Editor That Claims Obama’s Kenyan Bio Was an Editorial Oversight, Apparently Oversought that Fact For 17 Years
Last week we addressed a report that was sure to bring a little heat to this site – the fact that a promotional booklet produced in the ’90s had claimed that President Obama was “born in Kenya”.
Breitbart News, who ran the first report on the booklet, had actively sought comment from the publishers who were unavailable – until that is, news of the controversy starting receiving widespread coverage.
At that point, Miriam Goderich, who works at the same literary agency, decided to dive on the grenade by issuing this statement to Political Wire:
“You’re undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me — an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.”
Fact-checking error. Editorial oversight. Who knows?
Liberal hacks pounced. Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher, as he so often does, jumped the gun a bit early using the statement as a way to ridicule the Breitbart site:
Pollak went on to claim that the error in that trade pamphlet was part of a grand design by Obama to reshape his image. Yes, because the best way to catapult the Obamaganda is in a one-paragraph bio in the middle of 89 other bios that will be distributed via publishing industry junk-mail. Genius.
And yet, Doug Ross has proven that the short biography itself was consistently manipulated over the years, as significant details had been modified with one notable exception; the phrase “born in Kenya” remained intact for 17 years, and was only changed when it actually mattered – in the spring of 2007 when Obama declared his run for the presidency.
After several revisions, the Obama biography still read this way on April 3rd, 2007 (emphasis mine):
BARACK OBAMA is the junior Democratic senator from Illinois and was the dynamic keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was also the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was born in Kenya to an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister and was raised in Indonesia, Hawaii, and Chicago. His first book, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: A STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE, has been a long time New York Times bestseller.
Within less than three weeks, the biography had been changed to read:
BARACK OBAMA is the junior Democratic senator from Illinois and was the dynamic keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was also the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was born in Hawaii to an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister and was raised in Indonesia, Hawaii, and Chicago. His first book, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: A STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE, has been a long time New York Times bestseller.
Read the rest here, as Ross has thoroughly documented the transformation of Obama’s biography over two decades.
Old media’s feeble handling of this issue — parroting the laughable assertion that clerical errors caused Obama’s birthplace to be incorrectly listed, when former clients and the agency’s policy itself states that authors provide the biographical briefs — is pathetic.
The PJ Tatler sums up the controversy rather well, citing a theory that the President may have been using an alleged Kenyan birth to take advantage of Affirmative Action policies early in his college career:
The scandal is not that Obama was actually born in Kenya, but rather that he lied for his entire adult life about being born in Kenya, for personal gain.
The other scandal here is that the media can turn up a bullying incident involving Mitt Romney from 46 years ago, but can’t find this kind of information four years into the Obama presidency.
Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher is kind of the male version of Joan Walsh – he can find racism in just about everything. Including, apparently, the phrase, “Obama’s Not Working”. Now, to the average human being, that phrase obviously means that his policies aren’t working. But lo, to Tommy Christopher it means that Obama himself isn’t working. And in kind, that means Mitt Romney is mocking a ‘black man’ for not working. Seriously.
To actually come away with such an asinine conclusion shows that this phrase is actually working as a Rorschach test for Christopher. Most people look at this ink blot and see a benign, simple message. But Tommy sees racism and prejudice. For someone to immediately assume the words ‘not working’ must apply only to a black man, they themselves must ultimately harbor stereotypes of the lazy black man.
Therefore, I’m declaring Tommy’s post to be flat-out racist.
Via Weasel Zippers:
Mitt Romney’s ‘Obama Isn’t Working’ Banner Evokes Racial Stereotypes— Mediate, Tommy Christopher
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney rolled out a new accessory at a speech in Ohio today, delivering his remarks in front of a black banner that said “Obama Isn’t Working,” which is also the name of a website his campaign set up several months ago (in case you didn’t get the message from the banner, it was also on the front of Romney’s podium).
The slogan is a multiple entendre, but one of those entendres, intentionally or not, is evocative of a nasty racial stereotype about black men.
