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Terry Krepel Headshot

'The Manchurian President': Conspiracy Theories, Birtherism, and Guilt by Association

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I recently profiled WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein and his history of whitewashing right-wing extremists here at Huffington Post. That provoked Klein into admitting he's a sympathizer of the views of Meir Kahane, linked to violent incidents such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs massacre -- but not, he claims, the "extremists" in the Kahane Chai movement, the direct descendant of Kahane's Kach movement (also outlawed in Israel).

Klein has yet to explain which Kahanist views he holds and which he rejects; given that the entire Kach/Kahane Chai movement was outlawed, not just the "extremist" parts, it's a little difficult to pick and choose.

Am I unfairly tarring Klein with links to far-right extremists in Israel (even though Klein has admitted his Kahanist sympathies)? Well, Klein engages in a more blatant game of guilt by association in his new WND-published book The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists.

The title pretty much sums up the goal of the book: guilt by association. Unlike Klein declaration of Kahanist sympathies, however, Obama has never explicitly aligned himself with communism and socialism.

Nowhere is his guilt-by-association operation more craven and desperate as when he tries to claim that Obama had "exposure to [William] Ayers' ideology" as a child when he attended Sunday school at a Unitarian church in Hawaii that allegedly harbored draft dodgers linked to the Ayers-led Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). But as Klein noted elsewhere in the chapter, the SDS splintered a good two years before Obama arrived at the church's Sunday school, and nowhere does Klein explain how "Ayers' ideology" supposedly made it into the Sunday school curriculum.

And the dishonesty of the whole enterprise is exemplified the laughable claim in the book's introduction by Klein and co-author Brenda J. Elliott that "We do not believe in 'guilt by association.'"

Guilt by association is all Klein's book has to offer. He also embraces birther conspiracies and peddles the discredited claim that Ayers ghost-wrote Obama's memoir Dreams From My Father.

Read the entire review of Klein's book at Media Matters.