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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/ 5/2008

Wright's Wild Charges

By Michael Dobbs

National Press Club, April 28, 2008.

"The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment. They purposely infected African American men with syphilis. Governments lie. ...The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. Governments lie."
--Jeremiah Wright sermon, April 13, 2003.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been claiming that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as "a means of genocide" against African-Americans for at least five years. He also argues that the U.S. government "purposely infected" African-American men with syphilis as part of a health study conducted at Tuskegee University between 1932 and 1972. So why did it come as such a shock to Barack Obama when his former pastor repeated the charges, in slightly less strong language, in an appearance in the National Press Club on April 28?

The Facts

Obama says that he was not in church in April 2003 when Wright gave his now famous "God damn America" sermon. But clips from the sermon have been recycled endlessly on television and on YouTube over the last few weeks, so it is hard to believe that the Illinois Senator was not fully aware of Wright's views on the subject of the U.S. government and the AIDS virus, long before last week. Yet it was not until last Tuesday that he explicitly denounced Wright's claims about AIDS as"ridiculous."

There is ample documentation for Wright's charge that the U.S. government has failed to tell the truth about numerous episodes, from the bombing of Cambodia to justifying the war in Iraq. (He prefers the term "lie", which I generally try to avoid.) But the pastor's scatter shot accusations suggest that he has a truth-telling problem himself. He fails to distinguish between proven falsehoods, spin, half-truths, groundless accusations, conspiracy theories, and urban myths. In Wright's world, everything is reduced to a simplistic formula, "the government lies."

Take the Tuskegee syphilis study, which undermined the confidence of many African-Americans in the federal government. The study, which began in 1932, involved 600 African-American men, 399 of whom had syphilis, who were told simply that they were being treated for "bad blood." Over the course of the next four decades, federal researchers tracked the men, but did not offer them penicillin, even after it became the standard treatment for syphilis, in 1947.

President Clinton apologized for the "Tuskegee experiment" on behalf of the nation in 1997, describing it as a "shameful" episode. By some accounts, the infected men passed on syphilis to 40 wives and 19 children. But it is not true to claim, as Wright did, that the U.S. government "purposely infected" African-Americans with syphilis.

During his National Press Club appearance, Wright cited the Tuskegee experiment as support for his claim that the government invented the HIV virus as "a means of genocide" against African-Americans. He also pointed to a study by a former Harvard researcher named Leonard Horowitz that AIDS is "undoubtedly man-made." Horowitz has speculated that the U.S. Army may have developed AIDS-like viruses at the behest of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the late 1960s.

Horowitz's theories are at odds with the overwhelming weight of scientific research into the HIV virus, which suggests that the virus originated with non-human primates in Africa and then jumped species, probably in the 1950s. The first documented cases of the HIV virus in humans are a Congolese man in 1959 and an African-American in St. Louis in 1969.

At the National Press Club, Wright refrained from repeating his accusation about the government inventing AIDS. Instead, he said that he believed that "based on the Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe that our government is capable of doing anything."

The Pinocchio Test

Wright has failed to provide any evidence for his claim that the U.S. government caused AIDS, other than his belief that the government is "capable" of such a crime, based on its previous actions. His accusations are so out of line with serious scientific research that they earn the maximum four Pinocchios.

Obama's explanation for his final break with Jeremiah Wright is unconvincing. On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Obama said that the pastor not only amplified his previous remarks, "but he added to them." But Wright was already on record with his claims on AIDS and other matters by the time he made his Philadelphia speech on March 18. Two Pinocchios for the Land-of-Lincolner.


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By Michael Dobbs  | May 5, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Video Watch  
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Wow. After reading Mr. Dobbs' devastating takedown of Reverend Wright, I have come to a painful and wrenching conclusion.

I can no longer, in good conscience, support the candidacy of Jeremiah Wright.

Posted by: psyberian | May 5, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Wow 4 Pinocchios for Wright but only 1 for Hillary's Bosnian sniper adventure. Careful your bias is showing.

Posted by: dnbraggs | May 5, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Day number 50000000 on a chewed,swallowed, digested and regurgitated non issue. You people really need to get a life.

Posted by: OldManTalking | May 5, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Had you done your little test five or six days ago, I would have said: Fair enough. But at this point, man, give it a rest.

Posted by: RI Voter | May 5, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Why can't anyone understand that Obama broke with Wright because Wright basically said that "Obama believes these theories also but he can't say them because he's a politician".

It is this basic implication that made Obama break with Wright.

Why don't journalists see this? Instead they act like Fox news and try to pick something so they can keep the controversy going. It's just like the speech that Obama gave in Philly. The speech had a lot of excellent thoughts in it. But, you know what the "controversy" journalists wanted to pick out? "ooh...Obama said he heard the pastor say controversial stuff in the past...see i told you he had heard this stuff before"

Posted by: Clarence | May 5, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

You're kidding. A fact check on Wright? What on earth for? We all know some of the stuff he said is crazy. Obama said he knows some of the stuff Wright said is crazy. Wright isn't running for office. Obama said he was giving Wright the "benefit of the doubt" that he had been misunderstood earlier, but when Wright came back out and repeated what was said, then Obama had no choice but to make his position clear. I see nothing wrong with that. As others have said, this is long over with and most will disagree with you for tackling this issue to start with, and certaily reeks of bias.

Posted by: Mazarin | May 5, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey, How many Pinocchios does Dana M. get for pretending that Wright repeated the comment on AIDS at the Press Club appearance?

In one paragraph you say he "repeated the charge" and then at the end you note that he didn't. At one point you say he referred to Horowitz theory, and in another you say he had no evidence. I go with the scientific majority, but still he did make a reference. Perhaps he is due the deference you give the oil executives who say human driven global warming is a myth. Where is George Orwell when you need him?

Are the 4 Pinocchios for Horowitz or for Wright? It's kind of confusing.

Posted by: jfp | May 5, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Wright claimed:

Obama was hiding him in the basement and prayed with him before going out in the public to announce his candidacy.

Is that true?

Posted by: Seed of Change | May 5, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"Audacity of Hope":

Obama writes that he supports "black liberation theolog". It made a lot of sense to him when he was first tutored by Wright.

Is it true that Obama makes those comments in "Audacity of Hope"?

Posted by: Seed of Change | May 5, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

You Barack babies can't see past your noses.Without Wright and his church,Barracks Christianity evaporates and he is left to his roots of Islam.But with his Church giving Lewis FarraCon a life time achievement award it was suspect anyway.But all Barrack supporters are either Black or educated beyond your intelligence.

Posted by: Whew | May 5, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

So now no black person can ever become president if they have a friend w/radical ideas? LOL.

I particularly liked this part:
"By some accounts, the infected men passed on syphilis to 40 wives and 19 children. But it is not true to claim, as Wright did, that the U.S. government 'purposely infected' African-Americans with syphilis."

Uh, if you know that somebody has a treatable, contagious disease and you purposefully do not treat it, then I really don't think you can claim surprise when that disease spreads.

You know, Billy Graham didn't get half as much flak when he suggested that we bomb dikes in Vietnam (a war crime that would have killed countless innocent people), or Pat Robertson when he suggested someone "nuke" the State Department because they're too liberal. Nor did the white politicians who cozied up to these white preachers.

Rev. Wright comes across as an ass, but then so too do all the media idiots who seem to think this is the issue of 2008. Exactly where was this level of scrutiny when Bush lied us into a war that's killed thousands of American soldiers, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and cost us hundreds of billions of dollars?

Posted by: Ray42 | May 5, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Ray 42,Bush lied has been said so many times you people get to believing it is fact. The truth is congress has it's own intelligence committees,look them up. Nobody was lied to unless it was by the meathead in charge of the CIA,who was appointed by Slick Willie.

Posted by: Whew | May 5, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The Reverend Wright, like all politically oriented preachers, uses the Bible to put a spin on contemporary events. In this, these folks behave as politicians. Now the chickens have come home to roost on politicians rushing to demonstrate their religious views (Democrat and Republican) to gain votes. Guilt by association is the McCarthy era legacy of politics. Obama is guilty by association and, if the Clintons win the nomination and send Obama out to placate insulted African-Americans, independents, and young first-time voters, the Clintons will be guilty by association with Obama and his erstwhile paster, Jeremiah Wright. The chickens have an unlimited supply of guana.

