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Publisher’s booklet: Obama Born in Kenya

Breitbart News has uncovered a 1991 industry client list of authors published by the Acton and Dystel company, picturing Barack Obama with a short bio describing him as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia.”

ObamaBooklet

One wonders why Breitbart News highlights this section of the pamphlet both in its article image and in the article’s title, “The Vetting – exclusive – Obama’s literary agent in 1961 booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii,’” when their editorial position is:

Andrew Breitbart was never a “Birther,” and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of “Birtherism.” In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.

Yet Andrew also believed that the complicit mainstream media had refused to examine President Obama’s ideological past, or the carefully crafted persona he and his advisers had constructed for him.

If that is the purpose of the article, I find the title and image selected inexplicable.  Beyond the birther emphasis, the Breitbart article is in the genre of a  political smear, saying for example, “The biography does, however, fit a pattern in which Obama–or the people representing and supporting him–manipulate his public persona.” Nothing in the pamphlet supports this statement. Breitbart then throws in Jeremiah Wright just for fun. It sounds like Breitbart Publishing is becoming a clone of WorldNetDaily, taking a bit of news and using it as an occasion to dump all sorts of irrelevant negative commentary.

Fox News makes good money telling people what they want to hear and I’m assuming that this is Breitbart’s model. In this case, the Breitbart News article tells both sides what they want to hear;  the conservative birthers will use their confirmation bias to hear “born in Kenya” and the conservative non-birthers will hear “not born in Kenya, but fake anyway.”

The pamphlet itself was edited by Miriam Goderich who has since responded, saying it was her mistake. She replied in an email to Yahoo News:

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.

The fact that Goderich got this wrong perhaps shows why the “born in Kenya” story has been so persistent – it’s believable on the surface. The birthers, of course, know that it’s just more proof that Obama was born in Kenya, and that Goderich is covering up. However, why would Obama tell Acton & Dystel one thing and the New York Times something different about the same time? The facts don’t support Brietbart’s smear.

Sigh.

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89 Responses to Publisher’s booklet: Obama Born in Kenya

  1. avatar
    justlw May 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Incoming:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/05/17/The-Vetting-Barack-Obama-Literary-Agent-1991-Born-in-Kenya-Raised-Indonesia-Hawaii

    From his literary agency’s 1991 brochure promoting the young author-to-be:

    “Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. “

  2. avatar
    justlw May 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    …and already on the front page of both Orly, WND, and Drudge. I’m guessing this is going to rocket right to the top the list of venerated birther relics.

  3. avatar
    justlw May 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Oops. It was “both Orly and Drudge” until I stopped to check WND, and then I forgot to yoink the “both.”

  4. avatar
    Obsolete May 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Well, looks like the cat is out of the bag. I thought we had erased every thing, how did this escape us?
    I want to apologize to John and other birthers- you were right all along. Sorry for deceiving you patriots.

  5. avatar
    Dave May 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I hear that the Breitbart people go to some pains to clarify that they are not birthers, and that Breitbart was never a birther, and that they believe that Obama was born in Hawaii, and that the statement in this pamphlet that Obama was born in Kenya is incorrect. So you might wonder why did they publish a story about this pamphlet. They want you to believe that the statement is a deliberate lie, by Obama.

  6. avatar
    justlw May 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I agree that that’s what they’re aiming for, based on the article.

    It’d be a peculiar choice for him to do this, since the published book that came of this is an autobiography where he states he was born in Hawaii.

    But I’m sure it’s a Higher Truth, as revealed to them by St. Andrew from on high.

  7. avatar
    justlw May 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    This remained in error on the agency’s web site until April 2007. Here’s the last Wayback crawl to capture it:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060313155424/http://www.dystel.com/client.html

  8. avatar
    Scientist May 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    justlw: From his literary agency’s 1991 brochure promoting the young author-to-be:

    The brochure has LAYERS, folks!!!!

  9. avatar
    Scientist May 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Dave: They want you to believe that the statement is a deliberate lie, by Obama.

    Of course Obama didn’t write the brochure. It was a sort of thumbnail sketch of all the authors represented by the agency, prepared by someone who was a lowly assistant there at the time. She admits that she never checked what she wrote. http://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/literary-agency-admits-to-mistake-claiming-obama-born-in-kenya/

    Likely, she thumbed the book, saw references to Kenya and put that in the document.

  10. avatar
    misha May 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    “Obama’s literary agent says he was ‘born in Kenya’. How did the mainstream media miss this?”

    Read on:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100158834/obama-used-to-be-a-kenyan/

  11. avatar
    Thrifty May 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    Well I dunno if the mainstream media is missing this. I just saw the same article in Yahoo News. It has this quote from a promotional pamphlet by literary agency Acton & Dystel:

    Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. 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. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

    As we all know, by birther logic, this counts as evidence. By sane person logic, this was some chowderhead at a publishing company who didn’t get his facts right.

    misha:
    “Obama’s literary agent says he was ‘born in Kenya’. How did the mainstream media miss this?”

    Read on:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100158834/obama-used-to-be-a-kenyan/

  12. avatar
    Paper May 18, 2012 at 3:29 am #

    My birther connections are sending me this as the latest hoopla. Your guess is as good as gold.

    justlw:
    …and already on the front page of both Orly, WND, and Drudge. I’m guessing this is going to rocket right to the top the list of venerated birther relics.

