Reality Check vs. Fact Check
The media advance an agenda in the name of fact-checking.


Lee Habeeb

We hear the claim every day from folks in the media: Voter-ID laws are designed to suppress voter turnout. Never bothering to explain how asking a citizen to get a free ID might impede his ability to vote, they blithely advance the claims of “independent” groups such as Common Cause.

We know why. The voter-ID suppression narrative is one the media agree with.

Last week, the Associated Press, a news organization with a decidedly liberal bias, decided to engage in some suppression of its own. It attempted to suppress turnout to Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary 2016: Obama’s America, with the ultimate goal of protecting the presidential candidate they agree with — a liberal — from legitimate criticism.

Talk about a twofer. They get to hurt D’Souza’s movie and, at the same time, to help President Obama get reelected.

How can I prove that assertion? It’s quite easy. And it’s quite a story. One that the AP won’t tell.

On August 28, AP published a “fact check” of the documentary and pronounced the movie not accurate. An entire book could be written on the facts that AP’s writer, Beth Fouhy, called into question. And another on her conclusions about those facts.

But let me start by telling you a bit about 2016.

The film is based on President Obama’s own words, and I mean his own words literally, because it features the president’s own voice from the audio-book version of his first bestselling book. And not just little snippets taken out of context.

D’Souza in this movie does not question the president’s talents or his place of birth. Indeed, like so many of us who have studied Obama’s intellectual history, D’Souza believes that Obama set out to accomplish the very things that he is accomplishing.

Charges that he’s an amateur or that he’s incompetent miss the larger point. Worse, they are ad hominem attacks, the kind that the best debaters on either side of the aisle deplore.

D’Souza asserts a simple but profound point: that President Obama wants to downsize America. He wants America to have a smaller footprint in the world, because he believes that a smaller America would make for a safer, better planet. If only we consumed less, if only we reduced our military and economic strength, the world would be better off. That doesn’t make Obama a bad man, and he is not alone. Many smart, well-meaning liberals agree with him.

D’Souza based his conclusion on a series of facts that he culled from the president’s 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father.

What were his father’s dreams? Obama’s dad left Hawaii to do graduate work at Harvard University and then took his book learning back to Africa. In 1963 he wrote an article for the East Africa Journal called “Problems Facing Our Socialism,” where he made the case that high taxes are morally and practically good if the government uses them to provide for the people.

And how high could tax rates rise? “Theoretically,” he wrote, “there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100 percent of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed.”

That is not a typographical error. President Obama’s father, whose dreams he adopted, argued in a scholarly journal that a 100 percent tax rate could actually work. 

You’d think the AP would be interested in that fact.

Barack Obama’s father learned some pretty interesting economic theory at Harvard. Just as Barack Obama himself learned some interesting things about America and the world from professors such as Edward Said at Columbia and Derrick Bell at Harvard Law School.

If only the AP and other news outlets would cover that story.

Obama’s father had serious objections not only to colonialism but also to capitalism. D’Souza explains in his movie that Obama shares his father’s ideological antipathy to free enterprise, which explains why the president makes the decisions he makes. And why he says things like “You didn’t build that.”