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,  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.