  13. avatar
    Bob May 18, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Comment from the pamphlet thread on WND:

    “i heard on the radio this morning that they can not remove obama it would upset the hole constitution”

  14. avatar
    Chef May 18, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Obama’s self-serving duplicity goes back decades. For some reason, some diligently refuse to see it.

  15. avatar
    Thomas Brown May 18, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Chef:
    Obama’s self-serving duplicity goes back decades. For some reason, some diligently refuse to see it.

    We refuse to see it because it isn’t there. Those of us in the Reality-Based Community like to concentrate on things that are real, unlike you Birfoons, who will believe anything.

  16. avatar
    Bob May 18, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Perhaps Birthers are able to suss out Obama’s duplicity (and secret smiley faces) because they are graduates of the College of YouTube Knowledge.

  17. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater (Bob Ross) May 18, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Chef: Obama’s self-serving duplicity goes back decades. For some reason, some diligently refuse to see it.

    Explain this statement. What “self-serving duplicity”?

  18. avatar
    ASK Esq May 18, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Orly to file motions for reconsideration in all of her cases based on this “new evidence” in 3…2…1…

  19. avatar
    justlw May 18, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    1991: OK, our client is on record as saying in recent newspaper interviews that he was born in Hawaii.

    As his literary agent, or “advisers” as we’re known in the trade, let’s carefully craft his persona by saying that he wasn’t, and continue to say that for another dozen years after he publishes the autobiography we help him sell, where he will continue to say he was born in Hawaii.

    Or, you know: mistake. But that’s ridiculous, because there are no mistakes in The Conspiracy.

  20. avatar
    Pastor Charmley May 18, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Fact checking errors should not surprise anyone. This is an example of the sort of mindset that produces conspiracy theories, the refusal to consider that mistakes are made. It sometimes amazes me doing historical work how errors occur, but why assume that this is an attempt to deliberately mislead? Answer: because it serves a purpose to do so.

  21. avatar
    El Diablo Negro May 18, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Conspiracies thrive on human error. The fact that mistakes happen is normal. Cospiracies rely on that every detail must be error free, or else there is something wrong. As long as there is a discrepancy…evil is afoot. Just ask Rambo Ike

  22. avatar
    Thrifty May 18, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    It’s true. The “Hole Constitution” is has very low self esteem and is emotionally fragile. It’s pretty easy to upset it.

    Bob:
    Comment from the pamphlet thread on WND:

    “i heard on the radio this morning thatthey can not remove obama it would upset the hole constitution”

  23. avatar
    El Diablo Negro May 18, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    What do you think accounts for the rise of conspiracy theories that are offered as explanations for the assassinations of the great leaders of the 1960s?

    This is a discussion question our professor tasked us to debate this week in my college course “Exploring the 1960s: An Interdisciplinary Approach”

    This is an answer from one of the students:

    According to Ayton (n.d.), it is in the nature of the human mind to try and make order out of chaos, to make sense out of the senseless. Admitting that somethings are just unexplainable or components of an event might be coincidental is not at all comforting to the mind.

    As Ayton notes, it is easy to take the discrepancies of the eyewitness accounts and the mistakes that were made in the investigations of the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK and insinuate a cover-up in any or all of the events.

    It is human nature to think that major events can not be explained by ordinary means, so there becomes a conspiracy mentality. Conspiracy theorists have an inherent distrust of government. In the 60’s there was so much anti-war and anti-government sentiment that the atmosphere was rife for fostering conspiracy mentality.

    Ayton, M. (n.d.) Conspiracy thinking and the John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations. Retrieved from the The Kennedy assassination Homepage.

    http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ayton2.htm

  24. avatar
    Obsolete May 18, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Let’s not forget that there was a Barack Obama born in Kenya. The agent could’ve seen this referenced and not realized it was his father, not Obama the author.
    Birthers to this day confuse the two in articles and comments on this site and elsewhere, and they have the advantage of knowing about his father for several years now.

  25. avatar
    Northland10 May 18, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater (Bob Ross): Explain this statement.What “self-serving duplicity”?

    Not knowing his “place.”

  26. avatar
    Joe Acerbic May 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Obsolete:
    Let’s not forget that there was a Barack Obama born in Kenya. The agent could’ve seen this referenced and not realized it was his father, not Obama the author.
    Birthers to this day confuse the two in articles and comments on this site and elsewhere, and they have the advantage of knowing about his father for several years now.

    Oh my, that’s impossible! Dontcha know that a literary agent would certainly “carefully craft the persona” of an unknown youngster in a pamphlet with 90 something other authors. /s

  27. avatar
    BillTheCat May 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Chef: Obama’s self-serving duplicity goes back decades. For some reason, some diligently refuse to see it.

    I know because it’s hard to believe a colored person would have such a rich and diverse history, right?

    “Self-serving” is a good term for the made-up stories your ilk tells.

  28. avatar
    lester May 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Breaking news. Fact checkers don’t write their own text. As the title of their job implies, they “check facts” – i.e., they check facts/copy/text supplied TO them. A good fact checker – and i don’t know that this lady was a good one – tries to verify the facts from 2 if not 3 independent sources. The real question is, who supplied the text?

    I do not know. But i would place good money on the bet that B.O. did so himself. Have any of you ever written your own reference letter only to have someone else sign it? Same thing. If B.O. did write his own biographical blurb (hypothetical), then the question is why did he have it read as it did?

    Won’t even try to answer that.

