, of course, unsubstantiated and unfounded. But what gets me is this charge that it's Obama's responsibility to prove to us that he's not an anti-Israeli terrorist sympathizer. As if continuing America's aid to Israel and expanding the War on Terror to Pakistan and Yemen weren't proof enough of whose side the Administration is on.
Not to mention the fact that this particular smear has been thoroughly debunked. While the video of the event isn't available, the Los Angeles Times report on the dinner in question claimed that while many attendees were critical of Israel and sympathetic to the Palestinians, “Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground.” Not only were Obama's remarks at the event apparently innocuous, but political figures from across the spectrum have supported Khalid Rashidi. In particular, an organization chaired by Republican Sen. John McCain made a $448,873 grant to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, which Khalidi co-founded.
What Crowley and Bolling are doing is another in a long line of attempts by right-wing media figures to “otherize” Obama, to make viewers think that he's not one of us, that he's something foreign or strange, a domestic enemy. It serves no purpose other than to stoke fear and paranoia in viewers -- and, of course, prop up right-wing causes.