When I first saw the banner this afternoon, the multiple meanings were clear: President Obama‘s policies aren’t working, the Obama presidency isn’t working, President Obama…isn’t working, as in, doing any work. That’s not a nice thing to say about any president, but like it or not, it becomes a more loaded accusation when leveled at our first black president.
Just to be sure it wasn’t just me, though, I asked several friends about the banner, and four out of four pointed out, unprompted, the stereotype of the “lazy,” “shiftless” black man. One of the people I called was cable news fixture Goldie Taylor, who, upon hearing my description of the banner, said “Are you kidding me? You have got to be kidding me.”
Asking all four of your friends Tommy doesn’t prove anything, other than they are equally as pathetic as you are.
Speaking of entendres, you know who just loves to use them in his posts? Tommy Christopher.
Like this one when he used an image of Rick Perry eating a corn dog when discussing LGBT issues abroad:
At least that’s what the shortened headline on the Mediaite website reads, which I thought was pretty funny…
ABC News has been caught in a clear-cut case of journalistic malpractice this past week. No matter your feelings on the Trayvon Martin case, this is indisputable evidence of the media trying to advance a narrative – and failing miserably.
ABC was apparently so excited about having obtained exclusive police surveillance video last week, that they posted it and subsequently came to their own conclusions. The headline blasted, “Trayvon Martin Video Shows No Blood or Bruises on George Zimmerman.”
Other media lapdogs ran with it, to the point where the lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s parents referred to the video as “the smoking gun“.
You know who actually went out of their way to perform research and produce actual journalism regarding the video? Conservative blogs.
The Daily Caller posted a still image the following day which appeared to show a laceration on the back of George Zimmerman’s head. Liberal’s such as Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher mocked the Caller’s attempt at video analysis, while posting the original ABC video yet again.
But then, Dan Riehl over at Big Journalism followed up on the video report, finding further evidence that ABC had falsely presented the clip as evidence that Zimmerman had lied about being assaulted.
Riehl’s report read:
A new High Definition clip from the same video appears to make clear that Zimmerman had a gash or wound of some kind on the back of his head. That would be totally consistent with his version of events on the night in question and opposite the impression ABC News gave its viewers.
Big Journalism called the ABC video-based report reckless and revealing of nothing after it first aired. ABC’s presumed ability to enhance and review video before airing only makes their report all the more outrageous. Given analysis by Breitbart Media and the Daily Caller already performed, the ABC video appeared to be inconclusive, at best.
The new High Defintion clip from the police video Breitbart TV is releasing means that any determination beyond that the video is inconclusive is shoddy, if not intentionally unethical, journalism. To date, ABC has offered no official response to the broad and convincing criticism of the disingenuous nature of their aired report.
And now the DC and Big Journalism have had their vindication, with ABC News having to issue a ‘clarified’ version of the video, showing gashes and welts on Zimmerman’s head.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
ABC News has re-digitized video of George Zimmerman taken shortly after Trayvon Martin’s shooting.
The video was unveiled as an exclusive this morning on “Good Morning America.” ABC was the first news organization to show the original tape.
Reporter Matt Gutman said the clearer video shows “what appear to be a pair of gashes or welts on George Zimmerman’s head.”
Neighborhood Watch volunteer Zimmerman has said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon in self-defense. The video shows Zimmerman arriving at the Sanford Police Department within an hour after the shooting.
Gutman said the video had been “clarified” by Forensic Protection Inc. Former FBI Special Agent Brad Garrett told ABC that the clearer video shows “marks on the back of Mr. Zimmerman’s head.”
I’m glad ABC finally took the time to have the video reviewed by experts and clarified, but perhaps they should have done that in the first place.
Whether or not the clarified video will receive as much coverage as the original remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain – none of the hard working journalists at the Daily Caller and Big Journalism will receive any credit for revealing the failed media narrative pushed by ABC. ABC alone will receive praise, none of it deserved.