Friday, May 18, 2012

16-Year Fact-Checking Error Responsible For Obama Lit Agency Claiming His Birth In Kenya

The Omedia has universally condemned every politician, pundit, blogger or citizen who has asked questions about "who is Barack Obama", including his place of birth and his natural born citizenship status for the past four years. Breitbart continues the vetting process of "Hope and Change" that never took place during the 2008 presidential campaign. It uncovered a booklet first published by Obama's literary agent in 1991 that claimed the Hawaiian-born "natural born citizen" was actually born in Kenya. That fact-checking error persisted for the following 16 years when the literary agent's website was finally revised in April, 2007, two months after The One announced that he was running for president that he really was born in Hawaii and not Kenya. The literary agent, Miriam Goderich, put out a statement through one of her firm's other clients, Political Wire's Taegan Goddard, after the Drudge Report led most of the day yesterday with the heading "Born In Kenya":
"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."
Breitbart went to great length to emphasize that it was not a part of the so-called "birther" conspiracy movement, a derisive term collectively used to describe any one who questions either where Obama was born or whether he can legally be considered a natural born citizen even if born in Hawaii because his father was a British citizen at the time of his birth and because a U.S. Supreme Court opinion from the late 19th century once took the view that only children born to U.S. citizen parents are considered natural born citizens. Breitbart's view is that Obama was in fact born in Hawaii but that Obama once claimed a birth in Kenya because it made for a more interesting bio when he was promoting his book; only when he decided that he had a realistic chance of becoming president did he decide to nail down his true origins to put to rest any doubts for that technical eligibility requirement of the U.S. Constitution.

The Omedia universally ignored the latest revelation by Breitbart promoted to top billing status by the Drudge Report and instead focused on a New York Times report that a SuperPAC funded by Ameritrade's Joe Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, planned to spend millions emphasizing Obama's ties to his former controversial minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who we recently learn had been offered a $150,000 bribe by one of Obama's closest Chicago friends, Dr. Eric Whitaker, to remain silent during the 2008 presidential campaign when his controversial political views became the center of attention. The Omedia managed to put Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the defensive for the message of a SuperPAC over which he has no control.

And so this is how it goes with every unanswered question about Obama's origins. Move along, folks. There's nothing to see here. Answers about who Obama truly is will be made available to you on a need to know basis. His life really is just too complicated to understand. It's a work in progress--a composite character, if you will, subject to updates as new information becomes available. Why should any one be curious about how his literary agent could have gotten a critical part of her client's bio so wrong? How did the fact-checking error make it past the client's review? How did the fact-checking error of Obama's literary agent play a role in fostering the "Born In Kenya" conspiracy theory? Or how it was possible for this critical fact-checking error to persist for a 16-year period until months after the client officially became a presidential candidate before it was discovered? Getting his place of birth wrong wasn't the literary agent's only factual error. Obama was not the first African-American law student to head up the Harvard Law Review contrary to popular myth. Yet the same media folks fret over questions about George W. Bush's National Guard status, the true birth mother of Trigg Palin and Mitt Romney's teen-aged bully days.

UPDATE: Powerline has this spot on reaction to the literary agent's supposed fact-checking error from someone who has worked in the field:

A limp statement was squirted out yesterday after the Breitbart item appeared that a woman who worked at the time as a low level assistant at Acton and Dystel, then Obama’s agent (and is now the Goederich who is Dystel’s partner) was now taking full responsibility for making an “error.”
As someone who has run a number of top bestseller publishers, I think this is an amazing MIRACLE.
It is the ONLY case I have ever heard of in which an editorial assistant INVENTED a biographical detail. I have heard of typos, wrong dates, misspellings of names. But to pick a really weird country of origin like Kenya for an author?
After all where do the bios come from? We don’t make them up. And neither did Dystel & Goederich. They come from the authors, like Obama. No one has ever invented a detail like that, and the authors usually review them and scream like hell if we get them wrong.
Can Dystel and Goedrich show us the correction appeal letter they got from Obama about the Kenya birth in over 10 years of using this bio? Or any other incident from any other publisher or agent that is similar to this “error?”
I really don’t care where Obama was born. The continued degeneration of the press in passing on hilarious nonsense as fact is a lot more serious problem. Give Dystel & Goederich the Rose Mary Woods Memorial Award for the Most Absurd Lie to Protect a President of the Year.
Thomas Lipscomb 
Senior Fellow
Annenberg Center for the Digital Future (USC)


Rico43 said...

