Last week (Volume 10 Issue 4) we printed an article, supposedly a letter by Senator Barack Obama, which detailed his childhood and his relations with Muslims and Islam over the years. The letter had been sent to us by a trusted friend of TMO. The letter seemed to us perfectly attuned to the sensibilities of Muslims, even though it clearly declared his actually being a Christian and not a Muslim.
It came to our attention shortly after our mass emailing last week that the letter was a fraud, actually written by a blogger named Umar Lee. The letter was widely circulated after being written by Mr. Lee, becoming â€œviralâ€ in the emails of Muslims and this in fact is the way we received it. By the time we received it the letter did not have Umar Leeâ€™s signature at the bottom; the email said in fact that the letter had been sent to CAIR as an explanation of Obamaâ€™s background.
We wish to print some statement on the issue from the Obama campaign. Therefore, we have made approximately 10 calls to different offices of the Obama campaign since Monday morning; we have left our contact information on every voicemail; we spoke at length with one volunteer for the campaign (who is not authorized to speak on behalf of the campaign) who explained that he thought the campaign staff might consider it unwise to respond on such an issue. We left two voice messages with Michael Ortiz, Senator Obama’s federal press secretary, and left one message with his campaign press office. But as of this writing, we have heard nothing from the campaign.
We at TMO are deeply embarrassed by what has happened, and because of this event we will implement changes in our policies regarding verification of outside submissions. Since we have limited staff and time for verification, we will be forced to rely more on our own paid writers and our subscription to news services rather than outside submissions.