Nonsense Detector: Obama and Islam; Orthodoxy of the Apostate; Hagee and Riskin

Gershom Gorenberg


Last month, military historian Edward Luttwack used the pulpit of the New York Times op-ed page to offer a solution to the American right’s burning problem: How can Barack Obama be attacked as both a dangerous Muslim and as the follower of a dangerous black pastor? (As I wrote , this is difficult even for those used to believing six impossible things before breakfast.) Luttwack argued that Obama is really an apostate Muslim, subject to the death penalty in Islam.

The Times public editor, Clark Hoyt, has now reached the judgment that the article should never have appeared. Here’s his basic standard:

Op-Ed writers are entitled to emphasize facts that support their arguments and minimize others that don’t. But they are not entitled to get the facts wrong or to so mangle them that they present a false picture.

Hoyt interviewed five scholars of Islam;

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