Main Menu

Birtherism as for-profit fake news

When we talk about birthers, the topic of racism is often raised, and I have considered other forms of bias in an attempt to explain why people believe unsubstantiated and sometimes ridiculous stories about Barack Obama. But where do the stories come from in the first place?

I talked about this back in February of 2011, in my article “Engineered crisis,” pointing out WorldNetDaily’s publisher Joseph Farah’s famous quotation about the birth certificate controversy, “we essentially created it.” And just as Jerome Corsi wrote a best-selling smear against John Kerry, he attempted to derail Obama’s presidential bid a series of books, “The Obama Nation,” “Where’s the Birth Certificate” and “Where’s the Real Birth Certificate.” And of course it was through Jerome Corsi’s presentation to the Surprise Tea Party Patriots that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio got involved and started the highly-successful publicity stunt, dubbed the investigation of Obama’s birth certificate.

We often think about Farah and Corsi as part of the commercial birth certificate industry, but one individual that is rarely mentioned is Wayne Madsen, publisher of the “Wayne Madsen Report.” Madsen was not as widely read because his report previously required a subscription, but his “creativity” in conspiracy circles has influence. It appears, for example, that the story of Ted Cruz’s father being involved in the Kennedy assassination first came from Madsen. The oft -quoted birther comment about “race” on Obama’s birth certificate may well have come from Madsen too:

Within 24-hours of the release of the long form Certificate of Live Birth on April 27, [2011] intelligence agencies from Britain and China to Germany and Russia examined the document and concluded it was a forgery based on the fact that Barack H. Obama Sr.’s race, listed as “African,” was a monumental error, considering that not only the United States, but other English-speaking nations described Africans and those of African descent as either “Negroes” or “blacks” in 1961.

Note that the form of the Madsen statement is not simply a misunderstanding of terminology, but the absurd attribution of it to “intelligence agencies” (Madsen claims to be a former intelligence officer).

Continuing on the fake news front, Madsen was the seed of a story that made it into a Jerome Corsi article in WorldNetDaily, that Obama’s birth certificate had been found in Kenya.  The June 9, 2008, Madsen story itself doesn’t say Obama was born in Kenya, but it is the source for distortions that followed:

GOP dirty tricks operatives dispatched to Kenya to dig up any useful “dirt” on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, Jr., and his late Kenyan father Barack Obama, Sr., believe they have found a “smoking gun.” In this case, it is a birth certificate from the Kenyan city of Mombasa registering the birth of Barack Obama, Jr., on August 4, 1961. However, the registration is a common practice in African countries whose citizens abroad have families with foreign nationals. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to his Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas, and Barack Obama, Sr., of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Kenya. Obama’s parents were enrolled at the University of Hawaii. They divorced when Barack Obama was two years old.

WorldNetDaily reported on October 23, 2008, that the Madsen citation had been used to make the following claim in an unidentified Washington State legal action (likely Marquis v. Reed that was filed October 10):

Wayne Madsen, Journalist with Online Journal as a contributing writer and (sic) published an article on June 9, 2008, stating that a research team went to Mombassa (sic), Kenya, and located a Certificate Registering the birth of Barack Obama, Jr. at a Kenya Maternity Hospital, to his father, a Kenyan citizen and his mother, a U.S. citizen.

Madsen also claimed that the CIA destroyed Stanley Ann Dunham’s 1961 passport record and later that the CIA recruited Barack Obama.

I think I should at least mention one final popularizer of conspiracy theories and fake news, Alex Jones. Jones and his radio and Internet InfoWars franchise gets little attention from me because he produces so much material that it’s hard to keep up, and it is so outlandish that it’s hard to take seriously. This past summer he was all over the Jade Helm story (claiming that the military exercise was going to take over the country–it didn’t) with some army in Mexico ready to stream into the United States through tunnels connecting vacated Walmart stores. Jerome Corsi has been a guest on Alex Jones’ program multiple times. including where he said that Donald Trump’s computer expert concluded that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery. The Alex Jones YouTube video, “PROOF!!! Obama Birth Certificate Fraud,” has over one million views. Alex Jones published the claim that Obama changed his ring from an Islamic one to a generic one following Jerome Corsi’s WorldNetDaily article claiming the President wore a ring with Arabic writing. Jones’ other guests included Michael Shrimpton. Finally Jones hosted Wayne Madsen.

These days it’s hard to tell the difference between a commercial fake news website and a partisan fake news website. Tom Fife has a site called “American Free Press.” While the particular article is not there today, that site is widely cited as the source for this well-fleshed-out version of the Obama birth in Kenya story and claims of a fake birth certificate. Based on excerpts of the story that appear elsewhere, copies of the Bomford and Smith fake Kenyan birth certificates may have been included:

“On August 4, 1961 Obama’s mother, father and grandmother were attending a Muslim festival in Mombassa (sic), Kenya. Mother had been refused entry to airplanes due to her 9 month pregnancy. It was a hot August day at the festival so the Obama’s went to the beach to cool off. While swimming in the ocean his mother experienced labor pains so was rushed to the Coast Provincial General Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya where Obama was born a few hours later at 7:21 pm on August 4, 1961. Four days later his mother flew to Hawaii and registered his birth in Honolulu as a certificate of live birth which omitted the place and hospital of birth.”