  29. avatar
    sfjeff May 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Lester I refer you to the words of the ‘factchecker’ you dismiss:

    < 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.

  30. avatar
    linda May 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    The pamphlet was done in 1991, after Obama became editor of the Harvard Law Review and had given interviews to major papers saying he was born in Hawaii. The person claiming responsibility says Obama did not supply the info.

    “Miriam Goderich edited the text of the bio; she is now a partner at the Dystel & Goderich agency, which lists Obama as one of its current clients.”

    “This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me–an agency assistant at the time,” Goderich wrote in an emailed statement to Yahoo News. “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.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/born-kenya-obamas-literary-agent-misidentified-birthplace-1991/story?id=16372566#.T7a1w59YulA

    lester: But i would place good money on the bet that B.O. did so himself.

  31. avatar
    Rickey May 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    lester:
    Breaking news.Fact checkers don’t write their own text.As the title of their job implies, they “check facts” – i.e., they check facts/copy/text supplied TO them.A good fact checker – and i don’t know that this lady was a good one – tries to verify the facts from 2 if not 3 independent sources.

    Breaking news: Miriam Goderich was not a fact checker for a newspaper or magazine. She was an assistant editor at a PR firm.

    From the New York Times (which uses real fact checkers), February 5, 1990:

    The new president of the [Harvard Law] Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

    The PR bio was published in 1991. In the alternate universe where birfers reside, Obama told the New York Times in 1990 that he was born in Hawaii, then a year later he wrote his own bio for his publisher in which he said that he was born in Kenya, and then in his book he said that he was born in Hawaii.

  32. avatar
    lester May 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    The literary agent, Miriam Goderich, now works with Dystel & Goderich agency, which lists Obama as one of its clients. Unsurprising therefore that Goderich hastily claimed listing Obama’s birthplace as Kenya was “nothing more than a fact checking error.”

    If this is the case, then it was an “error” that was allowed to stand for over 16 years.

  33. avatar
    yutube May 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    an error that lastest just until Obama decided to run for President, LMAO, pathetic obots.

  34. avatar
    linda May 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    That or it went unnoticed. Since the birthers weren’t putting it on Tshirts, I would go with the latter.

    yutube:
    an error that lastest just until Obama decided to run for President, LMAO, pathetic obots.

    lester: If this is the case, then it was an “error” that was allowed to stand for over 16 years.

  35. avatar
    sfjeff May 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    lester: The literary agent, Miriam Goderich, now works with Dystel & Goderich agency, which lists Obama as one of its clients. Unsurprising therefore that Goderich hastily claimed listing Obama’s birthplace as Kenya was “nothing more than a fact checking error.”If this is the case, then it was an “error” that was allowed to stand for over 16 years.

    Hmmmm lets see….multiple magazine articles about Barack Obama in 1990 announced he was born in Hawaii. His book- published in 2005, announced to the world he was born in Hawaii.

    This error? A trivial error that Obama probably never noticed. Or perhaps- since this pamphlet cost $10,000 to produce- according to your own source- the publisher declined to pay to correct.

    isn’t is odd how you insist that this one mention in 1991 is what we should pay attention to- rather than every magazine article and newspaper article, and Barack Obama’s own book.

    Only in Birthertown.

    Only in Birthertown.

    right next to Toontown but not quite as cool.

  36. avatar
    Majority Will May 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    yutube: pathetic obots

    Your wit is astounding.

  37. avatar
    Scientist May 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Actually, Doc, given the distances involved, the family situation and the lack of resources of the people involved, Ms Dunham giving birth in Kenya is most certainly NOT, as you called it, “believable on the surface” It is, in fact absolutely UNbelievable on the surface, to be accepted only if supported by unimpeachable facts and not contradicted by any other facts.

    Here is what is “believable on the surface”-that Mitt Romney could have been born in Ontario, Canada:

    It is directly across the river from Detroit, where his parents lived, accessible by a bridge and a tunnel
    No passport was required to cross the border at that time, a driver’s license was sufficient
    His parents owned a house in Ontario, which is still in the Romney family
    Romney Sr was a well-connected and prosperous person

    Now that story is “believable on the surface”. And what evidence has Mr Romney shown to disprove that story? None at all.

  38. avatar
    BillTheCat May 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    yutube: an error that lastest just until Obama decided to run for President, LMAO, pathetic obots.

    Whats that? You still haven’t won a single court case? Get back to us when you do, toodles!

  39. avatar
    BillTheCat May 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    lester: Breaking news. Fact checkers don’t write their own text. As the title of their job implies, they “check facts” – i.e., they check facts/copy/text supplied TO them. A good fact checker – and i don’t know that this lady was a good one – tries to verify the facts from 2 if not 3 independent sources. The real question is, who supplied the text? I do not know. But i would place good money on the bet that B.O. did so himself. Have any of you ever written your own reference letter only to have someone else sign it? Same thing. If B.O. did write his own biographical blurb (hypothetical), then the question is why did he have it read as it did?Won’t even try to answer that.

    You can make up whatever you want, but the author of the write-up admitted it was his mistake, and his alone. Try harder.

  40. avatar
    Rickey May 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    lester:

    If this is the case, then it was an “error” that was allowed to stand for over 16 years.

    Why would anyone go back and correct an error in a publicity booklet?

    The bio of Tip O’Neill says that he became Speaker of the House in 1976. Wrong – he became Speaker of the House in 1977. Why wasn’t that error corrected?

