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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Don't Let the Truth Get in the Way of an Opportunity to Attack the President

Here is just one more example of a liberal democrat not letting the truth get in the way of an opportunity to attack President Bush.

On December 17th The Standard-Times of New Bedford, Massachusetts published a report of a University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth student who claimed that he was visited and questioned by federal agents after requesting, through an interlibrary loan program, a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's "The Little Red Book."

The student, who has remained unidentified, told two of his professors that he had filled out the interlibrary loan form, which required that he leave his name, address, phone number, and social security number, and that he was later visited by federal agents at his parents' home.

One of the student's professors, Robert Pontbriand, for whom the student was working on a research paper on communism, commented that, "Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring inter-library loans, because that's what triggered the visit, as I understand it."

After this report appeared in The Standard-Times, Senator Ted Kennedy, D-MA, wasted little time in using the alleged incident to besmirch the Bush administration. In a December 22 op-ed in The Boston Globe, Kennedy wrote:

Just this past week there were public reports that a college student in Massachusetts had two government agents show up at his house because he had gone to the library and asked for the official Chinese version of Mao Tse-tung's Communist Manifesto. Following his professor's instructions to use original source material, this young man discovered that he, too, was on the government's watch list.

Think of the chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom when a government agent shows up at your home -- after you request a book from the library.

Incredibly, we are now in an era where reading a controversial book may be evidence of a link to terrorists.

Wow! The senior senator from Massachusetts really has something there; that certainly is "chilling" evidence that President Bush is over-stepping his constitutional bounds.

There is, however, one small problem: the entire story was a hoax.

On December 24th, two days after Kennedy's op-ed, The Standard-Times published a follow-up report with the headline Federal agents' visit was a hoax . The student made it all up. There was no visit by federal agents.

So Senator Kennedy is guilty of not checking his facts before discrediting the President of the United States. Well, we can forgive him for that, given the irrational but well-known and passionate desire he and others of his kind have for bringing this President to his knees. But surely, when the Senator found out that the student's story was fabricated, he immediately issued an apology for inadvertently perpetuating the fraud – right? Well, not quite.

The Senator's only response has come through spokeswoman Laura Capps. According to the The Boston Globe, Capps said that even if the assertion was a hoax, it did not detract from Kennedy's broader point that the Bush administration has gone too far in engaging in surveillance.

So there you have it, straight from the liberal playbook: don't let the truth get in the way of an opportunity to attack the President.

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