On MSNBC, The Hill's Stoddard cited unnamed "discrepancies" from Obama's memoir


On the April 3 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) "big ticket is being authentic" and suggested that "discrepancies from real life and his memoir" could be "a problem" for Obama. Stoddard, however, offered no specific "discrepancies," and ignored the fact that Obama acknowledged in the introduction to his memoir, Dreams from My Father (Three Rivers Press, 1995), that the book, like "any autobiographical work," may contain "the temptation to color events in ways favorable to the writer, the tendency to overestimate the interest one's experiences hold for others, [or] selective lapses of memory."

As Media Matters for America has documented, news outlets such as The Politico, CNN, and Fox News have seized upon alleged inconsistencies in Dreams -- which The Politico acknowledged were "trivial" -- and inflated them into evidence of Obama's "rookie mistakes" or used them to question Obama's authenticity. However, as Media Matters noted, Obama addressed the possibility of such inconsistencies in the introduction to Dreams:

Finally, there are the dangers inherent in any autobiographical work: the temptation to color events in ways favorable to the writer, the tendency to overestimate the interest one's experiences hold for others, selective lapses of memory. Such hazards are only magnified when the writer lacks the wisdom of age; the distance that can cure one of certain vanities. I can't say that I've avoided all, or any, of these hazards successfully. Although much of this book is based on contemporaneous journals or the oral histories of my family, the dialogue is necessarily an approximation of what was actually said or relayed to me. For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I've known, and some events appear out of precise chronology. With the exception of my family and a handful of public figures, the names of most characters have been changed for the sake of their privacy.

From the April 3 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

CARLSON: But there is a religious sensibility to the whole Barack Obama movement. And I am not attacking it because I don't want to put down anyone else's faith, but this is a species of religion at this point, no?

STODDARD: It is. I mean, he really -- he doesn't have supporters, he has followers, and everyone is feeling very devout. But I think that this is so interesting that this came right on the heels of this discrepancies from real life and his memoir.

Because, for Barack Obama, his big ticket is being authentic. I mean, he inspires people because he's the real deal. He doesn't package himself for political life the way Hillary Clinton does. So he's going to inspire everyone and he's going to change everything.

And if he starts to appear to be slightly a fraud or a fake, I really think it's going to be a problem for him if revelations like this continue to pop up.

A.B. Stoddard
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.