  41. avatar
    justlw May 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    O’Neill spent the year 1976 helping Barack Obama obtain a Connecticut SSN. History books have been changed to say that O’Neill became Speaker a year earlier than he actually did, to hide this activity.

    This cost millions of dollars, mostly because of the expensive “sealing” step, which involved massive quantities of Carnauba wax.

    I think what we’re discovering here is the that Dystel is more than a literary agency: it’s the nexus of the conspiracy. This “brochure” was actually a sophisticated instruction manual to keep the diverse elements of the cabal aligned.

  42. avatar
    Joey May 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    sfjeff: Hmmmm lets see….multiple magazine articles about Barack Obama in 1990 announced he was born in Hawaii. His book- published in 2005, announced to the world he was born in Hawaii.

    This error? A trivial error that Obama probably never noticed. Or perhaps- since this pamphlet cost $10,000 to produce- according to your own source- the publisher declined to pay to correct.

    isn’t is odd how you insist that this one mention in 1991 is what we should pay attention to- rather than every magazine article and newspaper article, and Barack Obama’s own book.

    Only in Birthertown.

    Only in Birthertown.

    right next to Toontown but not quite as cool.

    Dreams From My Father was published in 1995, not 2005.

  43. avatar
    Keith May 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    justlw: I think what we’re discovering here is the that Dystel is more than a literary agency: it’s the nexus of the conspiracy.

    “Dystel” is clearly a farrago word derived from ‘DYSinformation’ and ‘InTELigence’.

  44. avatar
    Thrifty May 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    What? “an error that lastest”? WTF is that supposed to mean?

    I guess you mean “lasted”. And it lasted because this is a promotional pamphlet released by a literary agent for an up and coming author who was basically a nobody. It’s insignificant biographical information about an author, not math calculations for a space launch or a medication order.

    yutube:
    an error that lastest just until Obama decided to run for President, LMAO, pathetic obots.

  45. avatar
    Thrifty May 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    This is gonna be the hot Birther meme for the next month or two. The forged selective service card thing is getting old. Much like any serialized comedy, Birtherism needs new material to stay fresh and entertaining.

  46. avatar
    Chef May 19, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    Arizona’s on the case, so this will all be over soon:

    http://news.yahoo.com/arizona-secretary-state-wants-see-obamas-birth-certificate-195231726–abc-news-politics.html

    Right?

  47. avatar
    Majority Will May 19, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    Chef:
    Arizona’s on the case, so this will all be over soon:

    Right?

    No evidence will ever satisfy a birther bigot.

  48. avatar
    misha May 19, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    Chef: Arizona’s on the case, so this will all be over soon:Right?

    Unfortunately for Obama, this Kenya BC has been found.

  49. avatar
    Paper May 19, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    While I think it would be better for the bio to list the dates of service, Tip O’Neill was actually *named* Speaker in 1976, December 1976, which is what the bio says, that he was “named” Speaker in 1976.

    From the NY Times, January 7, 1994: “Mr. O’Neill was elected Speaker by acclamation in December 1976, when he was 64, and took office the next month.”

    (http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1209.html)

    But as you say, it’s an old publicity booklet. As we know, only the very top level editors of the most prestigious publishing firms are allowed to work on such important manuscripts. Low-level assistants might just get lax or indifferent, or not care, or not think it was really important to hunt the real truth about what was clearly at the time such consequential world news, or hate their low-level job and be spending too much time thinking about their future when they’ll be out of such a low-level job, when someone else will have to fact-check them. No, only the best and brightest, as vetted by Woodward and Bernstein, can work on such pamphlets. Common knowledge.

    Rickey: Why would anyone go back and correct an error in a publicity booklet?

    The bio of Tip O’Neill says that he became Speaker of the House in 1976. Wrong – he became Speaker of the House in 1977. Why wasn’t that error corrected?

  50. avatar
    Paper May 19, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    by best and brightest I mean people who have won Pulitzers, have been given awards…I don’t mean to cast aspersions on entry-level fact-checkers…been there, done that…which is why I *know* that only experience, seasoned Pulitzer prize winners are allowed to touch such vital documents, and that such booklets get more vetting than a nuclear power reactor…I know it should be the other way around, but until Ron Paul becomes president, this is the world of misplaced priorities where we live…what can you do?

  51. avatar
    sfjeff May 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    And you know……Obama will ignore this….but this is the type of thing he would love for his opposition to be focusing attention on- an obscure tidbit from 30 years ago that the voters will not understand or care about.

    Meanwhile Obama can focus on convincing the voters that the economy is doing better than they believe. That is what the election is going to turn on.

  52. avatar
    Rickey May 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Today I saw a perfect example of how innocent errors find their way into print. As you may have heard, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. committed suicide the other day. In two separate stories today the New York Daily News reported that the funeral is being held this afternoon at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

    There’s only one problem – St. Patrick’s isn’t in Mount Kisco. It’s in Bedford Village, N.Y.

    Even professional fact checkers get their facts wrong from time to time.

  53. avatar
    Majority Will May 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Rickey:
    Today I saw a perfect example of how innocent errors find their way into print. As you may have heard, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. committed suicide the other day. In two separate stories today the New York Daily News reported that the funeral is being held this afternoon at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

    There’s only one problem – St. Patrick’s isn’t in Mount Kisco. It’s in Bedford Village, N.Y.

    Even professional fact checkers get their facts wrong from time to time.

    The retelling of history is filled with b.s. for many different reasons.

    US History: 13 Myth-Busting Facts That Will Make You Rethink Everything You Know
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erik-sass/us-history-mythbusting_b_749834.html#s150101&title=Myth_There_Were

  54. avatar
    John C. Drew, Ph.D. May 20, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    To me, this raises a lot of other issues. For example, who else did Obama tell that he was born in Kenya? Did he use this story to get into Occidental College, Columbia or Harvard Law School? It is obvious that he – and the people around him – thought it was an advantage for him to pretend to be born in Kenya. I have an agent in NY too. He never uses copy that I have not written or approved…

    Given Elizabeth Warren’s reliance of family lore to confirm her own status as a Native American, it is not hard to imagine that Obama sincerely did not know, for sure, where he was born and that he approved this copy and left unchanged for years because he had enough uncertainty about the matter himself. If this is the case, then what is wrong with further investigation of the truth of the matter.

    Frankly, I think it is more likely that this is just another example of something I’ve been writing about Obama for a number of years. He is completely dishonest when it comes to telling the truth about his past. As an eye witness to the behavior and views of the young Barack Obama, I was startled by the gap between the Obama I knew and the Obama portrayed in Dreams from My Father. Obama’s willingness to lie about his birthplace is certainly consistent with the larger issues at stake in term of making sense of his real story.

  55. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 20, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    You must be having a problem reading the text. The publicist, Goderich, stated specifically that Obama did NOT tell her he was born in Kenya. So saying “who else” doesn’t make sense because there’s no evidence that he told anyone.

    Goderich said:

    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.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: To me, this raises a lot of other issues. For example, who else did Obama tell that he was born in Kenya?…

    As an eye witness to the behavior and views of the young Barack Obama,

    It would appear that your perceptions are hopelessly distorted by bias or other mental defect.

  56. avatar
    Majority Will May 20, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    “To me, this raises a lot of other issues.”

    Some of these lonely birther bigots and Limbaugh wannabes must be having a contest to see who can come up with the most asinine drivel.

  57. avatar
    Scientist May 20, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    John Drew: Are you the same John Drew who was here some time ago making a big to-do over why none of the President’s college girl-friends had come forward and implying that he was gay (not that there is anything wrong with being gay)? Of course, David Maraniss was able to track down a couple of them. Obviously he’s a better investigative reporter than John Drew.

    Look, I know we are in the in the era of Twitter and Facebook and blogging where the fashion is to tell the world about every sexual encounter immediately afterwards (perhaps during). But some of us hold to “Don’t kiss and tell”. Perhaps it is quaint, but I consider it commendable that these women didn’t rush forward to trumpet that the guy they slept with back in college is now the President of the United States. I also consider it commendable that Obama in his book disguised the details so that no one would be able to easily track down these women and harass them in the event he became a prominent figure, as he clearly had ambitions to do by the time the book was published. It’s called being an old school gentleman. Perhaps you ought to try it yourself.

  58. avatar
    misha May 20, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: He is completely dishonest when it comes to telling the truth about his past.

    Just like Shrub. WMDs and atomic bombs, made from whole cloth. Cheney lives year ’round in Texas, but his domicile is an obscure town in Wyoming – how convenient. No bid contracts for Halliburton. A misdemeanor conviction, and a felony conviction for Cheney. The Arizona SoS wants Obama’s confirmation, but not Romney, whose grandfather was a polygamist, and whose father was born in Mexico, purportedly to American citizens.

    Let me know when the hypocrisy stops.

    Misha Marinsky, FNAO

  59. avatar
    gorefan May 20, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: For example, who else did Obama tell that he was born in Kenya? Did he use this story to get into Occidental College, Columbia or Harvard Law School?

    Well, he told the New York Times in 1990, that he was born in Hawaii.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/06/us/first-black-elected-to-head-harvard-s-law-review.html

  60. avatar
    Northland10 May 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: He is completely dishonest when it comes to telling the truth about his past.

    I love how the Birthers proclaim how nobody knows about Obama’s past and then say they Obama lies about everything in his past. If they do not know about his past, how do they know he is lying. Just because the actually history of Obama does not match what you want to believe does not mean he his lying, it just means that what you want to truth to be is in fact, not the truth.

    Dr. Drew and others are fixated on Obama’s past, apparently deciding that what Obama was like and thought 30 years ago will be the exactly the same now. However, most of us change from when we were twenty. We call that growing up and maturing. I can understand why Drew and Birthers might be confused.

  61. avatar
    lester May 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    From Breitbart:

    We’ve since learned that the agency in question, Dystel & Goderich, asks writers to submit their own bios and if our President had an “R” after his name, this is the thread that would be pulled to launch a thousand mainstream media questions, the most obvious among them being: Did Obama submit his own bio? If so, what did it say? How in the in the world does someone mistakenly assume an American citizen was born in Africa?

    I don’t believe it is yet clear cut what this agency did, who wrote the bio, who (if anyone) fact checked it and whether the bio was seen by more desks at D & G than just that of Goderich.

  62. avatar
    CarlOrcas May 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    lester: I don’t believe it is yet clear cut what this agency did, who wrote the bio, who (if anyone) fact checked it and whether the bio was seen by more desks at D & G than just that of Goderich.

    It seems quite clear if you read what she wrote three days ago:

    http://politicalwire.com/archives/2012/05/17/literary_agent_says_1991_booklet_was_a_mistake.html

    It was a mistake. Hers.