Posted by: John Noble, Jr. | May 5, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"By some accounts, the infected men passed on syphilis to 40 wives and 19 children. But it is not true to claim, as Wright did, that the U.S. government 'purposely infected' African-Americans with syphilis."

While it is true the the federal government officials in the Public Health Service who ran the Tuskeegee study did not infect the original participants in the study, they did fail to inform the men that they had syphillis, and when a cure was in fact available, federal officials did not offer the cure. Thus, federal officials failed in their duty, which was to provide curative relief and to provide truthful information on which the men could make informed heath care and life style decisions.

As a result, while it cannot be said that the government intended that the wives and offspring would become infected, it can be said that by inaction the government knowingly infected them, because federal officials were aware of a high probablility that if they did what they did, which was to fail in their duty, others would be infected. The reckless nature of this failure to act is clear.

The same sort of failure to perform a duty of providing a cure when available and failure to provide truthful information at all, coupled with the result that people were infected and the reckless to the point of a knowing mindset, would constitute a crime today in most states if the infection were HIV. And even in the 1930's and '40's with respect to any disease, it could have been considered by even a not so aggressive prosecutor as aggravated battery.

Rev. Wright may get his 4 Pinnochio's, but the officials who ran the Public Health Service Tuskeegee study get the fourth circle of hell.

Posted by: an observer | May 5, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Yes, give it a rest, the Wright imbroglio says nothing about Obama.

I mean, imagine if Obama is president, and over the years of talking with the leader of a hostile nation, says everything's ok despite outrageous inflammatory speeches from said leader, and suddenly when this country goes to war, Obama can say "I never knew he could be like that! I never attended those speeches! What he's saying now is indefensible (although I defended him last month) and I condemn him!"

Yeah, real presidential.

Posted by: Itchy | May 5, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Modern accounts of Tuskegee, including this one, are always told in a way that ties the atrocity to the 1930s and only then mention that the study continued for decades, suggesting that it fizzled out over time.

In reality, this was primarily a 1970s story. It was uncovered by the Washington Star, your paper's former rival, in 1972, and even then the Public Health Service could not understand what the problem was with its ongoing study. The PHS only begrudgingly stopped the "experiment" of observing untreated, active syphilis in extremely poor, minimally educated, rural Americans who had been falsely told for decades that they were under medical care. It seems clear from the Public Health Service's attitude that the study would most likely have continued through the subjects' eventual deaths--perhaps into the 1980s--if it had not been exposed.

Again, your account of Tuskegee is technically correct as to the time period, but like many accounts, tends to tell the story in a way that puts the emphasis (much) further in the past than it should be. I think it's more comfortable for us to think of it that way.

Of course, absolutely none of this has a darn thing to do with choosing the leader of the free world. I must agree with the other comments above that it is ridiculous (to put it generously) that the Fact Checker chose the day before two crucial primaries to cough up this tired old story about Wright and chew on it some more -- much less to "fact check" someone who isn't running. Five days ago, yes. Now, it looks like tilting the playing table on purpose.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | May 5, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Ditto to what others have said. I thought this column was meant to be used to assess the truth of claims made by the candidates or their campaigns (i.e., in advertising). Why you are bothering w/ Wright's claims is beyond me. Move on. Please.

Posted by: THS | May 5, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Re the question above about Audacity of Hope, the book is well written for the general public and I recommend that you read it yourself from cover to cover if you are curious about it.

Needless to say, Obama's hugely successful books have been a major building block and inspiration for his campaign. So many of his supporters of all races were inspired by reading the books or listening to them as audio books. The brains and character that come through are unmistakable. People who quote fragments out of context are playing a cheap gotcha game that I suspect is not going to fly this time.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | May 5, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"Why can't anyone understand that Obama broke with Wright because Wright basically said that "Obama believes these theories also but he can't say them because he's a politician".

what?, and dump the messiah?

Posted by: fitzjarrald | May 5, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Is Wright running for office?

I didn't get that memo, I guess it got lost in cyber-space.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Rev. Wright is a little wild but, you know, he gets your attention and makes you think. And, fundamentally, the government DOES lie! I just finished reading Philip Shenon's THE COMMISSION (about the independent 9/11 commission) ... which so well documents abundant lies from the highest government officials, not to mention horrifying incompetence from our most revered agencies. It's no surprise to me that the downtrodden start from the premise that the government lies ... it might not be a bad premise for ALL of us.

Posted by: Nancy Petersen | May 5, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Your comment about US Govt did not "purposely" infect the African-Americans with syphilis and denied them penicillin etc., is mind-boggling to put it mildly. May be I dont understand your use of the English language!!

Your comments about Wright's allegation about the AIDS virus, I agree. It is crazy. But, Wright's comments about our government being involved in nefarious machinations in overthrowing or killing many foreign governments and foreign leaders whom we do not like, they are all facts. Wright is right!

How about testing Bush, Cheny, Rumsfeld, Clintons and McCain with your silly Pinocchio silliness. I did not know that Wash-Post is in cahoots with Fox News!

Posted by: Alex | May 5, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

LOL @ the Fact Checker...

I don't know what's funnier, that he still thinks it was monkeys from Africa, or that he has trouble calling it a "lie" when someone fails to tell the truth. What the hell else do you call it?

You should've just left this one alone Fact Check guy, esp. if you couldn't have come up with something coherent. Your parsing is hilarious. Wright is a nut in many respects, but THE GOVERNMENT DOES LIE.

Get over yourself. Still laughing...

Posted by: Gut Check | May 5, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

You guys really need to rename your paper "The Wright Post", since that's about all you cover anymore. You've become a parody of a newspaper of record - on par with The Onion for seriousness. I guess you're trying to find a new niche now that your reputation is blown in the aftermath of Iraq, and you've been obsoleted by the blogs.

"He prefers the term "lie", which I generally try to avoid."

See, this is why no one takes the mainstream media seriously anymore. President Bush still hasn't "lied" about Iraq, in the twisted world of the Washington, er, The Wright Post.

And... this is it for the Fact Checker on your number one obsession? NO analysis of the umpteen other claims by Wright that happen to be DEAD ON CORRECT??? Like the fact that the 9/11 attacks specifically WERE in retaliation for our meddling foreign policy, and our terrorism on people in the middle east? The attackers themselves have confirmed this! Oh, but like after Ron Paul's comments at the debates and the white Ambassador whom Wright was quoting, we SIMPLY WILL NOT TALK HONESTLY ABOUT THIS. JUST SHOOT THE MESSENGERS WHEN THEY BRING IT UP. Good old American dishonesty on display! What an honorable people we must be.

What a pile of chicken doo doo this paper has become.

Posted by: Mark | May 5, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The media has lost all credibility with me. It appears that you and the other pundits have decided that you will be the ones who will elect our next president. We will remember that you gave us Bush, Cheney, and Rove to mention a few. My hope is that the American people will not succumb to your elitism and look at the candidates based on their merit and not yours!!

Posted by: cap10gil | May 5, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I honestly couldn't care less about Wright. It's all just a media driven event...I'll make my own judgements based on my own research. It's obvious how skewed the medias representation on religious support of the candidates is. Where's the coverage on Hagee and Parsley? Their comments have been equally if not more offensive. This was a direct hit by the media. No more MSM for me, the fact checking takes too long.

Posted by: Julie | May 5, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

It was apparent that Obama broke away from Wright's doctrine in 2004 when Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention with his thoughts that the artificial divide in our American culture and in our American politics are unnecessary and the majority agreed with that. Considering Obama has been fighting since 2004 asking the American people to acclimatize his sentiments of unnecessary racial divide.... Here we are today, four years later in 2008 facing these very same issues in our society and in the Democrat Party process and the media is over looking this fact.

In all fairness why is the MEDIA NOT going after McCain in the same fashion for asking a radical Pastor for his support and this man says terrible thing?. That is concerning to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Re: Whew

"Without Wright and his church, Barracks Christianity evaporates and he is left to his roots of Islam."

Ah, so he's both an Islamic plant and a long time member of a Christian church, with a controversial pastor. Talk about trying to have your cake and eat it too.

BTW - barracks are things that soldiers sleep in.

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | May 5, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I live in the DC Metro area and I tell you, I expected more from my Washington Post. I think now would be a good time to cancel my subscription. I didn't think they would sink to tabloid news reporting. Let's do a fact check on the Gas Holiday. I think that'll have more affect on people than the Rev.

