The Breitbart Crew has done the world a very valuable service in finding a 1991 biography of Barack Obama from his literary agent claiming he was "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."
Our own Jeff Emanuel also pointed out a 2004 Associated Press article that began, "Kenyan-born US Senate hopeful, Barrack Obama, appeared set to take over the Illinois Senate seat after his main rival, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the race on Friday night amid a furor over lurid sex club allegations." [Editor's note: James Taranto pinged me on Twitter that this "Kenyan-born" bit was an addition added by a local editor of a Kenyan paper.]
I do not believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya. I don't think it matters even if he were born overseas because his mother was an American citizen. I'm not going to debate it with the cult of birtherism.
But the Breitbart Crew has, only a few days after the Obama White House was caught editing the biographies of other Presidents on the White House website to insert Barack Obama into their Presidential legacies, done an invaluable service in highlighting two very important issues.
First, as someone who has written a book, I find Barack Obama's literary agent's explanation not very credible. The literary agent explains, "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."
It was a fact checking error based on . . . no facts? Barack Obama never gave any information . . . suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii? Well where the hell did this very huge extrapolation come from? It's like the virgin birth of a legend — some lady and God alone were involved.
That's laughable. Miriam Goderich had to have gotten the idea from somewhere. But what is more laughable is that Barack Obama did not know and did not approve. When I wrote my book, I had to approve my biography multiple times. But more damning, this biography went to the press in 1991 and it circulated for more than a decade.
Even the Associated Press picked it up and I cannot find anywhere suggesting Barack Obama tried to have the AP correct its reporting.
The point is not that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. The point is that Barack Obama has repeatedly been perfectly okay embellishing and having others embellish his qualifications and biography to make himself someone unique instead of just another Chicago politician. The pattern goes back to his job as a "financial reporter". A former colleague of his and Obama fan, way back in 2005, claims Barack Obama really embellished his resume describing his financial related reporting.
Second, and the largest point, however, is that the media is yet again caught flat footed, claiming the story is no big deal, irrelevant, or that somehow the Breitbart Crew is in the wrong and peddling Birtherism.
They are not peddling Birtherism. The Breitbart Crew are kind of like illegal immigrants — doing reporting Columbia journalism grads won't do. And doing it quite well. In 2008, the New York Times ran a big story on John McCain having an affair with a lobbyist. It got picked up all over the place. Reporters were on the trail. There was no *there* there.
It took most of the month of August in 2004 for the media to pay attention to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — men who served with John Kerry and had real problems with both his conduct in Vietnam and his conduct after he left Vietnam. The media did not want to cover the story. For a while, it was just Fox News. The clear demonstration of bias finally forced the New York Times and the big three nightly newscasts to play catch up as dismissively as possible.
This story has been out there since Barack Obama ran for the United States Senate. Even now the media is dismissing it as frivolous. If it turned out Mitt Romney had not actually been a missionary in France, it would be headline news.
Barack Obama embellishing his biography to make himself look unique? Hardly worthy of press attention. In fact, nothing Barack Obama has done suggesting serious character flaws — and that's what this is about — is ever worth the media's collective attention. Why? Because some people think Barack Obama was born in Kenya, but much of the press corps is pretty damn sure he was born in Bethlehem.
One last point — a friend raised this on email. Could this be why the campaign screams bloody murder about racists and birthers every time someone asks about Barack Obama's college transcripts? This would explain why Obama is so squirrely about the issue and waited until Donald Trump caused him measurable damage in the polls on this issue before responding. He's not embarrassed that people will find out he lied about being born in Hawaii; he's embarrassed they'll find out he lied about being born in Kenya.