by Remington Shepard/Media Matters
In a May 18 post, on his blog, RedState, CNN's Erick Erickson praised Breitbart.com for its May 17 "vetting" of Obama, using the post to call Obama a "Composite Kenyan." From his May 18 RedStatepost:
The Breitbart Crew has done the world a very valuable service in finding a 1991 biography of Barack Obama from his literary agent claiming he was "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."[...]The point is not that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. The point is that Barack Obama has repeatedly been perfectly okay embellishing and having others embellish his qualifications and biography to make himself someone unique instead of just another Chicago politician. The pattern goes back to his job as a "financial reporter". A former colleague of his and Obama fan, way back in 2005, claims Barack Obama really embellished his resume describing his financial related reporting.[...][T]he largest point, however, is that the media is yet again caught flat footed, claiming the story is no big deal, irrelevant, or that somehow the Breitbart Crew is in the wrong and peddling Birtherism.They are not peddling Birtherism. The Breitbart Crew are kind of like illegal immigrants -- doing reporting Columbia journalism grads won't do. In 2008, the New York Times ran a big story on John McCain having an affair with a lobbyist. It got picked up all over the place. Reporters were on the trail. There was no *there* there.
The Breitbart.com post is the most recent installment of their continuing series of posts "vetting" President Obama. In this piece, blogger Joel Pollak highlighted a booklet produced by Obama's literary agent in 1991 that stated Obama was "born in Kenya." Although Pollack insisted that "Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of 'Birtherism'," the post made its way around right-wingmedia, including sites well-known for pushing false birther claims.
In a May 18 New York Magazine post titled "Breitbart: Literary Agent Blunder Exposes Obama!," Jonathan Chait pointed out that, despite the qualifying statement preceding the post, the Breitbart.com piece "tiptoe[s] around" the "Birther Shock angle" and called it "part of [Breitbart.com]'s continuing quest to bring you the stories the mainstream media refuses to report on." From the post:
The Drudge Report is hyping the Birther Shock angle. Breitbart is careful to tiptoe around it. The story insists that the good editors believe that Obama was born in Hawaii. So why, then, should we care about this story? The article breathlessly explains:The biography does, however, fit a pattern in which Obama -- or the people representing and supporting him -- manipulate his public persona.David Maraniss's forthcoming biography of Obama has reportedly confirmed, for example, that a girlfriend Obama described in Dreams from My Father was, in fact, an amalgam of several separate individuals.In addition, Obama and his handlers have a history of redefining his identity when expedient. In March 2008, for example, he famously declared: "I can no more disown [Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother."Soooo ... it's (1) a lazy literary agent, (2) a book that openly says it uses composite characters, and (3) a speech on race relations. What exactly is the "pattern" here?