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.