Posted by: Lawrence | May 5, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Why only two for Obama? He deserves four.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

To reiterate the above comments, are you f&$*ing kidding me? A fact check on Wright completely misses the point of what he intends to do, and what his job is. Much like his "praise" of Farrakhan, Wright appreciates extremes as a means for mobilizing and forcing people to act. As Wright says, "When Farrakhan speaks, black people listen." He is a pastor--an impassioned, and often arrogant one--and he thrives on exciting people through his rhetoric, even if it is partially inaccurate or full of wild exaggerations. He is not convincing people of the validity of his content; rather, he is driving home a general message about the moral failure of government as it relates to the Bible. That our government has sanctioned slavery, war, and bigotry is indisputable. His facts, though flawed, are heard by an independently-minded congregation, which this Fact Checker implies sits stupidly at the pews, unable to separate fact from motivational fiction. It also appears you believe your readership is that stupid and uncritical too. You, the author, and most of the corporate media have failed miserably at covering the issues behind Rev. Wright. A story that discusses racial differences in religious practice, blatant inconsistencies with Obama's values, or even the vague notion that the coverage of Wright might pale in comparison to some prominent white preachers would have provoked quite valuable conversations. This, sadly, does not. Weak.

Posted by: Fantastic Journalism | May 5, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Why would you bother fact checking something everyone knows is false? Next up: Barack Obama's distant cousin thinks the sun revolves around the Earth. When will Barack Obama disavow his geocentric kin!?!?!?!

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | May 5, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Micheal Dobbs, we get it. You don't like Rev. Wright and you think he is crazy. Fair enough. Rev. Wright is a cardiac-pulmonary technician and pastor, not a scientific researcher or investigative reporter. You have convince me that I will not vote for Rev. Wright in any political elections!

Posted by: AJ | May 5, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

So you're for Hillary - old news; almost as old as Wright. The time to have done this "expose" was about a month ago (it's not as if his statements came out last week for the first time). Doing so now is obviously meant solely to keep pounding on a dead horse to prop up your candidate. Yellow journalism is alive and rotting WaPo's credibility. Doesn't the Post have editors who can explain to pundits like Dobbs that there is something called timeliness relative to story ideas?

Lame, pathetic and just plain poor journalism.

Posted by: jk5432 | May 5, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dobbs - Is there a reason you generally avoid using the word 'lie' in favor of 'failed to tell the truth'. Yes, the latter assumes nothing about the speaker's intent but does so by communicating essentially no information. If one remains silent, he 'fails to tell the truth'; this is worlds away from saying something that is demonstrably incorrect, particularly when it's repeated ad nauseum. Since your job depends on you being able to convey information, perhaps you would consider the slightly more informative phrasing, 'stated a falsehood' when appropriate. Or does being a political correspondent mean that you have a need to emulate our politicians?

Posted by: CuriousInAustin | May 5, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I don't get your own slipsliding word usage. You say that the government didn't "purposefully" infect African-Americans with syphilis. Yet, you say they knew the men had the disease, lied to them about it, and thus knowingly allowed these infected men to pass on the disease to their women and children. Sounds more like an "on purpose" than an " oh ops!" to me.

Posted by: Lucy | May 5, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I would encourage the WP Fact Checker to look into the Rev. Wright claims that the 9/11 attacks were in response to foreign policy actions by America over the last several years. The focus seems to be on the "government created AIDS" statements which have little or no merit. On the hand, just because he said something crazy doesn't mean everything he said is crazy. One has to be highly ignorant or running for office to pretend that "they" attacked us because they cannot abide our democracy and way of life. They were responding to, among other things, stationing U.S (non-Muslim, infidel) troops on the Arabian Penisula and our support of corrupt and repressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan. And it would help us to keep in mind that the biggest initial support of Al-Qaeda was....the CIA in the 1980's. We hand an important role in creating Bin Laden and compnay. That is not conspiracy theory, that is documented fact. We reap what we sow.

Posted by: Jonathan | May 5, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Should it be any surprise that this fishwrapper with a neocon editorial board is trying to squeeze one last day out of this ridiculous manufactured issue - hoping it will help their AIPAC-approved candidate with her primary vote tomorrow?

Posted by: B2O2 | May 5, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"There is ample documentation for Wright's charge that the U.S. government has failed to tell the truth about numerous episodes, from the bombing of Cambodia to justifying the war in Iraq. (He prefers the term "lie", which I generally try to avoid.)"

If the Reverend Wright believed a conspiracy theorist's tangled stories, he's no worse than any of half a dozen other prominent Reverends on the other side who certify that AIDS is a Godsend to cleanse the planet of homosexuality.

Yet, you saw fit to award the maximum sentence (4 Pinocchios) to Reverend Wright!? How many Pinocchios are you prepared to award the US government?

Posted by: R M Gopal | May 5, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

How strange to "fact-check" a clergyman's sermons. Are you going to fact-check all the other "weird" and "crazy" claims that Christian ministers make, like Jesus is the son of God (wacked out!) and Jesus rose from the dead (what do scientists say about that one?) or, in some cases, that the earth is only 7,000 years old?

Your paper's not big enough to "fact-check" religious claims. Is this an attempt to turn the Washington Post into a 5000-page daily?

Posted by: mruth | May 5, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I never respond to hese things and read them with amusement but this goes beyond the pale. First of all, its a non-issue and Rev Wright is not running for anything. Nut more importantly, you miss the point of the outrage regarding the Tuskagee matters and the true source of the fear and mistrust of the governemnt. It is not simply that the government failed to give the Black men medication, it is the the government determined that the value of the lives of these men and their families was so little that to sacrifice them for research without informing them of the true nature and treatability of their illness that brings about the mistrust and disgust with the government. In one fell swoop, for these men and their families, they were reduced back to 2/3 human status. That the gvernment did not actually infect them is almost irrelevant. Inaction in some cases is far more dangerous than an overt action. there are numerous examples where the US government from locals to the Supremes have made decisions that have been extremely detrimental to Black communities, so while I don't actually believe the Rev.'s pronunciations, I certainly know where they come from and people's beliefs develop from their experiences.....

Similarly, there is a differences between hearing the same clip from several years ago over and over ad nauseum, and having someone say overtly, this is where I am today.........

So when is the Hagee factchecker coming...?

Posted by: A Reader | May 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

People there is a big difference between misremembering events, and accusing 66% of the people in America of actively trying to eliminate 12% of the population by introducing a deadly virus.

Please, Obama has alot of false biography as well, he is a politician, they all do.

Posted by: DCDave | May 5, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

people should check out this column in the LATimes:,0,6531897.column

The argument being made is that in his Philly speech, Obama called for a national dialogue on race issues. So, when Wright stepped up to the plate, Obama promptly disowned him. Great way to start a dialogue ;-)

Posted by: vivek | May 5, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I expect you to fact check Reverand Hagee and John McCain's response to him next.

I expect you to fact check Hillary Clinton and her ties to CAFTA and her response to that.

I am sick of Reverend Wright. I don't care anymore. The press has beaten this issue into the ground. Your bias towards Clinton is painfully obvious. I used to subscribe to the post, but yhour conduct during this nomination process has been extremely disappointing.

Posted by: Terri | May 5, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I love how all you media people said that Obama can finally put Rev. Wright behind him now after that clean break, but still can't stop talking about him. You must all live sad and lowly lives to keep wallowing in the mud the way that you do.

Obama will win in spite all your lies and spin.

Posted by: Quinn Lacy, Dallas TX | May 5, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

You give Obama two Pinocchios because, in your opinion, he wasn't convincing? How is that remotely a FACT checker?

Posted by: Jayne | May 5, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The horse is already glue, for crying out loud.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse








Posted by: COMMON SENSE | May 5, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that African American politicians or AA in positions of power are ALWAYS accountable for what other AA people say regardless of relationship? Farrakaan, Sharpton, Jackson, Wright etc. Why am I responsible for what someone else said? Is Hillary Clinton responsible for what her father said when he used the "N" word. No.. Is Bill Clinton now a racist because he was mentored by the well known racist William J. Fulbright. No!! Why isn't the same standard applied to all groups? As a AA I joke with my other AA friends because we think that the MSM seems to believe that all AA's know each other in some way. This is just as ridiculous as the MSM seeming to think there are such things as AA leaders. (BTW, that ended in the 1960's.)

