Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
The blogosphere was abuzz today with reports that Barack Obama’s undergraduate thesis from Columbia University – in which he allegedly called free-market capitalism “tyranny” and slammed the Constitution for fitting Americans with “shackles of hypocrisy” – has been revealed.
Only, the reported source of the document, Joe Klein of Time magazine, has publicly declared the whole thing a hoax.
“A report is circulating among the wingnuts that I had a peek at Barack Obama’s senior thesis,” Klein writes on Time’s Swampland blog site. “It is completely false. I’ve never seen Obama’s thesis. I have no idea where this report comes from – but I can assure you that it’s complete nonsense.”
According to dozens of blog posts, which quoted other blog posts, which in turn quoted back to Brian Lancaster of the Jumping in Pools blog, the White House had released 10 pages of Obama’s 44-page thesis, entitled “Aristocracy Reborn”, to Klein for an upcoming special report in Time.
Some of the juicy details added to the story included paragraph-long quotes from the thesis where Obama allegedly criticizes America’s “so-called Founding Fathers” for not doing enough to redistribute wealth.
“While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty,” the thesis supposedly states, “it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.”
Obama was even reported to have received an A- grade on the paper.
But the entire story, it appears, was originally meant as satire.
Further WND research into the Jumping in Pools blog site shows the original report detailing the thesis was posted on Aug. 25, 2009, and is now archived in the satire section, alongside fictitious stories about rapper Kanye West’s “gluten overdose,” the loss of Obama’s original birth certificate in a 1972 house fire and the president’s plan to extinguish the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknowns to save 200 tons of carbon emissions per year.
Nonetheless, many blogs and websites picked up the report as fact over the past few days, prompting Klein to issue his refutation of the story.
Even radio host Rush Limbaugh got sucked into the controversy, talking about the thesis earlier in his program today, before his staff was also able to determine the blog report was meant as satire.
“I have had this happen to me recently,” he said. “I have had quotes attributed to me that were made up, and when it was pointed out to the media that the quotes were made up, they said, ‘It doesn’t matter! We know Limbaugh thinks it anyway.’”
He continued, “I’m also told that the blog containing the passage on Obama’s thesis is a satire blog. … So I shout from the mountaintops, ‘It was satire!’ But we know he thinks it. Good comedy, to be comedy, must contain an element of truth, and we know how he feels about distribution of wealth. He’s mad at the courts for not going far enough on it. So we stand by the fabricated quote because we know Obama thinks it anyway. That’s how it works in the media today.”
WND has reported that many of Obama’s records and writings remain withheld from the public, including not only his actual Columbia thesis, but also his long-form birth certificate, his kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records and his adoption records.