06/25/2008 06:20 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

WaPo Ombudsman: Obama Muslim Rumors Story "Not A Deliberate 'Smear Job'"

Stories about rumors are tricky and easily misconstrued. A Nov. 29 story and headline that explored Barack Obama's "connections to the Muslim world" and rumors that he is Muslim were met with a swift Internet reaction that left some staffers stunned at its ferocity. Even Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles was "so upset" that he took the unusual step of taking potshots at the story in an editorial page cartoon.

My problems with the story by National Desk political reporter Perry Bacon Jr. and the headline ("Foes Use Obama's Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About Him") were that Obama's connections to Islam are slender at best; that the rumors were old; and that convincing evidence of their falsity wasn't included in the story.

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