I hope to see that white politicians held to the same standard? Hagee, Parsley, Farwell, Robinson etc.. My question is haven't the men in both ethnic groups made equally egregious comments? What's the difference? My guess is that the editors and reporters see life through their personal experiences regardless of the claims of impartiality.. I believe there is a double standard. This is what happens when the "average number of minorities on media staffs is said to be at 8.6% and 92% white. Even worse 80% of all news directors are men according to RTNDA.. I wonder how many editors, writers etc are minorities on your staff.

BTW, I came back to this website when I thought the whole Rev. Wright non-story was over. I guess I will continue avoid reading your paper until you start talking about healthcare, food prices and housing. These are real issues that Americans care about. I understand that these issues may not be sexy because folks like you never have to worry about these issues but everyday Americans do.

Posted by: Ann | May 5, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

More pro-Hillary spin from the neocons at the Washington post. Ho-hum, nothing new.

Posted by: azjim | May 5, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I just watched Rev. Wright's appearance at the Nat'l Press Club on Truveo (a video search engine that includes YouTube, Daily Motion, Mega Video, and other such sites). He did NOT say the US gov't created AIDS. He said that the US was CAPABLE of inventing AIDS and then using it against its own people. He said that the Tuskeegee Experiment showed what the US gov't is CAPABLE of doing to its own citizens.

FactCheck needs to check its facts.

Posted by: Tampa, FL | May 5, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs more than two Pinocchios on his involvement with Reverend Wright who he has profusely referred to as "my spiritual advisor" and "one of the biggest influences on my thinking, and my life". If you want to hear Obama singing the praises of Wright just go to You Tube. Of course he knew what Wright was preaching. His mild and very tardy rebuke of Wright was unconvincing. The You Tube glorification of Wright was far more honestthan his rebuke so Obama deserves at least FOUR Pinocchios, at least as many as the biggest influence in his life!

Posted by: Mary | May 5, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I take exception with your conclusion:

"But it is not true to claim, as Wright did, that the U.S. government 'purposely infected' African-Americans with syphilis."

You must clearly define your value to "purposely" when it is clearly documented that the United States government actively engaged in a systematic effort to prevent infected subjects in the Tuskegee experiment from seeking and getting treatment for syphilis. This includes the surgeon general's office providing waivers to the infected men to serve in the armed forces when induction physical examination revealed syphilis.

Clear knowledge that a subject will in all likelihood spread a deadly contagion is the moral and legal basis for quarantine. For a state to knowingly take a dichotomous position would be as purposeful an act as if the CDC encouraged Andrew Speaker to leave the country by commercial carrier knowing he had drug-resistant TB.

This was far more than an act of omission. Your explanation fails at so many levels that it is imperative that the Fact Checker will now please explain how he/she concluded, in the case of the Tuskegee Experiment, that the United States government did not actively and "purposefully" engage in the spread of syphilis when they actively and purposefully prevented treatment and spread thereof.

Posted by: drhunt | May 5, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What an incredible waste of time and energy. Why are you "fact checking" Rev. Wright. No body is questioning the "idiocy" of his statements. The issue is whether or not Obama is any way supportive of his ideas. I would submit that the answer to that question is a resounding NO. There is nothing in the way that Obama has conducted his life that says otherwise. I believe the sole purpose of this article to continue to distract voters from the real issues. Shame on you!

Posted by: Sandy | May 5, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse


Look, whatever your bias is and whomever your candidate is don't compare an embellishment of facts about Bosnia to a direct statement of conspiracy with no evidence to back it up by the reverand. What really is disappointing about the discourse is that the extremes of both sides (there just are way more Obama extremists) point the finger and make accusations rather than comparing POLICY PROPOSALS.

Beyond rhetoric about big picture things with no plan for how they are to be done- her actual plans are far more substantial than his. For example, look at her HC plan which has all the aspects of his but also includes people with preexisting conditions more substantially and sets the bar at 100% coverage so that when you try to negotiate in the congress- you are not starting from a position of weakness.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

gee, so the U.S. government didn't exactly infect the men with syphillis, they just experimented with them, didn't treat them, even when a cure became available and basically used human beings as lab rats causing them to infect their wives and children and ruin their lives...that Rev. Wright...he was totally out of line...what the U.S. government did wasn't so bad after all...thanks for straightening that all out Fact Checker.

Posted by: sterling | May 5, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

OK, so when do we get a Fact Checker on the whacko preachers who have endorsed McCain, or better said, whose endorsements McCain sought? Or is it only black preachers who have to pass the media's litmus test? Hagee, Robertson, Falwell, Billy Graham, the list is endless when it comes to the whacko white reverends, but somehow they're held to a different standard -- or no standard at all.

Posted by: eo mcmars | May 5, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

wow- the U-tube rerelease of disproven accusations of the right wing about the Clintons in the 90s- presented by the "liberal" Huffington Post.

I used to call myself a liberal- I am a leftist now- you "liberal" idiots who want to play this stupid game to knock down the Clinton's for whatever reason- rather than talking about your candidate (who really isn't that liberal in his votes or policy proposals) embarrass me. Serious, learn something about your candidate beyond the rhetoric. You turned your back on Kucinich and Edwards who were actually giving liberal positions and are ignoring that most of HRC's proposals are more progressive than BHO's proposals (actual proposals, not grand rhetoric).

I'm disgusted.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Americans need to wake up to the fact that it is mainstream media is the most anti-American establishment as they are influencing our democratic process by pushing stories based on self interest (Ratings) in lieu of honest, fair and balanced reporting.

This is a shameful and highly destructive trend....

Conflict over substance

Posted by: nerakami | May 5, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

eo mcmars-

As much as I hate and would never vote for McCain- the difference is that McCain did not make any of those radical preachers major parts of his life- he did not write about their inspiration as a major part of his first book or title his second book after their sermons. He did not stay in the church 18 years while this stuff was being said. He did not have one of them perform (either of his) wedding ceremonies or baptize his kids. He did not have any of them bless him when he announced his candidacy or thank them first after he won his senate seat. In other words- trying to paste "it's the same" on him won't be very successful.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Michael, how about a fact-check on my neighbor? She claims that a wide-ranging conspiracy of neo-Nazis are stealing her possessions (one at a time, mind you) in an effort to run her out of our apartment complex.

Her claims are totally unsubstantiated!

And just like Jeremiah Wright, my neighbor is also NOT running for president.

Posted by: DFM | May 5, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Last time I looked Wright was not running for office.

Would Fact Checker please give us a clean bill on Pastor John Hagee's remarks about The Catholic Church? Hagee's endorsed McCain, so I guess you're obligated.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | May 5, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Okay, let's move on. Let's talk about the gas tax debate. I'm not a supporter of Obama, but he is the only one who got this right. A gas tax break will do nothing. It might not even lower prices as the oil corporations might just decide to pocket the excess as profit and not pass on the savings to the consumer. McCain and Clinton got this one wrong- way wrong.

Posted by: dcp | May 5, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse


Actively and "purposefully" spreading syphilis would include knowingly injecting test subjects with the disease. That is very different than actively and purposefully withholding treatment.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse


We are discussing the "gas tax holiday" over on the latest thread:

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The gas tax thing is really a non issue. Given Clinton's plan no difference would be made in the fedearal treasury, as the oil companies would pay it- and might by hesitant to pass that one on to consumers given the bad press that would come with that- and, in the end it saves the consumer very little money. It does encourage fossil fuel use which is a bad idea, but it it time limited. I think that this one is getting a lot of attention for something relatively irrelevant.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

JakeD pathetically splits hairs:
"Actively and "purposefully" spreading syphilis would include knowingly injecting test subjects with the disease. That is very different than actively and purposefully withholding treatment."

I have to admit, Jake, this is even lower than I conceived you could go. I guess you don't care about right from wrong. Actively withholding treatment, knowing that it would result in others having the disease passed to them, is the same as deliberately injecting them, from a legal liability perspective. That's why people with AIDS who knowingly have unprotected sex can be charged with murder (of one sort or another, depending on jurisdiction) if someone they passed it on to dies.

I know you're a troll, Jake, but this should have been beneath you.

