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What Obama's Literary Bio Says About the Media
Imagine if from 1991 to 2007 (sixteen years), Sarah Palin's own agent repeatedly published a biography for her that stated her origin of birth as being Canada.
When she joined the Republican presidential ticket in 2008, does anyone honestly believe that the media wouldn't have discovered this information and wondered what the heck was going on? As everyone knows, only individuals born in the United States can hold the office of the president.
Thus, one would assume that during the vetting process for the highest leadership position in our country, the media would have certainly identified this discrepancy, questioned it, and investigated it. After all, the army of reporters sent by media outlets to Wasilla, Alaska in 2008 to research Palin divulged and scrutinized just about every imaginable, personal tidbit they could find about her.
The media told us all about the allegations that Palin had dismissed a public official for personal reasons related to her sister. They presented the incident as a major controversy, even coining it with the name, Troopergate. They fixated on her daughter's pregnancy, after first questioning whether or not Sarah was even the biological mother of her own infant son. They investigated whether or not Palin billed tax-payers for a tanning bed in the governor's office. They told us all about the visiting pastor from Kenya who once spoke at Palin's church, and how he was an admitted "witch hunter". They ran video over and over of that pastor anointing Palin during the service. They discovered that Palin's husband was once a member of a group that promoted the secession of Alaska from the United States, and they questioned if the governor herself felt the same way. They obsessed over Palin's hacked emails and demanded to know if she ever used her private account for public business.
Regardless if the media was being fair or not, it's safe to say that they thoroughly vetted Sarah Palin.
Now, let's talk about presidential candidate, Barack Obama from 2008.
We know all about the media's laziness and neglect when it came to their investigating of the person Obama described as his "mentor" and "spiritual leader", Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright's numerous racist and anti-American rants during his sermons were completely ignored by news outlets until his church started selling a DVD compilation of them in their lobby. Only then, when it was clear the videos would inevitably go public, did the media bother to report on Wright.
As the good folks at Breitbart.com reported on Thursday, the media's disinterest in vetting candidate Obama was even worse than we thought.
From 1991 to 2007, Acton & Dystel who was Barack Obama's literary agency during that time, published a brief biography on the future president, stating in the very first sentence that he was born in Kenya, and was raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.
Now, I understand that misprints often happen in publishing, but misprints are also corrected when information is re-published. Acton & Dystel re-published the Obama biography time after time over several years with that detail remaining unchanged. How does that happen?
If I had an agent who was misrepresenting my origin of birth, I'd sure as heck let him know about it and make sure the information was corrected. Barack Obama didn't, and it's a no-brainer that the question of 'why not?' should have been posed to him by the media. Yet, it wasn't.
It's not that the media was completely oblivious to the inference that Obama had been born in Kenya. In 2004, an Associated Press reporter printed this information in an article: "Kenyan-born US Senate hopeful, Barack 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."
When candidate Obama was running for the presidency, did anyone in the national news media ask this Associated Press reporter why he believed Obama was born in Kenya? Did they ask him if he was told this by Barack Obama himself, or maybe by someone who was part of Obama's senate campaign? It sure doesn't appear so.
Let me make something very clear: I've never bought into the Birther notion that President Obama wasn't born in the United States. I still don't. I believe he was born in Hawaii, and there's ample evidence (including the birth certificate the administration released last year) that shows that. The new findings, by no means, debunk that conclusion.
There are some pretty striking questions, however, than can be drawn from this freshly uncovered information. First of all, why didn't the media find and question this discrepancy during the 2008 presidential campaign? To me, it appears that Barack Obama was at best complacent with being publicized as having been born in Kenya. At worst, there's enough evidence to at least consider that Barack Obama may have actually been promoting himself, at some point, as having been born in Kenya.
Why would he do such a thing?
Well, over the past few weeks, we've seen a story unfold in Massachusetts where U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has been exposed for misrepresenting herself as having a significant Native American heritage. She admittedly did so for personal gain, and is suspected to have done so for professional gain in order to lend ethnically diverse bragging rights to the universities she's served as a faculty member of.
It's legitimate to at least ponder the notion that a young academic, and aspiring author might have concluded that publishers would take more notice of him if his background was more exotic and interesting than it actually was. In other words, a form of resume padding. I'm not drawing that conclusion by any means, but it's a plausible theory and the evidence certainly warrants the question.
And if that theory were researched and determined to be true, one has to wonder what that would say about our president and his administration who mocked and ridiculed the Birther movement on numerous occasions (which I admit I've done in past writings myself). After all, how fair would it be for a man to condemn believers in a theory that he, himself, was the originator of?
In the end, it all comes back to media bias in the form of willful negligence. The question of why his publicist promoted incorrect information, and why Barack Obama was apparently fine with it, should have been asked by the media four years ago. It wasn't, and I believe the most likely reason is that the media viewed Barack Obama as their dream car. They fawned over how great he looked and sounded, and they were swept away into the daydream of cruising down the road with him in the sunshine and light breeze. He was so perfect that they refused to take him out for a test-drive, fearing that he had significant mechanical problems that would force them to wake up from their fantasy.
It's too little too late, but the media still has a responsibility to independently investigate this discrepancy, because the implications go directly to the character of our president. Maybe they'll find that there's a perfectly reasonable explanation that makes sense of everything, but it would be scandalous for them not to even bother.
If they need some motivation, they could always pretend they're investigating Sarah Palin.