The Morphing Obama Biography and the Skeptics
An odd taboo has been created on noticing that the president of the United States has a biography that can adapt itself to the needs of the moment. Go too far in raising an alarm, and be labeled "birther" and shunned in polite society.
The credit for creating the "birther" label was claimed in 2008 by columnist David Weigel:
I think I originally coined the term "Birthers" to describe the people who think the state of Hawaii and its time travel machine are concealing the truth about Obama's birth on the roof of a mosque in Kenya. It's not just the reference to 9/11 "truthers" that I like. It's the callback to the John Birch Society, id est the "Birchers."
Weigel was also the most notorious "JournoLister." In case you've forgotten about that left-wing media cabal, this Daily Caller article described the JournoList's coordinated efforts to bury the Jeremiah Wright story during the 2008 campaign. (Although JournoList was disbanded in 2010, the mainstream media, in remarkable unison, have covered up the recent revelation that Wright was bribed $150,000 to keep quiet.)
The sarcastic "birther" post was written by Weigel long before the Breitbart discovery of the literary agency biography that claimed Obama was born in Kenya. That portion of the biography's claims survived for over 16 years through multiple other updates. Likely, many in the circles of publishing, Chicago politics, and Obama's college and early career days had heard or read about a Kenyan birth somewhere. Which leaves open the possibility that Weigel and his fellow JournoListers tripped over the story, or were slipped a tip, early in the campaign, and chose to utilize Alinksy tactics in case such tidbits oozed through any cracks in the preferred narrative.
The name-calling has been very effective. Even worse, the media uses the birther label (as it often does with "Tea Partier") interchangeably with "racist." Recently, Geraldo Rivera spent a full segment of his radio show to inform listeners that the "obsession" with Obama's birth certificate is, "at its heart, a racial issue."
Since 2008, skeptics of Obama's biography of many stripes endeavored to set the record straight and explain their quest, pursuing records and details of his life, including the long-form birth certificate and investigation into the "probable forgery" of the digital image posted by the White House.
Their adventures and the mystery surrounding Obama's history have created such a complicated plotline that it seems the stuff of bad fiction with an unbelievable conspiracy theme. But then recall JournoList choreography, and details like Professor Ogletree's admission that he hid the Obama/Bell tape during the election. Observe that whenever interesting facts or questions are noted, the media steps in fast, furiously, and perfectly timed to spin them into birther oblivion. And see how quickly conservative pundits and Republican politicians duck and run when the R-word is implied.
Want to see Obama's college transcripts? That's a hint at affirmative action -- racist. Wonder whether he attended as a foreign student? That's birther. Want to know more about Obama's religious beliefs and his relationship with Jeremiah Wright? Racist. Note that experts assert that the posted birth certificate is a probable digital forgery, or wonder if the White House was playing games in presenting such a strange document? Birther. Ask whether Obama wrote his autobiography? That's racist and birther. Vote for the blank box instead of Obama in the Democratic primary? Racist. Note that Obama and his attorneys ignored a court-issued subpoena, an Obama attorney asserted in a courtroom that even Mickey Mouse didn't need to show a birth certificate to run for president, and that the media didn't cover any of it? How birther.
In the same segment that Rivera blasted "birthers" for being "racist," he interviewed Lord Christopher Monckton, who has openly acknowledged the birth certificate anomalies. In between snorts and laughter during Monckton's explanation, Rivera insinuated that Monckton and his forensic experts were "smoking crack." And another of Rivera's guests, NYU professor Charlton McIlwain, implied that any questions of Obama's history and credentials were motivated by racism.
Journalists who pursue "facts and data," even while insisting they aren't wearing birther spectacles, are discovering that the mainstream media still depicts them as bottom-feeding "spawn," "aiding and abetting birtherism."
When the media finally did cover the agency biography story, they asserted that it had been "discredited" and then used it to bash Romney. None dared touch the fact that the agency updated the original 1991 biography several times for changes in Obama's career over the 16 years, yet did not revise the "born in Kenya" part (or downgrade the job descriptions of his parents) until 2007, two months after Obama announced his candidacy.
The biography story is radioactive: it addresses the taboo subject of Obama's birth, his life narrative, and his character and credentials, and it illustrates the mainstream's utter lack of journalistic integrity.
And if the clicks on your mental Geiger-counter are tap-tapping rapidly in agreement after reading that, you've been exposed to non-reversible birtherism radiation.
Skeptics, like business owners reviewing the job application of a prospective employee, are not satisfied with the glossy media photo and indulgent autobiography. They're also looking for the missing link in Obama's evolution from a college radical, Jeremiah Wright church member, and community organizer into a pragmatic moderate.
Obama responded to the questions with taunts -- in speeches, comedy routines, and prayer breakfasts -- and his campaign profited by selling birth-certificate-emblazoned t-shirts and mugs.
Some might argue that a little biography padding is expected, but redrawing family trees with a Cherokee branch or moving the birthplace to a more exotic location seems to work only in certain elite circles.
And the same newspaper that is still hiding the Khalidi tape has now added another new term to the lexicon -- transcripters -- to describe people who want to investigate the "tomb-like silence around [Obama's] college years."
Obama's "blank screen" evolved along with his political career, and when inconvenient facts got in the way, out came the media edits and erasers. If anyone dares notice any missed spots or erasure smudges, he or she is racist, birther, or distracted from the economy. And no one is allowed to wonder if the chalkboard mess has anything to do with the economic mess.
"Four years in office is what I call vetting," columnist Eugene Robinson asserts. Others would call the four years a disaster.
Fretting over the media's ties of Romney to Trump (with his "discredited" birther claims) but not Obama's to Sharpton, Breitbart's John Nolte wrote:
These are the games the media intends to play throughout this campaign. This is all about getting Obama reelected with distractions, guilty-by-association, and nonsense narratives that suck all the oxygen away from any conversations surrounding Obama's failed policies.
The "birther" issue has not been "discredited" -- what has been discredited is the reliability and reputation of the mainstream media. And the oxygen that Nolte worried about getting sucked away has accumulated right next to the explosive truth of the flimsy, morphing, media-supported Obama narrative.
If Watergate taught us that the cover-up is worse than the crime, the current affair would be better-described by a word coined with the "-gate" suffix than by "-er." Involving more than a birth story, it reaches across the entire narrative. And this time, instead of the mainstream media doing the investigation and reporting, they're actually assisting in the construction and the cover-up.
So which is it: Birtherism or Narrative-gate? The answer depends on which "field guide" you follow -- one written by the "Democrat-Media Complex," or one that asks questions to lead to the truth.