Posted by: jk5432 | May 5, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Not at all, because from a legal liability perspective, is someone knowingly and actively spreads his own disease to a third person, that's the same as injecting said third person with a syringe containing the disease. You are mixing apples and oranges. Withholding treatment from that first person is (at least) one step removed from that first person knowingly transmitting the disease to a third person, and (at worst) negligent. After the standard of care changed, in 1947, it was arguably malpractice (although there are still issues of "governmental immunity" and "duty"). Let me know if you have any other questions.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Leon posts:
"As much as I hate and would never vote for McCain- the difference is that McCain did not make any of those radical preachers major parts of his life- he did not write about their inspiration as a major part of his first book or title his second book after their sermons. He did not stay in the church 18 years while this stuff was being said. He did not have one of them perform (either of his) wedding ceremonies or baptize his kids. He did not have any of them bless him when he announced his candidacy or thank them first after he won his senate seat. In other words- trying to paste "it's the same" on him won't be very successful."

There are over 8,000 people who are part of the Trinity Church; are you going to damn them all of them or just Obama for hanging around all these years? How about all of the folks who have attended Hagee's, Falwell's, Robertson's, et. al churches for all of the bile, race-baiting, homophobic, "it's your fault, America" rants regarding Katrina and the like? Or do they get a pass because they're generally white?

How about all the people who are still attending Catholic Churches after all of the pedophelia and molestations? Are you going to question their judgement also, or just the one candidate you've obviously chosen to smear?

Bottom line is that many people go to church for the religious aspects, knowing that they'll have to listen to crap they don't believe in from their minister, pastor, priest, etc. in order to meet their religiious needs. There are many reasons for staying besides having a need to agree, which is your accusation towards Obama, but closet bigots ignore them in their need to point a finger.

Aside from those points, why have I never seen a single post which not only claims that this says a "lot" about Obama's judgment, but also specifies exactly how it will affect his decisions as president? How EXACTLY will it affect his decisions on gas prices? How EXACTLY will it affect his decisions on the recession? How EXACTLY will it affect his decisions on Iraq? How EXACTLY will it affect his decisions on foreclosures? And so on.

If you can't answer with specifics, there really isn't a problem; it's just never-ending whining masquerading as thought.

Posted by: jk5432 | May 5, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Fact Checker for mentioning the Tuskegee experiment in this article. However you fail to capture the heart of the experiment and how it has affected the Black Community. THE STUDY WENT ON FOR 40 YEARS!!! THEY WERE NEVER TREATED!!!! THE STUDY WAS PERFORMED ON UNEDUCATED BLACK MEN ONLY!!!!! And all you have to offer is President Clinton Apologized for the nation????? They treated those men like lab rats, with no regard for them or their families. How can you read the FACTS about the study and still say the Government didn't do this on PURPOSE?????? It WAS on purpose and it was intentional. People please click on the link and read for yourself. WP has left out so many details.

Posted by: Monique | May 5, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

JakeD continues:
"Not at all, because from a legal liability perspective, is someone knowingly and actively spreads his own disease to a third person, that's the same as injecting said third person with a syringe containing the disease. You are mixing apples and oranges. Withholding treatment from that first person is (at least) one step removed from that first person knowingly transmitting the disease to a third person, and (at worst) negligent. After the standard of care changed, in 1947, it was arguably malpractice (although there are still issues of "governmental immunity" and "duty"). Let me know if you have any other questions."

Do you really believe a jury would buy that "theory", Jake? How many lawsuits againt the tobacco industry have been won on just the grounds I stated? The tobacco companies didn't force them to smoke (unless you consider the addictive nature of nicotine as being a deliberate injection, which has never been the case), but they have been found negligent based on not providing test results or providing misleading results, etc. Seems pretty similar to me, but, of course, you know better, right, Jake?

Posted by: jk5432 | May 5, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

On May 1, as polls showed Obama's numbers slipping badly, Indiana super-delegate Joe Andrew, who served briefly as DNC Chair at the very end of Bill Clinton's Presidency, announced that he was switching his backing from Clinton to Obama. In a statement, Andrew said: "This has got to come to an end. The ship is taking on water." Given that Andrew was DNC Chair during the disastrous 2000 election that sent George W. Bush to the White House, his statement has done little to inspire confidence in Obama's crumbling machine, or to sway voters.

Twenty-four hours later, another former DNC Chair, Massachusetts super-delegate Paul G. Kirk, announced that he would support Obama. But Kirk, a former special assistant to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), has always been in the Obama camp. It also has not gone unnoticed that Kirk's tenure as DNC Chair during the 1980s represented some of the darkest days for the Democratic Party, when hundreds of thousands of life-long Democrats continued to vote for Democrats in local elections, but abandoned what they viewed as a badly misguided Party in national elections--the phenomenon of "Reagan Democrats

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Senator Hillary Clinton ties Obama in Guam! Pundits like CNN & MSNBC got it wrong again predicting Obama would win by double digits. Each candidate got 50% of the votes! More than half the voters will not vote for obama! 56% who heard speech less likely to vote for Obama, his unfavorable rating among registered voters up 37 percent!! Clinton leads McCain 48 to 41 percent among all registered voters, while Obama and McCain are tied. National lead dropped 10pts now tied with Senator Clinton and he is now losing in IN too. Once 25 pts ahead in NC now just 5pts- They are not going to give this Presidency to Obama because hes black and if we don't blacks will stay home, so what? American is ready to elect a black man not this black man who recently revealed a major character flaw and again calls into question his judgment and truthfulness of the candidate whose entire appeal has been based on character or his lack there of and not solutions. If Clinton is not on the ballot Working White Middle class will stay home and Obama cannot win on just black votes. David Axelrod said Obama doesn't need white middle class voters. Axelrod said, "The white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections, going back even to the Clinton years. This is not new Democratic candidates don't need to rely solely on those votes."

Obama's Chickens Come Home to Roost too little, too late. The Wright controversy had revealed a major character flaw and calls into question his judgment once again and truthfulness of the candidate whose entire appeal has been based on character. Wright is like an uncle you love and respect As imperfect as he may be, he has been family to me for so many years, I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community" "I can no more disown him [Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown my white grandmother." a woman who once confessed her fear of black men after a black man had tried to shake her down for money. She gave him some, but he kept demanding more. "If the bus hadn't come, I think he might have hit me over the head," Obama says she told him. Rev Wright was right! Obama speech is ONLY for political purposes after the severe drop in polls!

Obama is now declaring himself shocked and disappointed at Wright's unrepentantly racist and anti-American views? Obamas obviously support his feelings of anti-America and white hatred that the church endorses to stay for 20 years and raise young daughters in that atmosphere Obama can no longer plausibly claim innocence in this matter, because he is the one who has encouraged Wright by trying to excuse and explain his views. All of this is why it is no use for Obama to backpedal from his association with Reverend Wright, or to denounce him now, six weeks too late. It was Obama who sought to provide the Reverend Wright with immunity from criticism--and he can't complain when the reverend tries to take full advantage of that immunity. This is the final collapse of the noble promise of the Obama campaign. The man who had once put himself forward as the candidate who would transcend racial politics once and for all has ended up legitimizing a Christian equivalent of Louis Farrakhan--and injecting him into the American political debate.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

jk5432 (and Monique now, too, I guess):

Please look up the definitions of "intentional" vs. "negligent" and then we can discuss further.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse


try being a little less of an attack dog.

Dude- if you hadn't noticed I don't support the people who have been with Falwell, etc. and I don't support McCain. However, beyond the rants for your new diety- you Obamopaths (not all Obamites are Obamopaths just those who can't see that he is not perfect) need to sometimes look at reality.

We are not talking about Barak vs. W or Barak vs. Reagan, we are talking about Barak vs. John. McCain has a bad history with the evangelical right wing- even if he is trying to fix the differences now- it will be hard to directly link him to Falwell since Falwell tried to destroy him 8 years ago.

The reality is that this is a real political/electoral problem for Barak, whether or not it should be. He has trouble with Latin and working class white voters, and this hurts with those voters. These voters who are necessary to win the following swing states: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, Ohio and Michigan. You can't actually put together an electoral map where Barak can win if he doesn't take these states. He probably can win Virginia as a new state but will have to spend resources in California and Pennsylvania, as McCain can make inroads there too.

I am a leftist- I can't survive another right wing presidency. Barak has a very tough road ahead. Don't discount what this means to general voters.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Leon: that argument goes both ways. It's not always easy to end a complicated relationship, whether with a SO or with a pastor (when I was brought up as a Catholic, there was never any question about going to your assigned parish, no matter how much of an imbecile the pastor might be). One could just as easily argue that McCain sought out endorsements from known demagogues when he clearly should have known better.

