Smear of the day: Politico links Obama to Polanski

How? Some Hollywood folks who back the convicted rapist gave money to the president! Plus: Bogus Stories of 2009!

Published October 8, 2009 8:09PM (EDT)

I read Politico daily. I often find news there. Sometimes, though, trying to be the Beltway’s trade publication means they fill the site with silly stories, and today they outdid themselves. Reporter Kenneth Vogel found a way to tie President Obama to convicted rapist and filmmaker Roman Polanski. It’s a slur worthy of Beck or Rush Limbaugh, not a supposedly nonpartisan political publication. How did Vogel do it? He looked at the list of celeb-defenders of Polanski and found that they’d contributed a total of $34,000 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee last year.

Of course, Harvey Weinstein alone gave $28,500 to the Democratic Party last year (although not to Obama directly; he backed Hillary Clinton. So the feminist Clinton is also tied to Polanski!). Vogel then finds six Polanski defenders who contributed another $14,500. Yes, that adds up to $44,000, not $34,000, and I can’t figure out the logic behind the discrepancy.

I don’t defend Roman Polanski; Kate Harding’s brave Salon piece trashing the Polanski defenders was credited by the Wall Street Journal with turning the entire debate around last week. But if I didn’t have a real job, I could find far more Obama supporters who think Polanski should face the consequences of raping a minor in about a half hour. What were Vogel and his editors thinking?

Meanwhile, we’re planning to do Salon awards for the Most Bogus Stories of 2009, and right now Vogel’s is high on my list. What would you nominate? Leave your ideas in comments.


By Joan Walsh

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Roman Polanski