My short article on Tim Adams’ masters thesis garnered quite a number of comments (116 as of just now). Adams’ exercise in creative writing towards an English degree is, according to him, an example of “gonzo journalism” a style made famous by journalist Hunter Thompson. (I’m a fan of one modern gonzo journalist, Jon Ronson, the author of several accounts of his travels with racists and conspiracy theorists.) Rather than an objective observer of events, the gonzo journalist is personally part of the story. This from Adams:
I’m wearing my most appropriate gonzo journalist attire; a fine braided men’s straw hat with pheasant feather band (birds were indeed harmed in the production of this product, and eaten too, no doubt). I have a single silver conch shell, a token from the Native Hawaiian people’s movement, given to me in the islands, with my black out sunglasses hanging from the brown leather thong that circles my neck. I’m wearing an Alfred Dunner plaid linen jacket, size 44 regular. It was an original from the mid-sixties, one I’d pulled out of second hand shop for three dollars, and in excellent condition. The light green/brown plaid on off white patterned fabric goes well with the mint green Hawaiian shirt I’m wearing beneath it, festooned with huge white plumeria blossoms. I’m also wearing a gold watch and new khaki colored trousers with a pair of dark brown Docksider shoes. Nothing in my ensemble is cheap, and the colors and style allow me to pull this off, just barely enough to appear professional, and I stay much cooler in the ninety-degree heat of this sticky, summer day than the stiffs sweating it out in the gray pinstripes.
The rambling thesis is the personal narrative of what followed when Adams showed up at a white racist gathering and subsequently gave a radio interview on a racist program where he said that he was an elections worker in Hawaii and from that knew that Barack Obama had no long-form birth certificate. When asked to explain what he was doing at a white racist convention1, Adams claims that he was covering it as a journalist. Adams is the center of his birther story.
I cast about in my mind for another example of a gonzo journalist birther (what I’m calling “gonzo birtherist”) and of course Jerome Corsi comes to mind. He acts as a journalist, writing articles for WorldNetDaily and what he describes as investigative books. Recently Corsi was in Surprise, Arizona, where he spoke to a Tea Party group that subsequently presented, along with Corsi, a petition to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, asking him to investigate Barack Obama for identify fraud.
Can you think of other examples of birther activists acting as journalists?
- Other articles on Tim Adams at Obama Conspiracy Theories
- Other articles on Jerome Corsi at Obama Conspiracy Theories
1The Council of Conservative Citizens Statement of Principles forms the basis for calling them racist.