Why the Media Chose Not to Hear When Trump Called Obama a Literary Fraud
Barack Obama, the writer, is stumbling again. Even the New York Times acknowledges that the former president is "anguishing over the publication date of his long-awaited memoir." Others are anguishing even more than he.
"The delay is wreaking havoc with print scheduling and of course budget planning," an insider told me. "The enormous advance is starting to raise concerns within the publisher. While Michelle's book performed well, Obama needs to deliver the book and sales to make the overall deal worthwhile."
This is not the first time Obama failed to deliver on a book deadline. In the summer of 1993, Simon & Schuster lost patience with Obama, canceled the contract it had awarded him two years earlier, and demanded the advance back. To get out of debt and save his future, Obama had to do something.
Donald Trump knows just what that something was, and he has said so in public. At the time, I was paying close attention. In the spring of 2011, I received a call from a fellow named Michael Cohen. I did not recognize the name, nor did I know how Cohen got my cell number. He explained that he was Trump's attorney, and I had heard of Trump. Cohen wanted to know what I knew about Barack Obama's origins.
I told Cohen I had followed the birth certificate issue only from a distance and knew no more than anyone else. I recommended instead that Trump focus on the authorship issue. Obama claimed to have written his acclaimed memoir, Dreams from My Father, by himself. He was lying. He definitely had help, much of it from Bill Ayers. This I deduced from my literary forensic work in the summer and fall of 2008. In fact, my first serious article on the same was published in the American Thinker.
Mainstream biographer Christopher Andersen confirmed Ayers's involvement in his Obama-friendly 2009 book, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage. Andersen's sources in Obama's Hyde Park neighborhood told him that Obama found himself deeply in debt and "hopelessly blocked." At "Michelle's urging," Obama "sought advice from his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers."
What attracted the Obamas, according to Andersen's sources, were "Ayers's proven abilities as a writer" as evident in his 1993 book To Teach. Ayers himself took credit for Dreams on multiple occasions, usually, but not always, with a wink and a nod.
My conversation with Cohen reaffirmed that Trump was the un-Obama, a creature of his own creation: bold, bombastic, and as subtle as a truck bomb. Unlike most on the right, Trump refused to be intimidated. He was eager and ready to vet the nation's first unvetted president. On April 15, 2011, Sean Hannity of Fox News gave him the opportunity.
"I heard he had terrible marks, and he ends up in Harvard," said Trump in his inimitably artless style. "He wrote a book that was better than Ernest Hemingway, but the second book was written by an average person."
"You suspect Bill Ayers?" said Hannity.
"I said, Bill Ayers wrote the book," Trump replied.
Trump had made the claim earlier in a public forum. He doubled down on Hannity's show. For all the outrage about Trump's questioning of Obama's birth certificate, the mainstream media were noticeably silent about Trump's much more tangible challenge to Obama's literary skills. To this day, there has been negligible pushback to Trump's remarks about Dreams.
In the New York Times article cited above, for instance, Glenn Thrush and Elaina Plott had the opportunity to tie Trump's presumed "fixation" with Obama to the authorship issue, given their reporting on Obama's literary anguish. Instead, they tied the fixation to "a bizarre personal animus and the politics of racial backlash exemplified by the birther lie."
Although the left won't let the birther business die, if anyone told a "birther lie," it was Obama. In 1991, likely to position himself as more exotic than a garden-variety African-American, Obama claimed in a promotional brochure put out by literary agency Acton & Dystel that he "was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."
Despite media assertions otherwise, Trump, like most serious people labeled "birther," never claimed that Obama was born in Kenya. In September 2016, CNN ran an article headlined "14 of Trump's most outrageous birther claims." On that same September day, ABC News headlined a story "67 Times Donald Trump Tweeted About the 'Birther' Movement." Despite their best efforts, neither of these news services found a quote from Trump claiming that Obama was born in Kenya. To be sure, Trump questioned the legitimacy of the birth certificate and speculated on why Obama had taken such pains to keep it under wraps, but he never went beyond speculation.
As Christopher Andersen discovered, the media wanted nothing to do with the idea that Ayers was Obama's muse, no matter who made the claim. At least fifty publications reviewed his book, and not a one mentioned the six pages he spent on the book's most newsworthy revelation.
Relentless Obama-defender Chris Matthews interviewed Andersen on MSNBC's Hardball and did not address the authorship issue. Said Matthews at the end of the interview, "You're amazing, successful guy. You have a winning streak here." If Matthews did not read the book, which is likely, someone on his staff surely must have but chose not to notice the damning Ayers revelation.
To accuse Obama of being a literary fraud opens one up to the charge of racism. This I can verify from experience. There is only one reason, then, that the mainstream media passed on the opportunity to call out Trump: the deep-seated fear that he was right.
Jack Cashill's newest book, Unmasking Obama, is available for pre-order at Amazon.