This is where we find ourselves three months away from the presidential election in the year 2016. Responding to Donald Trump’s ludicrous claims, the national media are publishing and broadcasting the information that our nation’s president is not, in fact, the founder of a terrorist organization.
Donald Trump declared at a rally: “ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He is the founder of ISIS, okay? He is the founder. He founded ISIS. And I would say the cofounder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”
And when rightwing firebrand Hugh Hewitt tried to give him an out, saying, “You meant that he created the vacuum; he lost the peace,” Donald responded defiantly, “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”
As a result, the media somehow feel obliged to report that Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America, is not the founder of ISIS, and Hillary Clinton, Democratic nominee for President, is not a co-founder of ISIS.
Politifact called it a “pants on fire claim” and noted plainly: “Let us be clear: It is wildly inaccurate to say Obama or Clinton ‘co-founded’ ISIS.”
The Washington Post Fact Checker interviewed Joby Warrick, author of a bestselling book on the rise of ISIS, who said Donald’s assertion is “a ludicrous claim.”
Under the headline “Obama Is Not the ‘Founder’ of ISIS – These Guys Are,” ABC News explains, “President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are not the ‘founders’ of the terrorist organization ISIS,” then introduces us to ISIS’ actual founding members, complete with their photos.
The BBC includes in its coverage an explainer section with the header: “How was Islamic State founded?”
CNN featured an instant fact-checking chyron reading: “Trump Calls Obama Founder of ISIS (He’s Not).”
On and on and on.
The Guardian cannot even mask its disbelief at what is happening in the United States, filing their story under the headline: “Trump reiterates he literally believes Barack Obama is the ‘founder of Isis’.”
We find ourselves in an extraordinary time. A time in which the Republican nominee has not merely moved the Overton Window, but has thrown all of us out of it — and we’ve landed on the pavement below, dazed and wondering what alternate reality it is in which we’ve awoken that the media think it’s acceptable or necessary to inform us that the President isn’t the founder of ISIS.
A day after many of them equivocated about his call for the assassination of his rival.
What is even happening?
This line from Kipling’s famous poem comes to mind:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…
UPDATE: Politico Playbook now confirms the news. “For the record: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are not founders of ISIS.”
Wow, thanks, we never would have guessed!
UPDATE 2: AP joins the fact checkers in verifying what America was collectively wondering about:
Donald Trump says President Barack Obama is the “founder” of the Islamic State group. He’s not, of course.
[Melissa McEwan and Peter Daou contributed to this article.]