The AP in 2004 claimed Obama was 'Kenya-born' in the Kenyan Standard Times. I suppose that was a fact check error too.......

Downtown Indy said...

Obama is a compulsive liar. That much is indisputable.

M Theory said...

Sources (including his spouse and grandmother) claiming Obama birthplace was Kenya


Evidence to indicate that Obama war born in Kenya is plentiful and it goes significantly beyond the 1991 version of the brochure.

- Despite claiming the passage about Obama’s birthplace being Kenya was a mistake, the listing still maintained that Obama’s birthplace was Kenya until after Obama became a U.S. Senator. “Goderich’s statement fails to explain why the “fact checking error” persisted for sixteen years, through at least three different versions of Jane Dystel’s website, and through at least four different versions of Obama’s biography,” reports

- The literary agency also updated the text in June 1998, but the part about Obama being born in Kenya was retained.

- The text was again updated in February 2005 to reflect the fact that Obama had become a Senator, but Kenya was still listed as his birthplace.

- After an April 2007 modification of the text, the passage still read Obama, “was born in Kenya.”

- As Steve Boman reveals, the Dystel & Goderich agency asks its clients to submit their own biography, meaning it’s virtually impossible the listing of Obama’s birthplace as Kenya could have been a “fact checking error” on behalf of the literary company itself.

- During a speech about HIV, First Lady Michelle Obama said she and Barack Obama “visited his home country of Kenya.” Watch the clip below.

- In 2008, Obama’s paternal step grandmother appeared to indicate publicly that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. In an interview conducted by American Christian minister Ron McRae, Sarah Obama was asked, ‘Were you present when your grandson was born in Kenya?’” McRae testified in his sworn statement. “This was asked to her in translation twice, and both times she replied, “Yes! Yes she was! She was present when Obama was born.”

- Another source who met Sarah Obama told World Net Daily, “I have keenly and attentively listened to the tape over and over again, and I can confirm from Sarah’s own confession that Barack Obama was born in Kenya in her presence.”

- A separate Kenyan government official agreed, stating, “I have listened to the tape. The preacher asked whether Barack Obama was born in Mombassa, and the translator asked the same. When she said Mombassa, it was like a surprise, and those there thought she could not have meant to say Mombassa.”

- When New York Times bestselling author Jerome Corsi traveled to Kenya to investigate the claims, he was almost immediately kicked out of the country by Kenyan officials.

- When Kenya’s National Security Intelligence Service investigated claims that Obama was born in Kenya, officials in Nairobi found “relevant birth records may have been removed or were missing.”

- Obama has deep political connections in Kenya. From 2006 onwards he rallied in support of Islamist Raila Odinga in Kenya, helping him impose Sharia law. When Odinga lost the Kenyan election in 2008, his supporters rioted, unleashing a wave of violence. Despite the bloodshed, Obama used his influence to aid Odinga in retaining his position as part of a coalition government.

For the mainstream media to imply that the 1991 brochure is the “source” of the claim that Obama was born in Kenya is completely inaccurate. Not only was that brochure updated many times right up until 2007, with the information about Obama’s birthplace being Kenya retained, but there are numerous other factors which all indicate that Kenya could indeed be Obama’s homeland.

Cato said...

I had stayed out of the piling on regarding Obama's birth, but having allowed/instructed his literary agent to use this bio for 16 years is just too much.

Only one of these is true:

1. Obama was born in Kenya and lied about being born in America;

2. Obama was born in America and lied about being born in Kenya.

He has committed at least one lie in explaining his birth. I'll leave it to others to decide which is true.

States would be well within their rights to exclude Obama from their ballots on the basis of this discovery. These are facts that Obama gave to his agent, not a history the agent conjured from nothing.

Pete Boggs said...

Perhaps they were compelled to publish first so they could find out "what was in it."

M Theory said...

Holy CoW! Look at this. Evidently Obama conceded in a debate with Alan Keyes back in 2004 that he is not a national born citizen!

This report explains the context of the oft cited debate, between Obama and [Alan] Keyes in the following Fall, in which Keyes faulted Obama for not being a “natural born citizen”, and in which Obama, by his quick retort, “So what? I am running for Illinois Senator, not the presidency”, self-admitted that he was not eligible for the office. Seeing that an AP reporter is too professional to submit a story which was not based on confirmed sources (ostensibly the Obama campaign in this case), the inference seems inescapable: Obama himself was putting out in 2004, that he was born in Kenya.

See the full article here: