Hyman Rides the Swiftboat Again (Hi-Ho Sinclair, Away!)
I’ve joked in the past about “my scar tingling” in response to actions by Mark Hyman, former commentator for Sinclair Broadcasting. Last week it happened again, in rather disturbing fashion.
You might remember that Hyman left his commenting gig at Sinclair in order to spend “more time with his family.” This decision came only days after he was forced to issue an on air retraction of slanderous comments made about George Soros, the billionaire financier and long-time donor to liberal causes.
You might also remember that prior to his sudden departure, Hyman was waist deep in the Swiftboating of John Kerry during the 2004 election, pushing for the airing of sections of “Stolen Honor,” a “documentary” based on smears against Kerry.
Well, in a truly bizarre bit of coincidence, I had the sudden thought last week to Google Mr. Hyman to see if he was up to anything recently. I hadn’t done so for months and months; Hyman had vanished from the public scene. The last we had heard from him, he was ranting about the unfair “elitists” who dared to criticize the artistic merits of High School Musical 2.
No, I’m not making that up.
Anyway, I discovered after Googling him that Hyman had published an op-ed in the conservative Washington Times only the day before! Sixth Sense? Sick Sense? I dunno.
Anyway, it turns out that my man Mark is at it again, attempting an eleventh hour Swiftboating of Barack Obama. And he’s based his attacks on that same paragon of investigative ethos, Jim Corsi. He doesn’t mention Corsi in his piece (plagiarism, Mr. Hyman?). But he’s once again serving as an open conduit for the misinformation Mr. Corsi has tried to spread.
Corsi was a leader in the Swiftboat gang back in ’04, co-authoring the book “Unfit for Command.” The book and its charges were roundly refuted, but Corsi, a longtime conservative activist, has returned to the bookshelves with “The Obama Nation,” a book-length diatribe against the current Democratic nominee.
In his piece, which he opens with a gruesome description of a mass murder in Kenya, Hyman regurgitates the most absurd and grotesque of Corsi’s claims, particularly that Obama is a political ally of Raila Odinga, the now-Prime Minister of Kenya.
Hyman accuses Odinga of complicity in genocide in Kenya, and then lays this accusation at Obama’s feet, based on Corsi’s claim that Obama supported Odinga. He even reiterates the long-since discredited claim that Odinga and Obama are cousins (something Odinga had claimed, but which Obama’s Kenyan relatives explained was simply a way of saying that their families hailed from the same region).
Hyman breathlessly concludes his commentary thusly:
Mr. Obama's judgment is seriously called into question when he backs an official
with troubling ties to Muslim extremists and whose supporters practice ethnic
cleansing and genocide. It was Islamic extremists in Kenya who bombed the U.S.
Embassy in 1998, killing more than 200 and injuring thousands. None of this has
dissuaded Mr. Obama from maintaining disturbing loyalties.
The problem is that none of what Corsi or Hyman allege is true.
The non-partisan PolitiFact, an ongoing investigation of campaign claims made by and on behalf of both the Obama and McCain campaigns, has found Corsi’s contentions to be utterly false. In addition to simply being wrong in all sorts of ways about Odinga himself (for example, claiming he is an Islamic extremist when he is in fact Anglican), Corsi’s alleged evidence of an Obama/Odinga connection is based on emails that have been found to not only be not from Obama, but not from a native speaker of English. The claim Hyman makes in his piece that Obama and Odinga were “inseparable” during Obama’s trip to Kenya in 2006 misrepresents the truth: Odinga was eager to ride the coattails of the newly popular and powerful American politician with ties to Kenya and followed him around the country as a groupie. Obama maintained a fastidious neutrality in the Kenyan political scene.
Yet Hyman persists in alleging the merits of Corsi’s claims, despite being based on obvious and sloppy forgeries that have all the plausibility of financial offers from Nigerian princes.
Make no mistake: this is race politics at its ugliest. Corsi, in claims that could only be taken seriously by the “Crazy Lady from the McCain Rally” suggests that all of this hints at Obama attempting to adopt sharia law in the U.S. and that he would engage in “tribal violence.” All that is left out of this caricature is the image of Obama wearing the shrunken skulls of McCain and Palin around his neck and demanding to be referred to as Shaka Zulu by congressional leaders.
Hyman’s attempt to piggyback yet again on the ugliest of unhinged conservative smears against the Democratic candidate for president would be laughable if it weren’t so ugly. One can only hope that this is simply part of the death rattle of the McCain campaign and perhaps (dare we hope?) of the acceptance of this sort of racist ugliness, which we may duly place in history’s dustbin.
And that’s the Counterpoint.