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.”
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.