Not the economic historian (but we wonder...).
I can't say I care, but...
It turns out that Mr. Black works at Media Matters, the new David Brock media watchdog group, which is kind of interesting - he is doing paid media commentary on one site, and a lot of anonymous media criticism on the other... and I'm still not that concerned. Yes, there is the potential for a self-serving echo-chamber effect, but what else is new in the wild, wild blogosphere. Maybe I would care if I could take the Brock group seriously.
But by odd coincidence, I actually bumped into a Brocker just yesterday while gawking at the coverage of the Theresa Heinz Kerry "shove it" incident. Oliver Willis had a factually deficient post at his personal site which has now become a factually deficient article (with four authors!) at the Mind Over Media Matters site [make that two factually deficient articles]. I strongly encourage anyone who thought this group might be serious to study this (and there is more snide commentary here).
So that's where Atrios is working. Pretty impressive.
Unless I am misreading this, the Brockers are saying that the only evidence for the story is a Newsmax article describing a Bill Clinton speech in 2002, and a few comments Clinton made when asked about that speech. I'm hanging my hat on this excerpt when I say that:
Hannity "thrice repeated the false claim that former President Bill Clinton refused a 1996 offer from the Sudan to handover Osama bin Laden to the United States," a claim originating in an August 11, 2002, article by the right-wing website NewsMax.com that distorted a 2002 Clinton speech.
Gee. Get a subscription to Google, gents - here is a WaPo story (2001), a Vanity Fair article from Jan 2002 (and denials thereto), links to other sources here (July 2002), Madeleine Albright's denial to the 9/11 Commission (p. 13); gosh, here is a whole post.
If the Brockers seriously think the only source for this story is a Newsmax article, well, good night. Or maybe they want to pretend that, since none of these other stories explicitly say that Clinton himself knew about the idea, Newsmax is the only "real" source for that specific detail. I am not inclined to engage that level of disingenuousness - maybe Clinton knew, and changed his story; maybe Hannity used "Clinton" as shorthand for "the Clinton Administration". Whatever. Phony. Now, I am taking my advice.
UPDATE: I am taking my advice, but not yet! Susan Rice, adviser to the Kerry Campaign, rides to my side (well, not on purpose...)