  63. avatar
    CarlOrcas May 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: Given Elizabeth Warren’s reliance of family lore to confirm her own status as a Native American, it is not hard to imagine that Obama sincerely did not know, for sure, where he was born and that he approved this copy and left unchanged for years because he had enough uncertainty about the matter himself.

    Is your Ph.D. in creative writing?

  64. avatar
    John C. Drew, Ph.D. May 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    It is really strange to read the dysfunctional group think on this site. It is unthinkable that this copy was not run by Obama for approval. That’s not how that book agent business works.

    We know, as a matter of fact, that liberals like Elizabeth Warren lie about their ethnic status to get ahead in the world of academic affirmative action. It is not surprising that Obama did the same by touting his supposed Kenyan birthplace. This latest story is a great confirmation about a long-standing pattern in Obama’s life – lying about his past.

    For the record, Obama lied about the closeness of his relationship with Bill Ayers. He lied about listening to Rev. Wright’s extremist, anti-white hate speech. Obama lied about his political views at Occidental College hiding the fact that he was an out and out Marxist-Leninist when I met him in 1980. Obama lied in Dreams about seeing an article about a black man who had bleached his own skin. Obama lied in Dreams about his “composite” girlfriend, Geneveive Cook. He lied about her background, her ties to Indonesia, her Austrailian heritage – even the color of her eyes. Obama lied about Cook breaking into tears because she could never be black.

    Obama is a serial liar. He hid his intense relationship with convicted felon Anthony Rezko until FBI surveliance revealed the full extent of this relationshiip. Obama does not have the integrity needed to succeed as president. Those who justify his lying about his Kenyan birth are defending a man who is not worthy of their time and attention.

  65. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    So you are going to believe your imagination over the person who wrote the piece. And you call US dysfunctional!

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: It is really strange to read the dysfunctional group think on this site. It is unthinkable that this copy was not run by Obama for approval. That’s not how that book agent business works.

  66. avatar
    Paper May 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Having written/edited such bios once upon a time, I can say it is entirely possible it was not run by him. Whether or not it was, that’s a different question (doubt it, but can’t say). But I can say it is possible he didn’t review it.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: It is really strange to read the dysfunctional group think on this site. It is unthinkable that this copy was not run by Obama for approval. That’s not how that book agent business works.

  67. avatar
    Paper May 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Even if Obama is such a liar, and even if he tells lies as constantly as you say, there remains one thing he hasn’t lied about, where he was born. He was born in Hawaii. Having been born in Hawaii he is eligible to be president, and more to the point, he is President.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: Obama is a serial liar.

  68. avatar
    Litmus test May 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Please, do not insult creative writing. This dreck is not creative.

    CarlOrcas: Is your Ph.D. in creative writing?

  69. avatar
    Kate1230 May 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    misha: Just like Shrub. WMDs and atomic bombs, made from whole cloth. Cheney lives year ’round in Texas, but his domicile is an obscure town in Wyoming – how convenient. No bid contracts for Halliburton. A misdemeanor conviction, and a felony conviction for Cheney. The Arizona SoS wants Obama’s confirmation, but not Romney, whose grandfather was a polygamist, and whose father was born in Mexico, purportedly to American citizens.

    Let me know when the hypocrisy stops.

    Misha Marinsky, FNAO

    Let’s not forget Romney and his wife living in his son’s basement (unfinished) so that he could vote in MA. The same guy that lives in an unfinished basement can’t manage in a 4,000 SF home in CA and is tearing it down and tripling its size. That’s credible, right?

  70. avatar
    Kate1230 May 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Wasn’t this the bio for a book that was never published? Sounds like a very solid reason as to why this error wasn’t caught earlier.

  71. avatar
    James M May 21, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.:
    It is really strange to read the dysfunctional group think on this site. It is unthinkable that this copy was not run by Obama for approval. That’s not how that book agent business works.

    We know, as a matter of fact, that liberals like Elizabeth Warren lie about their ethnic status to get ahead in the world of academic affirmative action. It is not surprising that Obama did the same by touting his supposed Kenyan birthplace. This latest story is a great confirmation about a long-standing pattern in Obama’s life – lying about his past.

    For the record, Obama lied about the closeness of his relationship with Bill Ayers. He lied about listening to Rev. Wright’s extremist, anti-white hate speech. Obama lied about his political views at Occidental College hiding the fact that he was an out and out Marxist-Leninist when I met him in 1980. Obama lied in Dreams about seeing an article about a black man who had bleached his own skin. Obama lied in Dreams about his “composite” girlfriend, Geneveive Cook. He lied about her background, her ties to Indonesia, her Austrailian heritage – even the color of her eyes. Obama lied about Cook breaking into tears because she could never be black.

    Obama is a serial liar. He hid his intense relationship with convicted felon Anthony Rezko until FBI surveliance revealed the full extent of this relationshiip. Obama does not have the integrity needed to succeed as president. Those who justify his lying about his Kenyan birth are defending a man who is not worthy of their time and attention.

    If you have evidence of a crime, John C. Drew, Ph.D., then stop beating around the bush and spell out your case, either to a law enforcement officer or a member of the House of Representatives in the case of a crime committed by the President of the United States.

  72. avatar
    misha May 21, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: It is really strange to read the dysfunctional group think on this site.