Posted by: eo mcmars | May 5, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

And here is what it says about Obama's judgement. Obama was willing to put up with a church that spewed views that he didn't agree with and that had a destructive element to them for political reasons. As a Hawwain raised by a white mother and grandparents who attended preperatory school and upscale colleges in California and New York when he became a community organizer, Obama needed to link with powerful people within the AA community in order to further his political carreer. Although he looks a little like the residents of the south side, he didn't share their experiences, there speech styles, their culture- so he attached himself to someone who did.

He claims in "dreams of my father" (have you read it?) that he found his spiritual and moralvoice with Rev. Wright, etc. But since the Rev. has been making these political statements for many years- he tolerated and supported a church that differed from his professed views- why- because he needed "street cred"...

What does that say for how he will make decisions within the government? It is his claim of making decisions not based on politics or money but based on a higher moral ground that is totally blown out of the water by his long term relationship with Reverand Wright.

So when Barak's numbers are low and the monied interests have convinced a vocal part of the population that universal HC is not all that important, what is going to happen? Will he be able to be the "anti-war" candidate when there are political consequences (there were none for a speech at a rally in 2002- but he backed up on the antiwar stance quite a bit when running in 2003, 2004)

Please don't now respond with some anti-HRC garbage- because she does not make the claim of being above politics. Let's continue the discussion on what this is really about.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

When the Rev. William Procanick put his hand on the Bible during his
sex-abuse trial in Oneida County Court earlier this year, he swore to
tell the whole truth And nothing but the truth. But as the former
Clinton Pastor was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for
Inappropriately touching a 7-year-old girl at his Home last March, Judge
Michael L. Dwyer said Procanick Sacrificed his honesty the day he
Okay, so now that Bill and Hillary Clinton's pastor Has been convicted
of child molestation, will we see the Same furor directed at Hillary
that Obama has had to Endure these last few weeks?
Then you u need to email this article to everyone you Know. Here the
CLINTON'S Pastor is convicted of child Molestation. So, if Obama bears
the guilt for his pastor's comment; then Hillary has to be equally
tainted by this man's crimes.

Posted by: John | May 5, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

John (aka Busy Beaver):

The difference, as I've posted on every other thread you've spammed this to, is that neither Clinton knew Procanick was molesting children. Obama knew about Wright and DEFENDED him ("I could no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother").

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

are you sure that was Clinton's pastor?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

the pastor was from the town of Clinton- thus "Clinton's pastor"- just like an obamopath to not read the whole thing but rather take the superficial outline!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

How many Pinnochios does Michael Dobbs get for lying about what are and are not "facts"? He writes that vidoes of Wright's sermons have been circulating widely the "last few weeks," and therefore Obama's claim that he was unaware of the statements before that is "hard to believe." Of course, the fact that the videos have been circulating for a few weeks says nothing about whether Obama knew about them before they started circulating. Dobbs has no facts to support his conclusion that Obama's claim is "hard to believe." Because he presents that conclusion in a piece called "The Fact Checker," it is a lie. Therefore, I award Michael Dobbs three Pinnochios.

Posted by: Adam | May 5, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

So Wright is a little far-fetched on the HIV and the government thing. But even the author here acknowledges the strength of the larger point -- governments do lie. And if they lie then citizens are responsible for criticizing the government.

Wright preaches predominantly about reconciliation, including in regard to Israel. He "damned" America for a long list of policies that have victimized black people historically AND to this very day. To call him "anti-American" or "hateful" toward America is to insist that he happily accept government policies that have victimized black people. It is to insist that the white supremacist element of our national culture is above criticism.

Wright clearly supports a "land for peace" settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. This is consistent with U.S. government efforts over decades, regardless of the party holding the White House.

The "chickens coming home to roost" commentary is consistent with what numerous leading academics on foreign policy and terrorism have written. Wright was preaching in the face of a huge wave of post-911 nationalist sentiment that was promising more violence in response. He was preaching a Christian-based perspective on trying to escape the cycle of violence.

Wright does a lot of good thinking. And he certainly represents a proud American tradition of opposing ill-advised wars and heavy-handed foreign policy. He tries to make foreign policy for humane, more thoughtful about who we call our enemies. It is a difference of opinion that no one is required to accept obviously, but it is a valid position with many similar supporters in America. None of it makes him anti-American or hateful. That is just political pigeon-holing and the politics of slime and smear. He is arguing precisely about what America means.

Posted by: Darren Bonnett | May 5, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

This article demonstrates the ease with which whites regard the plight blacks suffer in America. 59 black people contracted syphilis because the government practiced a course of deceit over 40 years. (If you want to argue that the government itself didn't stick a needle directly into the arms of the victims, well, that sort of hair-splitting didn't pass in Nuremberg.) And Michael Dobbs is apparently OK with that. Dobbs also concedes, straight out, that "There is ample documentation for Wright's charge that the U.S. government has failed to tell the truth about numerous episodes, from the bombing of Cambodia to justifying the war in Iraq." But four Pinnochios anyway?

Here's the truth: no one KNOWS how HIV originated. There are all sorts of theories, from a polio vaccine gone awry to biological weaponry. But no one knows. Your belief in the likelihood of the government being behind HIV is a function of your skepticism in the government. One thing IS for sure: this government, historically, has never been kind to blacks.

I think Wright is close to sincere in believing the government is behind HIV. (Some of would be shocked, most of us would be surprised but not shocked, Wright would be neither surprised nor chocked.) So 2 would be appropriate.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 5, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

mike stein
posted 4/24/08 @ 2:19 PM EST

Examine the Cook County land records:

The deed for the house that the Obama's purchased for $300k less than the asking price is from Frederic Wondisford and his wife, Sally Radovic, to the Obama's Northern Trust Company Land Trust #10209 (established as such for "confidentiality") is dated 15 June 2005 and is recorded 21 June 2005 as Document #0517233010. Declared value is $1,650,000.00.

The deed for the vacant lot is from Wondisford/Radovic to Rita M. Rezko. This deed is dated 15 June 2005 and recorded a day earlier, on 20 June 2005 as Document #0517133004. Declared value is $625,000.00.

Examination of the Cook County records very clearly indicates that Rita M. Rezko conveyed the entire lot to Obama's Northern Trust Company Land Trust #10209 on 11 January 2006 and recorded 16 February 2006 as Document #0604733162. Declared value is $104,500.00.

VERY IMPORTANTLY, thorough and careful examination of all Cook County land records fails to locate a deed back to Rita M. Rezko from the Obama's Northern Trust Company Land Trust #10209.

There is a "wild' deed indicated from Rita M. Rezko to "5050 S. Greenwood LLC". This is an Illinois limited liability corporation with the same address as Rezmar Corporation that is registered to the indicted Tony Rezko. (This deed is considered "wild" because it is not supported by any ownership deed from the Obama's Land Trust.)

Furthermore, Tony Rezko's registered corporation, 5050 S. Greenwood LLC, then pledges the entire vacant lot in favor of a mortgage THAT IS STILL OPEN with Fifth Third Bank for the amount of $375,000.00. This is Document #0703357023 recorded 2 February 2007.


This is contrary to what has been stated by Senator Obama; contrary to what has been stated by Senator Obama's campaign staff: and contrary to what has been reported.

It must be noted that a seemingly intelligent Harvard educated attorney does not make such unknowing errors as stated above. The above is obvious intent not "oversight".

Posted by: elme | May 5, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: Wake Me At Convention, Barack | May 5, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

the truth hurts some people......then they start lying

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

mike stein
posted 4/24/08 @ 2:19 PM EST

Examine the Cook County land records:

mike stein
posted 4/24/08 @ 2:19 PM EST

Examine the Cook County land records:

mike stein
posted 4/24/08 @ 2:19 PM EST

Examine the Cook County land records:

svreader, umbrio, Himey Einstein, Lefty Schwartz, mike stein

svreader, umbrio, Himey Einstein, Lefty Schwartz, mike stein

svreader, umbrio, Himey Einstein, Lefty Schwartz, mike stein

mike stein
posted 4/24/08 @ 2:19 PM EST

Examine the Cook County land records:

mike stein
posted 4/24/08 @ 2:19 PM EST

Examine the Cook County land records:

mike stein
posted 4/24/08 @ 2:19 PM EST
















Posted by: ThankYahwehForHillary | May 5, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Well said, JakeD,

We Israelis deserve BETTER than Barack Obama.

We need Hillary.

Israelis for Hillary, me and JakeD, SnakeD, ShakeMe, WakeMe and BakeMe

Ha Ha Ha We Want to Vote In The USA!!!

