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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Nobel Committee's Not-So Unanimous Selection of Obama

OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 10:  A plaque depictin...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Agence France Presse today reports that three of the Nobel Committee's five committee members had problems with awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama.

Nobel Committee Secretary Geir Lundestad, however, insists that the selection was unanimous.

This is doubtful, given that one of the members represents the free-market-oriented, unabashedly pro-Israel Progress Party. The party's leader, Siv Jensen, not only criticized the Nobel Committee's choice of Obama but called on its chairman, Thorbjoern Jaglund, to step down just one day after the committee's announcement. Although Jensen called for his resignation for a supposedly unrelated reason, the timing of her demand is interesting.

Lundestad wasn't being honest when he claimed "unanimous" vote as he neglected to mention that the Nobel Committee's selections are always "unanimous" -- even if such unanimity doesn't exist.

The Nobel Committee makes its decisions by "consensus" and the functionally-illiterate often use this interchangeably with "unanimous." Now you know why so many Norwegian parents are asking, "why can't Jens read?"

Just to make sure that no committee member challenges its "unanimous" claim, Nobel Committee rules prohibit them from speaking publicly about its proceedings.

Unanimous decision? It really depends on what your definition of "unamious" is.

Bill Clinton may not have received the Nobel Peace Prize, but it turns out the Nobel Committee has found another way to honor him.

Editor's note: We covered President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize previously here, here and here.

Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 4:48 PM

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