I can’t say I’m shocked to discover The Washington Times, via its Insight magazine, would peddle a story about Barack Obama’s childhood attendance at a madrassa—a story that the most cursory scrutiny revealed to be complete bullshit. But I was a little taken aback by the magazine’s online response to its many critics on this issue—not for its content, but for its borderline illiterate prose. I could get hung up on details, wondering how it could be that professional editors would be innocent of the basic rules of sentence mechanics governing comma usage—
Only when FOX and several national radio talk show hosts jumped on the story, did they issue their denials.
—or subject-verb agreement—
This is precisely the kind of irresponsible journalistic practices that we teach our interns not to do.
—to say nothing of clunky locutions that make “practices” the object of “to do.” But it’s the general tenor of the piece more than any one sentence. Something about it seemed vaguely familiar, and I couldn’t put my finger on why until I realized that it reminded me of The New Frontiersman, Alan Moore’s parody of a lunatic-fringe tabloid from Watchmen. I can only hope the Times will hasten to blow the whistle on Obama’s insidious plot to murder millions of New Yorkers with a phony alien monster.
Addendum: Several of Jonah Goldberg’s correspondents argue that the Insight smear is “technically” accurate, because “madrassa” just means “school.” Which I suppose is right in the same sense that it’s “technically accurate” to say that the administrator of a summer SAT prep course “runs a concentration camp.”