Human Events Blog

More fun with Obama’s creative biography

As the Left sputters in comically exaggerated outrage and mainstream reporters choke on their own tonsils, Team Breitbart plows relentlessly ahead with their “Kenyan biography” scoop, investigating a literary agency biography that declared Harvard Law Review president Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

This piece is part of a Breitbart series called “The Vetting,” which previously uncovered long-suppressed video of Obama embracing Critical Race Theory crackpot Derrick Bell.  The important thing to remember about “The Vetting” project is that it is journalism  in its purest form.  There is absolutely no factual dispute whatsoever about anything Breitbart.com is reporting: they have actual video of Obama encouraging students to read Bell’s racist drivel, and a scan of the actual printed biography from 1991 that says “Barack Obama, the first African-American president of Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

The big story here is not that Team Breitbart is reporting these things, but rather that mainstream “journalists” did not, and continually refuse to do so… until conservative provocateurs goad them into it. 

Are we supposed to believe that no major news organization in the United States ever stumbled across the biography that said Obama was born in Kenya – published and re-published, over the course of sixteen years, and even updated at least once on the literary agency’s website without changing the “born in Kenya” language?

In fact, we have absolute proof that at least some elements of the media were aware of the bio.  After Breitbart.com broke its big story yesterday, Internet data miners quickly discovered a 2004 Associated Press article on Obama’s Senate run, which begins: “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.”

Incidentally, Ryan dropped out of the race because Obama operatives managed to get his divorce records unsealed and leaked to the media, which was quite eager to report on that little chunk of biographical data.  Obama hatchet man David Axelrod must spend every day cursing his rotten luck that Mitt Romney is still married to Ann Romney.

At any rate, it seems likely the AP reporter got that “Kenyan-born” stuff from the same author bio Team Breitbart uncovered, perhaps second- or third-hand.  But the media “gatekeepers” decided the public didn’t need to hear about it, or Critical Race Theory, during the 2008 campaign, because it would only have “confused” them.  The old Obama narrative might have included fairy tales of Kenyan origin, to make him sound more exotic, but the new Obama narrative required him to become a Yankee Doodle Dandy, and mainstream reporters eagerly took their places on the assembly line.

Imagine there was hard evidence that suggested some element of Mitt Romney’s biography was fabricated, or that he might have embellished his resume with made-up garbage in his youth.  (We know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the media is far more interested in Mitt Romney’s youth than Barack Obama’s.)  Imagine there was video of Romney recommending the work of a white racist comparable to Derrick Bell to a student body.  Not only would it be eagerly reported, and portrayed as vital information, but the press would never stop asking follow-up questions about it.  The Washington Post hit piece on Romney’s high-school “bullying” was five thousand words long. 

Team Breitbart is performing that kind of journalism now, on topics the press simply decided – with eerie uniformity – do not merit even the most cursory follow up question.  How did the agency biographer get the idea Obama was born in Kenya?  Why didn’t they correct it?  They’re doing simple data mining and publishing the extensively validated results.  They’ve made several attempts to contact Obama’s literary agency to ask simple questions, and received no response. 

If this was all happening in regard to a Mitt Romney bio, every news organization in America would be in a full-blown feeding frenzy.  The people Breitbart is trying to contact would be unable to walk to their cars without having their shadows burned into the wall by flash bulbs.

As for the answers to those simple questions, blogger Melissa Clouthier speculates that Obama, or his assistants, fabricated the “born in Kenya” detail to make him sound more interesting:

Barack Obama wasn’t born in Kenya.

Barack Obama didn’t have some tortured, hard-scrabble youth.

Barack Obama was a materially indulged, emotionally deprived typical American child of divorce.

It’s his conventionality that embarrasses him.

And that’s why he lied.

Personally, when I want to make myself sound extraordinary, I list my birthplace as “America.

I’ve prepared some author bios for myself, and have always been expected to provide the information personally.  Granted, I’m not as big a literary deal as Obama was in 1991.  It still seems odd that the task would be left entirely to assistants, or writers at the literary agency, even given Barack Obama’s legendary laziness.  This is the guy who rarely bothered to show up for Senate votes, and spends most of his Presidential time either fundraising or on vacation, after all.

With that in mind, I propose an alternative explanation for the “born in Kenya” detail: The next sentence of the 1991 biography reads, “The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation.”  Perhaps someone associated with either Obama or the literary agency considered that detail and assumed that if his father was a member of the Kenyan government Obama must have been born there. 

How this detail went on to endure 16 years of revision and fact-checking remains an excellent question.  The assertion that we are not allowed to ask it is more disturbing than the “Birther” movement ever was.  The literary agency attributes it to a “fact-checking error.”  But where did the erroneous “fact” come from?  And why is fact-checking this man’s past so uniquely outrageous… and difficult?


Sign Up