Posted by: DakeJ | May 5, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

elme, or mike stein,

I hope you're not trying to suggest some type of WhiteWater Deal has gone on.

Is that it? Cause if that's your angle, who would you suggest Americans vote for? Hillary and "White Water Willy"?

Or do you promote McNuggets? I don't care if what you say is true. You don't get more crooked, greedy, and unethical than the Clintons and I will not vote for McBLT, so that leaves Obama.

Thanks for your concern, though

Posted by: Obama Whitewater? Really? | May 5, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

"Still, I am reminded of what my veteran colleagues already knew--that every statement I made would be subject to scrutiny, dissected by every public pundit, interpreted in ways over which I had no control, and combed through for a potential error, misstatement, omission, or contradiction that might be filed away by the opposition party and appear in an unpleasant TV ad somewhere down the road."

OF HOPE: 2006
Barack Obama

Posted by: rcpol | May 5, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse


The videos were for sale and widely circulated on youtube and elsewhere for over a year. If Obama did not know about them then he is incompetent. I don't care if he attended the church for real or not (if it was just to give him political cover let him take that up with someone who is religious)- but the notion that he did not know what this guy was saying as he ran through multiple campaigns is garbage.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

All preachers say crazy things from the pulpit if they are real preachers. They say that there is a God. They say that there is a devil. They say that Jesus was born from a virgin. They say that Jesus could do miracles. They say that Jesus walked on water. They say that Jesus came back from the dead. They say that Jesus flew to heaven.

People go to church for the community. Nobody is mentored by a pastor unless they are going to be a minister. That's church 101. A church of thousands and you are lucky to say hi to the pastor let alone get personal time from him. You pay your pastor to marry you and you get your kids babtized. On sunday you half listen to the pastor while you think about the game. That's going to church.

Everyone knows this is the truth if they go to church.

All of us who grew up in church could tell a dozen stories of things worse said by our own pastor.

This just shows that there's nothing of substance to fight Obama with so you gotta go with rediculous make believe things like what his pastor thinks.

Posted by: Anton Bursch | May 5, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Tom S | May 5, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

When it is all said and done, what you see and what you will hear is Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

With all I have seen and heard of Rev. Wright (from the man himself), I DO NOT see Barack Obama as some kind of off-spring of Rev. Wright's preaching.

I am more confident and convinced now that Barack Obama is tougher than we seem to admit. He's up against: William Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, the Republican party and their 527 machine, FOX news and, unfortunately, his former "pastor." To refer to Barack Obama as an underdog is an understatement.

I can't wait to vote for this man in November.

Posted by: Reggie Boykins | May 6, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a crook & Michelle is a black power terrorist wannabe. Other than that, they're just an aspiring upper-class black couple with ambitions that exceed the normal range of their group.

Posted by: daveinboca | May 6, 2008 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a crook & Michelle is a black power terrorist wannabe. Other than that, they're just an aspiring upper-class black couple with ambitions that exceed the normal range of their group.

Posted by: daveinboca | May 6, 2008 4:51 AM | Report abuse

The Tuskegee "experiment" by the U.S. "government" was beyond AMORAL--it turns my stomach to think that on any level this was thought to be legitimate. In fact it sounds more like experiments on lab rats--which obviously is what the white governing officials thought about African Americans at the time. I am white and I am so ashamed--the MSM and pundits--primarily white, are actively race baiting--not letting this Wright deal pass while Satan and Co. are wholesale slaughtering this country and Hilary is acting like a man and not just any man--a good ole deer hunting tobacco chewing liquor swigging threatened by black people, white boy. Gee I thought she had found her "voice" months ago when she tearfully clued us in on who she truly was. All those many many years of experience and she just happens to find her voice--except it changes state to state. Please God let this be over soon!

Posted by: Hyatt | May 6, 2008 5:14 AM | Report abuse

Only TWO pinocchios for Obama's bare-video lies about Wright's comments that have been repeatedly paraded across his speeches. First, he said Wright's comments were misrepresented, that clips were taken out of context, in his Great Race Speech. Then, he said that Wright came forth with more in the National Press Club Q&A when Wright said the same things and affirmed them.

Since when does a bare-assed set of lies repeatedly pitched in nationally broadcast speeches and interviews rate TWO pinocchios?

Since you repeatedly fact-checked Clinton (four times, was it?) on the same issue (Bosnia), this long-running Wright issue fact-check is just limp.

The sad part is that those Obama supporters who consider themselves high-information voters as opposed to low-information voters are being fed on biased junk like this fact-check column, as part of their "high information".

Posted by: Annette Keller | May 6, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

HIV is perhaps one of the most mysterious diseases of the 20th century. Wright believes it to be man made and believes that given the history of the U.S. government is using humans as for experiments (I note you do not mention the LSD trials of the CIA nor the deliberate dropping of bacteria on San Francisco and other U.S. cities by the military to test the spread of germ ware fare). Wright cites a credible source for his conclusion- Horowitz from Harvard. Thus, it is not clear how you can claim Wright is lying. He has formed a reasoned opinion based on his observation of historical trends and he cites a respected source. He may be incorrect in his conclusion- but hardly can you claim that he is lying. Wright correctly concludes that the U.S. government did infect others with syphilis by using human carriers. Wright has a credible argument. Today's Fact Checker should itself be awarded Four Pinocchios.

Posted by: andrew | May 6, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"By some accounts, the infected men passed on syphilis to 40 wives and 19 children. But it is not true to claim, as Wright did, that the U.S. government "purposely infected" African-Americans with syphilis."

So the intelligent researchers had no idea infected men would pass the disease on? Sounds like criminal negligence to me, or depraved indifference to human life, yet you give the man four puppets and say the infection was not deliberate? As for HIV, the U.S. experimented with polio vaccines in Africa; monkey tissue was part of the vaccine's manufacturing process and was strongly considered the source of the cross-species leap of the virus. But that has been "discredited." Still, if it was the source, amidst the experimentation on Africans (which itself is despicable), would the U.S. admit it? Of course not.

Posted by: edwcorey | May 6, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Criminal NEGLIGENCE is still not "purposely" infecting (see my posts above).

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Having worked with HIV, both prevention and direct care, for over a decade, I am surprised that so many people are shocked that someone would say the government intentionally developed HIV to commit genocide. It is a commonly held belief in many of our US subpopulations, and is regularly encountered by those of us working in the field. I don't see why this is such a massive issue to wrap your minds around

Posted by: janice | May 6, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Your bias is showing. How many "preachers" make even more "unscientific" claims, like the Earth was created in six 24-hour days (tho "hours" weren't even invented as a measuring device that long ago), or that a Virgin could give birth (where did that Y gene come from, huh? If a virgin woman COULD give birth, it would have to be to another woman).

But I suppose these are not subject to Pinocchio's because they are doctrines of "faith." Well, sorry, but that doesn't cut the mustard.

And I notice you did not subject many of his other statements to your scrutiny, like the US killed thousands of innocent people, in Iraq, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, in wars that are arguable NOT "just wars."

I think there are many, many people in this country who think the War in Iraq was not a just war, and that the killing of civilians there (not to mention the torture of them) was a war crime.

Attacking Wright is unfair unless you attack Hagee, Robertson, Phelps, etc. St. John McCain SOUGHT Hagee's endorsement and has not disavowed him or his statements at all, and the press just remains mute on the issue.

Give it a REST.

Posted by: theRealCalGal | May 6, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

This is the one thing that puzzles me with the Media.

They practically ignore the TRUTH and believe that everything Obama says even if it's so obvious that HE was lying all the time.

Obama sat there for 20 years and didn't know about these things. IF true, how can we hire him as President of the most powerful country on earth. What does it say about the character of the man.

And yes everything that Jeremiah Wright said at the his Press Conference were just repetitions of everything that was said earlier.

It's very obvious that this guy lies and was playing with the media at the expense of the American people.

He is a MASTER!!!

Posted by: No Obama in 08 | May 7, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse


With regards to HIV, etc - belief is not proof, and apparently all of your work in the field has missed a crucial point:

HIV affects everyone regardless of race.

It's blood libel designed to provoke people to the idea that everyone "not like us" is "out to get us".

Perhaps, you should explain to those you work with that not everyone judges each other by the color of their skin... as apparently, they do to hold such a notion.

Posted by: wolf | May 8, 2008 4:14 AM | Report abuse

Nothing Wright said is novel.

