CNBC’s Dennis Kneale takes issue with my description of Dinesh D’Souza’s Forbes cover story on “How Obama Thinks” as “the worst kind of smear journalism.” Kneale says on Twitter:

that wasn’t “journalism” dude that was “opinion”—-and rather provocative, which is the point no?

Well, I may have a different definition of “journalism,” but again: This was the cover piece in Forbes, a magazine Kneale used to (managing) edit. I’m not sure where it’s written in the journalism rulebook that opinion pieces aren’t journalism.

By that definition, Kneale would be admitting that much or most of CNBC isn’t journalism since I sure do hear a lot of opining on that network. Like, say, what do you call this (besides comedy gold)?

(h/t to commenter pritesh)

The Economist also takes down D’Souza’s Forbes piece, whose premise is that Obama’s anti-American policies are explained by the fact that his father, whom Obama met once ever, was a Kenyan tribalist socialist anticolonialist and drunken polygamist who wanted to confiscate 100 percent of rich people’s money. Or, as The Economist writes, Obama may act this way because his policies are what a near-majority or majority of the country agrees with:

I DON’T find it at all difficult to understand how Barack Obama thinks, because most of his beliefs are part of the broad consensus in America’s centre or centre-left: greenhouse-gas emissions reductions, universal health insurance, financial-reform legislation, repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and so forth. Dinesh D’Souza, on the other hand, appears to have met so few Democrats in recent decades that he finds such views shocking, and thinks they can only be explained by the fact that Mr Obama’s father was a Kenyan government economist who pushed for a non-aligned stance in the Cold War during the 1960s-70s. Since the majority of Democrats don’t have any Kenyan parents and have no particular stake in the anti-colonialism debates of the 1960s-70s, I’m not sure how Mr D’Souza would explain their views. In any case, Mr D’Souza’s explanation of Mr Obama’s views doesn’t make any sense on its own terms. This, for example, is incomprehensible: “If Obama shares his father’s anticolonial crusade, that would explain why he wants people who are already paying close to 50% of their income in overall taxes to pay even more.” Come again? Progressive taxation is caused by…anti-colonialism? Message to American billionaires and the people who write for them: many events and movements in world history did not revolve around marginal tax rates on rich people in the United States.

And yeah, Occam’s Razor:

There’s no need to search for abstruse reasons why an extreme movement conservative like Dinesh D’Souza might oppose raising taxes on the rich or defend privilege in access to education. And it’s not surprising that a centrist liberal like Barack Obama thinks people earning more than $250,000 per year ought to be paying more taxes. In fact, that conviction is shared by a majority of the American electorate. If Mr D’Souza finds it bizarre, it’s not Mr Obama who’s out of touch with America.


Meantime, mainstream conservative figures like Newt Gingrich are all but abandoning the dog whistle and are just spelling it out with talk about “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.”

Ooga booga, America!

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at