Crossposted with the Center for American Progress with Mickey Ehrlich.
Rush Limbaugh felt certain he had the next big Obama story in his lap. He--or somebody on his staff--thought they had discovered a portion of Obama's Columbia undergraduate thesis on the conservative blog Pajamas Media. The post by Michael Ledeen, a long-time associate of foreign intelligence agencies who left academia under a cloud of plagiarism charges, claimed that Time's Joe Klein had been granted access to 10 pages of the thesis and that it revealed an antifounder bias on the part of the man who would be president. Ledeen, meanwhile, lifted the story from a blog called Jumping in Pools that had posted a phony report on the thesis back in August.
Ledeen explained later on PJM: "I cam [sic] across it on Twitter, read the blog, found it interesting, and posted on it. I failed to notice that one of the tags was 'satire.'" Apparently, there was no due diligence other than the fact that Ledeen found the post "interesting." The blog he was referring to didn't cite sources or provide links for any of the information.
Right wingers have been on the hunt for Obama's undergraduate thesis since it was referred to in passing in a New York Times article in 2007. A copy of the paper, "Soviet Nuclear Disarmament," has never turned up. The title of that paper was not nearly as sexy as "Aristocracy Reborn," the title of the fake thesis posted on Jumping in Pools that Ledeen was writing about...
You can read the rest of Eric Alterman and Mickey Ehrlich's analysis in their recent article, "Think Again: Obama's Commie Past Exposed Yet Again"
Eric Alterman is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College. He is also a Nation columnist and a professor of journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. His seventh book, Why We're Liberals: A Handbook for Restoring America's Most Important Ideals, was recently published in paperback. He occasionally blogs at http://www.thenation.com/blogs/altercation and is a regular contributor to The Daily Beast.
Mickey Ehrlich is a freelance writer and an English teacher at Kingsborough Community College.