    Just like Roy Cohn and HUAC. That shonde and momser is dead, and I could not be happier. He was a white collar criminal, who made a career out of destroying the careers of others. He will not be missed. He was a hypocrite who died of Aids.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: liberals like Elizabeth Warren lie about their ethnic status to get ahead in the world of academic affirmative action

    I am one of those New York Jewish liberals you read about. You don’t have any problem with affirmative action for the wealthy. One optometrist I worked for wanted his son, who had a C average, to go to optometry school. He named a specific school and the exact donation to their endowment, and his son was admitted. The kid failed out his first semester. My half-brother wanted to go to law school. Same thing – C average. He found a school around San Francisco, and told me the exact amount he donated to their endowment, and was admitted.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: Rev. Wright’s extremist, anti-white hate speech

    Racism is the belief that one race is intellectually superior to all others. That was the foundation of the 3rd Reich. They believed Anglo-Saxons were biologically and intellectually superior to all others, and the world was their birthright. Rev. Wright does not believe that black people are intellectually superior to all others, and he believes black peoples’ only birthright is civil rights. He is angry about the way America’s only unwilling immigrants have been treated. Their decendents did not have civil rights until 1964, 100 years after emancipation. He’s angry because he’s human.

    ‘UNC stands for the university of ni—– and communists.’ – Senator Jesse Helms

    Let’s look at Rev. John Hagee:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7706179979766534830&hl=en#

    In this video, Hagee
    – explains to his congregation how Jews control the world’s monetary supply.
    – explains to his congregation how the Magen David and the menorah are on US paper currency, in disguise.
    – explains that ‘the anti-Christ will be a homosexual and Jewish, as was Karl Marx, as was Adolf Hi____’
    – Describes Jesus’ Bar Mitzvah. Unfortunately, the Bar Mitzvah ceremony did not start until the Middle Ages.
    – Describes how the spittle of first born Jewish males has miraculous healing powers.
    – Lists the entire catalog of every Jewish stereotype, to his congregation.
    – Called Chaim Solomon, who financed the American Revolution, a “financier.” Solomon was a merchant. Benjamin Franklin convinced Solomon to lend, not Jews from around the world.

    Hagee encourages West Bank apartheid. He has built West Bank rec centers and other facilities for Settlers only. Arabs are not allowed.

    He has said that the Holocaust was divine retribution. Hagee is an anti-Semite. He detests Arabs. That’s an anti-Semite, too. Hagee believes Arabs are intellectually inferior, by birth. He is encouraging Bibi to attack Iran, which could lead to a 3rd world war.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: Obama does not have the integrity needed to succeed as president.

    You mean Spiro Agnew and Sarah Palin.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: Obama is a serial liar.

    Like Spiro Agnew? Like when Shrub appeared in public with bruises on his face, and said he choked on a pretzel? He was drunk, not eating.

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: Those who justify his lying about his Kenyan birth are defending a man who is not worthy of their time and attention.

    Those who defend Glenn Beck, a man who raped and killed a girl in 1990, are not worthy of anything.

    David Huckabee at age 18, caught a stray dog, hung it, slit its throat, and stoned it to death.

  73. avatar
    misha May 21, 2012 at 2:50 am #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: Obama is a serial liar.

    ‘Let them go bankrupt’ – Romney now takes credit for the auto companies’ recovery.

    Romney now says his landmark healthcare law was wrong.

  74. avatar
    Lupin May 21, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    John C. Drew, Ph.D.: That’s not how that book agent business works.

    You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. I can safely say after 30 years’ experience in the (so-called) entertainment industry that it PRECISELY how the book agent business works!

  75. avatar
    Northland10 May 21, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    misha: Racism is the belief that one race is intellectually superior to all others. That was the foundation of the 3rd Reich. They believed Anglo-Saxons were biologically and intellectually superior to all others, and the world was their birthright. Rev. Wright does not believe that black people are intellectually superior to all others, and he believes black peoples’ only birthright is civil rights. He is angry about the way America’s only unwilling immigrants have been treated. Their decendents did not have civil rights until 1964, 100 years after emancipation. He’s angry because he’s human.

    Thank you, Misha. Those on the “even Dr. Wright” run have obviously never listened to entire an entire sermon or do not wish to. I have listened to multiple, entire, sermons by both Wright and Hagee. Those who listen to an entire sermon by Dr. Wright will see how his preaching is directed toward helping his congregation (from one of the roughest areas of Chicago), lift themselves out of the bondage of poverty, drugs, gangs and so forth that surround them daily (he has been especially rough on gang bangers in his sermons). Even while he strove to lift the up out of their position in life, there are those who will still try to limit their rights and opportunities. There is where you get his “angry” portion of his sermons, to those who would take away the opportunity to grow.

    John Hagee, on the other hand, is just vile.

  76. avatar
    Northland10 May 21, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Northland10: Those on the “even Dr. Wright” run have obviously never listened to entire an entire sermon

    I meant, those on the “evil Dr. Wright” run..

  77. avatar
    Scientist May 21, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Let’s be clear who John Drew is: he is a candidate for the Orange County Republican Committee. That means he is, quite simply, a partisan hack, a used car salesman for the R team. If he tells you the other guy’s car is lousy and his car is great, that is simply how he pays his mortgage. I recommend you test drive the car and have an impartial mechanic look at it before buying.

