In a truly bizarre piece in today’s Washington Post, staff writer Perry Bacon, Jr., devotes more than 1,400 words to rumors that Barack Obama, a longtime member of a United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago, might be a closet Muslim. The story, which uses the word “rumor” or “rumors” nine times and quotes conservatives including Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, the website Human Events, and Jeffrey Kuhner, the editor of Insight (the conservative magazine that began the now-debunked rumor that Obama studied at a madrassa), seems at times to support, rather than merely report upon, internet claims that Obama is “a ‘Muslim plant’ in a conspiracy against America.” Obama’s Kenyan grandfather was a Muslim.
According to “rumors and emails circulating on the internet,” Bacon writes, Obama, like actual Muslim Keith Ellison, will be sworn in as president if elected on a copy of the Koran. Bacon then cites a Pew survey that finds 45 percent of respondents were less likely to vote for a Muslim candidate. Of Obama, who lived in Indonesia as a boy, Bacon writes, “It is not clear whether that negative sentiment will affect someone who has lived in a Muslim country but does not practice Islam.”