By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The decline of The Washington Post was again on display when a Post blogger reported that a literary agency representing Obama had committed a mere “typo” when it identified him as being born in Kenya.
Conservative blogger Doug Ross notes that this “typo” ran for 17 years, and that the Kenyan birthplace changed just weeks after Obama announced his presidential run. Ross used the Wayback Archive to explore the exact transformations of Obama’s biography on his agent’s site.
A “typo” would be when someone mistakenly types Osama instead of Obama. These things are usually quickly picked up by proofreaders or editors. The claim in the pamphlet that Obama was “born in Kenya” rather than Hawaii or any other place cannot be considered a typo, especially because it has to be assumed that Obama and/or his agent approved and wrote the copy.
But here’s how Post blogger Rachel Weiner reported the controversy: “…the Drudge Report prominently featured a blog post about a 1991 literary agency pamphlet advertising Obama as ‘born in Kenya.’ On Friday afternoon, the story is still close to the top of the page, though a former staffer at the agency has explained that it was her typo.”
A “typo” that ran for 17 years?
The question then is: was the information about Kenya true? Or was it made up by someone trying to portray Obama as Kenyan-born? Perhaps this was part of an affirmative action ploy on his behalf.
Weiner’s Twitter page refers to her as “weird and thorough.” She is thorough only in the sense of depicting conservatives as weird.
The “blog post” was from Breitbart.com, which went out of its way to declare it believed Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya. Nevertheless, Weiner called it “birtherism,” which is a derogatory term that is supposed to suggest that questions about Obama’s birthplace are crazy.
We are dealing here with a President, now a candidate, who claims to be a Christian but his own minister, Jeremiah Wright, says he is not sure that Obama converted from Islam to Christianity. Obama said he was mentored in Hawaii by a mysterious person named “Frank” who turns out to be a member of the Communist Party.
Faced with the truth about “Frank,” the Obama campaign said he was a black civil rights activist. This is like saying a “typo” was not corrected for 17 years.
The claim that Obama was “born in Kenya” cannot be dismissed out of hand, even though there is a controversial “birth certificate” from Obama declaring he was born in Hawaii. Nothing the candidate says should be taken at face value, but the Post believes in Obama, no matter where he was born, and is determined to dismiss any questions that cast doubt on his life story, as he presents or changes it. That is Rachel Weiner’s mission, now that the campaign is underway.
Weiner acts like someone hired from the Soros-funded Media Matters group, and that wouldn’t be that far from the truth. She came from The Huffington Post and before that Talking Points Memo. These are house organs of the liberal/left.
When she worked at Talking Points Memo, her bio said her claim to fame was appearing “on Fox local news, discussing Popeye’s Chicken.”
In addition to dismissing Obama’s “born in Kenya” claim as a mere typo from an editor, she expressed alarm that Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett “told a radio station that the president might not get on the ballot in the state because of questions about his birth certificate.”
It was not surprising that Weiner picked up this story. Her previous employers, The Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo, went crazy over this, with the latter proclaiming, “Arizona Goes Birther: Secretary Of State Says It’s ‘Possible’ Obama Won’t Be On Ballot.”
It appears that Weiner is following the leads of these left-wing media organs to get her story ideas.
Bennett had gone on The Mike Broomhead Show “to talk about how if the state of Hawaii does not verify President Obama’s birth certificate, there is a possibility that the state of Arizona will NOT put Obama’s name on the ballot,” the website for the show noted. Bennett’s remarks are available on the station’s website.
Bennett said, “I’m not a birther. I believe that the President was born in Hawaii—or at least I hope he was. But my responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure that the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications for the office that they are seeking.”
Bennett’s statement regarding President Obama’s birth certificate is on the Secretary of State’s website and declares: “First, I have been on the record since 2009 that I believe the President was born in Hawaii. I am not a ‘birther.’ At the request of a constituent, I asked the state of Hawaii for a verification in lieu of certified copy. We’re merely asking them to officially confirm they have the President’s birth certificate in their possession and are awaiting their response.”
What Bennett is doing is precisely what an elected official should do.
The Washingtonian has referred to Rachel Weiner and others as the “young voices” behind the Post’s political blog called “The Fix.” Weiner is quoted as saying, “I had always wanted to be a reporter.”
A legitimate reporter should know that a “typo” is not something that runs for 17 years and misrepresents something as important as a place where someone was born.
Doug Ross comments, “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.”
It is pathetic that the Post is passing on Weiner’s propaganda as news. She should be reassigned to covering Popeye’s Chicken.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.