The New York Times reported falsely on Monday that Breitbart News is a Birther website — a classic example of “fake news.”
The story, written by Joseph Goldstein, ran on the front page of the print edition of the newspaper and claimed: “[Stephen K.] Bannon was the chief executive of Breitbart, an online news organization that has fed the lie that Mr. Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim.”
That claim has never — not once — appeared at Breitbart. In fact, Andrew Breitbart, the company’s founder, went out of his way to contest the Birther conspiracy theory.
In 2012, Breitbart News broke the story that Barack Obama’s literary agent had published a promotional booklet in 1991 claiming that Obama had been “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” That story was preceded by the following preamble, written by Breitbart management (including, at the time, Stephen K. Bannon):
Note from Senior Management:
Andrew Breitbart was never a “Birther,” and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of “Birtherism.” In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.
Yet Andrew also believed that the complicit mainstream media had refused to examine President Obama’s ideological past, or the carefully crafted persona he and his advisers had constructed for him.
It is for that reason that we launched “The Vetting,” an ongoing series in which we explore the ideological background of President Obama (and other presidential candidates)–not to re-litigate 2008, but because ideas and actions have consequences.
It is also in that spirit that we discovered, and now present, the booklet described below–one that includes a marketing pitch for a forthcoming book by a then-young, otherwise unknown former president of the Harvard Law Review.
It is evidence–not of the President’s foreign origin, but that Barack Obama’s public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times.
Obama’s literary agent claimed to have made a “fact checking error.”
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2013, this author personally confronted Media Matters for America over its false claim that he, and Breitbart, were “Birthers” — when in fact Breitbart had specifically disputed the Birther conspiracy theory.
Goldstein’s story also attempts to link Bannon, and Breitbart, with racists and neo-Nazis. He reports, erroneously, that Breitbart is “the alt-right’s most prominent platform,” a claim that is demonstrably false, and that even the Anti-Defamation League has dropped.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.