The local Imam in Mombasa named Barack with his middle name Hussein so his official name on his certificate of live birth below is Barack Hussein Obama, II.

Behind every crazy story about Barack Obama, there is someone who made it up.

, , , , , , , ,

One Response to Birtherism as for-profit fake news

  1. avatar
    Delongleggedmackdaddy December 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    THE DAY THE BIRTHERS DIED
    (LAMENT OF A BIRTHER PROFITEER)

    (Slow and reverent, fond reminiscing)
    A long, long time ago, I can still remember when the Birthers use to make me smile.
    And I knew if I had the chance, to profit from Birthers while they rant, that may be I’d be happy for a while.
    2008, had made them shiver, when election results they were delivered. It was bad news on their door steps, which made them cry “what in the heck?”

    I can’t remember if I cried, when their delusions of victory began to subside, but something touched me deep inside, the day the Birther’s died.

    So bye, bye Birther pie in the sky. Boy Hawaii sure was great till those donations went dry. Now us good ole boys are all caught up in our lies but we hope they still believe that we tried,
    Yes, we hope they still believe that we tried.

    (Up tempo, remembering the good ole days)

    Did you read, all the books we sold, you know this Birther stuff is worth its weight in gold, but we’ll never tell you so.

    We said if you believe in Vattell of old then Donald Trump can save your Birther souls, while the posse, lead them on and on real slow.
    We said Hawaii’s in cahoots with him, and when more money was sent we began to grin,
    then we all kicked off our shoes, on white sand beaches in those waters of blue.

    Back home I still was making lots of bucks, I sold impeach Obama stickers for their pickup trucks, but I knew that it had all gone bust, the day the Birthers died.

    I started singing, bye, bye Birther pie in the sky. Boy Hawaii sure was great till those donations went dry. Now us good ole boys are all caught up in our lies but we hope they still believe that we tried.
    Yes, we hope they still believe that we tried.

    Now, for six years we’d been on their own but with Sheriff Joe on board we thought we’d really grown but, that’s not how it was to be.

    Then Orly spoke to the court in words, from a brief she coppied from Philip Berg, in a voice that never went to court for free.

    Oh and how the Birthers began to frown, when for the second time Obama took the crown. All the court rooms were adjourned. Case dismissed was what was returned.

    And although Orly never hit the Mark, I still made lots of cash at birther rally parks, while Carl Gallups kept them in the dark till the day the Bithers died

    And we were singing,

    bye, bye Birther pie in the sky. Boy Hawaii sure was great till the donations went dry. Now us good ole boys are all caught up in our lies but we hope they still believe that we tried.
    Yes, we hope they still believe that we tried.

    Helter skelter in a summer swelter. We swore by March we’d have it all together. Nine months soon and coming fast.

    We swore for years Obama’d never last, but that thing in March just never came to pass, so the Birthers got defensive, and then crass.

    They said, the only reason we can’t have Cruz, is cause the whole thing has been rigged by Jews. Then they tried to take it back, oh but they never got the chance.

    Cause when the Birthers tried to make it real, the Congress all refused to yield, I guess
    them VIPs just up and quit the deal, the day the Birthers died.
    While we were singing –

    bye, bye Birther pie in the sky. Boy Hawaii sure was great till those donations went dry. Now us good ole boys are all caught up in our lies but we hope they still believe that we tried.
    Yes, we hope they still believe that we tried.

    Well the Birthers could never stay in one place, so they paid us to file lawsuits in every state, and when we lost they’d pay again.

    Some lawyers are nimble and some are quick but all lawyers just jump over them candle sticks, cause money is a lawyers only friend.

    Klayman turned the court room into a stage, where he quoted Vatell with clenched fists in rage.
    But no lawyer born in Hell, Could break Obama’s spell.

    And as Obama’s poll numbers began to rise and celebrations ran all though the nite, I saw Obots laughing with delight the day the Birthers died.
    But I was singing –

    bye, bye Birther pie in the sky. Boy Hawaii sure was great till the donations went dry. Now us good ole boys are all caught up in our lies but we hope they still believe that we tried.
    Yes, we hope they still believe that we tried.

    (slow and reverent, sad now because my Impeach Obama sticker sales have just about tanked)

    I met a girl named Sharon Rondue, and I asked her for some happy news, but she just smiled and turned away.

    So I went down to the Birther Report, where I’d laughed at Birthers years before, but the man there said that Obots couldn’t play.

    And in the streets the Birthers screamed, gay marriage is legal the courts have deemed, but not a word was spoken, their spirits now were broken.

    And the three men I admired most, Apairo, Zullo and the Gallups show host, they took the last train for the coast, the day the Birthers died.

    But I was singing –

    bye, bye Birther pie in the sky. Boy Hawaii sure was great till the donations went dry. Now us good ole boys are all caught up in our lies but we hope they still believe that we tried.

    Yes, we hope they still believe that we tried.