  78. avatar
    Majority Will May 21, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Scientist:
    Let’s be clear who John Drew is: he is a candidate for the Orange County Republican Committee.That means he is, quite simply, a partisan hack, a used car salesman for the R team.If he tells you the other guy’s car is lousy and his car is great, that is simply how he pays his mortgage.I recommend you test drive the car and have an impartial mechanic look at it before buying.

    The Carl Swensson of the OC.

    Wow. The Repubs are really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days. How sad.

  79. avatar
    misha May 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Northland10: John Hagee, on the other hand, is just vile.

    Hagee is an odious bigot.

  80. avatar
    Steve May 24, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Did we lose on this one? Most people I’ve talked to have a hard time believing the person who said it was just a mistake on her part and that there’s no way Obama would have let it go uncorrected for so long.

  81. avatar
    misha May 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Steve: there’s no way Obama would have let it go uncorrected for so long.

    Just wait until this Kenya BC (Obama’s?) is seen by Arpaio.

  82. avatar
    JPotter May 25, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Steve: Most people I’ve talked to have a hard time believing the person who said it was just a mistake on her part and that there’s no way Obama would have let it go uncorrected for so long.

    Such people should consider their own lives. Error on credit reports, in personnel files, errors in simple news articles (you should read the small-town write up on a family reunion I attended!).

  83. avatar
    The Magic M May 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    misha: Racism is the belief that one race is intellectually superior to all others.

    Not just intellectually, superior in general and in every way – morally (“they are dishonest traitors, not good and righteous like us”, “they want to take our women”, “they are all criminals”), biologically (“they bring diseases and dilute our precious blood”), physically (“they are small and hideous, we are tall and beautiful”) etc.

    The ironic thing about racists is that they are usually the spitting image of the distorted view they have of other races – I mean, when did you last see a tall blond handsome man talk about “the superiority of the Aryan race”?

  84. avatar
    misha May 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    (Dr C: I know this is off on another tangent, but please allow it.)

    misha: Racism is the belief that one race is intellectually superior to all others. That was the foundation of the 3rd Reich.

    The Magic M: Not just intellectually, superior in general and in every way – morally (“they are dishonest traitors, not good and righteous like us”, “they want to take our women”, “they are all criminals”), biologically (“they bring diseases and dilute our precious blood”), physically

    Quiz time: Goebbels or Israel?

    “…told protesters…Sudanese refugees in the country “were a cancer in our body.”…the crowd chanted slogans such as “infiltrators get out of our home,” and the scene turned violent as “demonstrators attacked African passersby while others lit garbage cans on fire and smashed car windows…[He] expressed no regrets on Thursday for the violence…”After what I see everyday and what I saw yesterday, I understand the anger.”

    …Interior Minister…also charged…that most African refugees…are criminals and should be jailed until deportation.”

    Time’s up. It’s Israel:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/24/miri-regev-sudan_n_1543079.html

  85. avatar
    bob j May 26, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    Steve:
    Did we lose on this one? Most people I’ve talked to have a hard time believing the person who said it was just a mistake on her part and that there’s no way Obama would have let it go uncorrected for so long.

    http://www.neatorama.com/2012/05/11/school-misspelled-own-name-for-9-years/

    It is amazing what people can overlook.

  86. avatar
    Line in the Sand May 31, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Yup, a ‘fact checking error’. Of course……

    So, Miriam, how did that ‘error’ occur for 17 years and 4 variations of the bio??

    Let’s guess…..your finger just casually flipped through a world atlas and landed on Kenya???

    Or maybe, Obama gave the info to you and it was his ‘error’, because he doesn’t really know which country he was born in, and, also used said atlas with a wandering pointer finger???

    Which one do we pick to explain the ‘error’??

    Non-proofers are idiots.

    [This site has a policy against commenters insulting other members of the community, and that is why I have deleted the other three of your comments, and put you on the permanent ban list.

    The obvious explanation to your question is that the publicist confused Barack Obama Sr. being born in Kenya with Barack Obama Jr. being born in Kenya. This is much simpler than a very pregnant student coming up with $10,000 to make a 12,000 mile trip to a 3rd world country to deliver a baby and somehow accomplishing this without her return being counted by the INS, when she lived with her mother and father something like 5 miles from Hawaii’s main maternity hospital. You may think that I am an idiot, but the birther position is beyond any recognizable rational thought. Doc.]

  87. avatar
    Suranis May 31, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Especially since info on his Father was on the next line.

    Besides, that Bio was not for publicity, it was just on an informational leaflet on their authors that was sent to other publishers and people in the book industry. the author Bio on “Dreams from my father,” published in 1995, correctly listed the President’s birthplace as Hawaii.

    I’m sure Line there will have an excuse as to why the error on the years Tipp O’Niell was speaker of the house has never been corrected.

  88. avatar
    James M May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Suranis:
    Especially since info on his Father was on the next line.

    Besides, that Bio was not for publicity, it was just on an informational leaflet on their authors that was sent to other publishers and people in the book industry. the author Bio on “Dreams from my father,” published in 1995, correctly listed the President’s birthplace as Hawaii.

    I’m sure Line there will have an excuse as to why the error on theyears Tipp O’Niell was speaker of the house has never been corrected.

    Is there any evidence that President Obama ever personally saw this item?

  89. avatar
    misha May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    “…a very pregnant student coming up with $10,000…”

    Actually, it’s about $12K in constant dollars:
    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2010/03/obama-born-in-kenya-no.html

    For those who insist Obama was born in Kenya, I offer this BC:
    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2009/09/another-kenyan-birth-certificate.html