The Tuskegee Experiment really did happen. The government did not infect the men with syphilis, but they did use these men as laboratory animals, studying the progression of the disease, keeping their condition a secret from them, and not treating them. If the government conducted this experiment (and there is no dispute that they did), what else has it done?

The allegation that the government created AIDS is an old conspiracy theory that has been written about in scientific journals, and discussed thoroughly. Unfortunately, many Americans are oblivious to some of the horrors of Black history in this country.

Posted by: Enough Already | May 8, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The U.S. government did much more than withhold treatment. They prevented treatment by ACTIVELY intervening when one of the subjects went to a public health clinic or military health facility. By your logic there is no basis for the practice of state quarantine. Because of its inherent duty to protect its citizens a state has more methods to actively infect its citizens than a syringe.

Posted by: drhunt | May 8, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Of course the government lies. Wright is simply saying that. I and I completely agree with him.

The failure of the government to notify and properly treat the syphilis that the Tuskegee endured vs. intentionally infecting them with syphilis seems like a very small distinction. I seriously doubt that the government created HIV as a means of genocide against people of color. But many people of color believe just that. Problem: few people believe the government anymore, nor should they. Dobbs comes across as an idiotic apologist for a very corrupt government, only about 15% of which operates above the surface. Like an iceberg, most of the government is hidden below the surface.

Posted by: maddog57 | May 9, 2008 1:28 AM | Report abuse

So, I guess the concensus is that "The government did not infect the men with syphilis" correct? The government DID use these men as laboratory animals, studying the progression of the disease, keeping their condition a secret from them, and not treating them. The government DID intervene when one of the subjects went to a public health clinic or military health facility. The government cannot can claim surprise when the disease spread. Good discussion -- thanks, all.

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The following was from another thread (in case anyone here wants to debate further):

Sorry. You [Dobbs] have a permanent four Pinocchios, after your hair-splitting in order to minimize the US Government's role in the Tuskegee Experiment.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 13, 2008 6:01 PM


"Minimize"?! Here's where the sense of humor stops. All that Dobbs pointed out is that no one from the U.S. Government PURPOSEFULLY INFECTED those poor men -- a la Dr. Mengele -- everyone (including Dobbs) has rightly condemned the U.S. Government for what it failed to do regarding said infected men. Properly understanding the difference -- and pointing that out -- is "minimizing" the US Government's role in the Tuskegee Experiment? Probably "racist" too, huh?

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 6:23 PM


I'll stand on what I posted. A definition of "minimize" is as follows: "represent as less significant or important." He called allowing human beings to suffer and die merely a "breach of medical ethics", and his rationale was that the government did not infect the original patients. That is representing their deaths and suffering as less significant or important, because (presumably) the government did not directly infect them.

Here's the thing -- he gave O'Donnell three Pinocchios for a statement that was arguably true (heavy on the arguably). One star, yeah, sure. Three? On a scale of zero to four, where four is Hillary's Bosnia sniper fire lie? I can't see it. But that forced him to justify the rating, which means he had to go into what happened and then, somehow, say it wasn't THAT bad.

He cited Tom Brokaw, but, as I pointed out, Brokaw's statement was _literally_ accurate. And he completely gives a pass to the government's consistently deceiving these people: not only did it not offer real treatment, it lied about what they were suffering from and deceived them -- by giving them aspirin -- into thinking they were receiving treatment for the malady the government conned them into thinking they were suffering.

Someone else pointed out that (a) the Post doesn't go around fact-checking how many Jews died in the Holocaust and (b) they would take Jewish sensitivity into account in reporting that, if they did. Dobbs has no sensitivity whatsover as to how wrong withholding treatment for suffering human beings; he calls it (relying on memory here) a "regrettable breach of medical ethics."

And there's no escaping that the study was, itself, racist, as it was a study in the progression of syphillis in the Negro male. As if it would be different in white males.

Put it this way -- if all you've got is, well, the government didn't stick a needle with syphilis into them, it just sat back and let them suffer and die when treatment was readily available -- you got nothing. That's as weak an excuse as, I was just following orders. And if you would not be so prone to split hairs over a similar incident where whites are the victim, yeah, you're racist.

So let's review:

1) The government, at a minimum, lied to people about their sickness

2) The government withheld treatment that could have alleviated their sickness

3) People suffered and died, including innocent women and children

4) Only blacks were selected, only blacks suffered in this fashion.

But -- BUT -- the Government did not stick a syphilis needle in people to infect them.

JakeD, what would YOU call this? A breach of medical ethics? Would you say that these people were victims of class, and not race? And where's the similar study, whose subjects were middle-class whites in, say, Kensington, MD?

I get you think people throw the word "racist" around freely. But what would you call this?

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 13, 2008 7:23 PM


I think I already answered that (on the prior thread), especially after the standard of care changed, the government doctors' conduct was -- at worst -- criminal negligence. Sorry you think the distinction between that and Dr. Mengele INTENTIONALLY INFECTING Jews is such a close call -- I would dare say you are "minimizing" those Nazi experiments and not being too "sensitive" yourself, but that's not the type of ad hominem argument I care to make.

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 7:39 PM


I rarely agree with any thing JakeD posts, but I think he's right about the Tuskegee Experiments. It does not minimize the horror and wrongness of what DID happen when you make factual statments about what DID NOT happen. Nobody was intentionally infected. Any one who says that people were is misrepresenting the facts, and should be called out on it.

Posted by: SonicJones | May 13, 2008 7:58 PM

Thanks (I guess).

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 8:07 PM


My reference to Mengele did not involve his "INTENTIONALLY INFECTING Jews" (your words). Far as I know, he did not infect anyone with anything. He DID perform some pretty horrific experiments on people.

But here's the salient point: "Mengele tried to prove that Noma was caused by racial inferiority." (wikipedia) I contend that that is not any different than "doctors" attempting to prove that syphilis has a different course of progression in blacks than in whites. Soooo -- in this regard, there's not a dime's worth of difference between Mengele and the Tuskegee doctors.

Criminal negligence (i.e., failure to act) is not applicable here, because there was an overt act -- lying and administering (essentially) placebos. Manslaughter, I think, although obviously the defense would be acting under color of governmental authority. But again -- doctors who did what Mengele* did were charged as war criminals performing medical experiments, without the subjects' consent, on prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries. Several who were found guilty of this charge were executed.

As it happens, I cited Mengele because (a) it is apposite and (b) I consider the Nazis the "gold standard", if you will, of evil. Allowing people who are trusting you for care to suffer with syphilis, while lying to them about what they are suffering from and how you are treating them, is high 9s on the 0 to 10 scale of evil. It's hard to go beyond that. That takes a pretty depraved mind. And I think you should take a look at yourself, if you can look past all the evil that entailed _to parse a sentence_ as if this was some sort of academic exercise. I am sure the fact that you possess that ability does not bother you. I am proud to say it bothers ME, deeply, just like the tales of Jews being betrayed and murdered bother me. 'cause once you can compartmentalize that, you're not far away from minimizing it.

*Mengele himself was not charged, as he was presumed dead.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 13, 2008 11:22 PM


I certainly am not the one "minimizing" anything. As SonicJones pointed out, the facts are simply the facts. Here's another FACT: Dr. Josef Mengele infected Jews with typhoid, etc.:

Posted by: JakeD | May 14, 2008 10:33 AM


If you see this post, all I am asking is that you please reconsider your prior (what I could argue is "insensitive") insistence of equating "Dr." Mengele with the Tuskegee Experiment -- read this book "Children of the Flames" by Joe E. White which chronicles Mengele's notorious medical experiments on approximately THREE THOUSAND twins who passed through the Auschwitz death camp. Only a few of these twins survived and, later, they have told their story of how they were given special privileges in Auschwitz owing to Mengele's interest in twins, and how as a result they have suffered during the past sixty years, as the children who survived the still unknown and unexplained medical experiments and injections at the hands of Josef Mengele.

Keep in mind, also, that Mengele was only the most prominent Nazi "doctor" around, but many others PURPOSEFULLY INFECTED victims with malaria, Streptococcus, gas gangrene, and tetanus -- not to mention all the grisly deaths by freezing, mustard gas, sea water, and unspeakable sorts of horrors -- whether you like it or not, the Nazi Experiments are not apposite to the Tuskegee Experiment.

Posted by: JakeD | May 14, 2008 5:02 PM

Posted by: JakeD | May 15, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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