David Kaiser falsely accused of making anti-Obama rant





[David Kaiser, a history professor at the Naval War College, is the author of The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (2008).]

During the past seven days this blog has had about 1100 hits, which may be a record. I do hope some of my new patrons will return, but the reason for the outburst of interest is quite ironic: the fraudulent attribution to myself of a piece of right-wing hysteria which continues to circulate around the net. Snopes.com, a site which specializes in exposing fraud, published this almost immediately when I called it to their attention, and during the past ten days 168 hits on historyunfolding.com have come from there. They have traced it to an anonymous comment on a right wing blog last November. It has been misattributed to a couple of other people since then. In addition, another David Kaiser--a scientist at a well-known university--is receiving an average of about one piece of fan mail a day from around the world, praising his perspicacity. (His university publishes his email address on its web site; mine does not.) We have been in touch, and he has a form letter which he uses to reply, making it clear that 1) he isn't the David Kaiser they are looking for and 2) that the David Kaiser they are looking for didn't write it, either. I have queried at least half a dozen of his and my"fans" asking them who sent the article to them, in an effort to start tracing the fraud back to its source, but that seems to be a fruitless endeavor--only a couple have replied and in both cases the trail immediately went cold.
I suppose it's another indication of the world that we are living in that, after a remarkably steady readership of about 800 readers a week for the last few years, the hits could have increased by about 40% thanks to my association with right-wing paranoia. (The full text is available, among many other places, here. This has not actually disturbed me very much. Perhaps because I have taken so much heat for things I actually did say, especially over the last year, I am merely amused by the interest in something that I did not say. But this piece of anti-Obama lunacy--so similar to much of what circulated in the 1930s about FDR, and probably to things written about Lincoln as well--has resonated among a measurable segment of the population, it seems, in a way that the kind of commentary that appears here every week does not. I should not be surprised. Crisis eras bring crazies out of the woodwork. So far we, unlike the French in the 1790s or the Germans in the 1930s, have been able to avoid having them in charge--may it continue to be so. Now, back to work.



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