Drudge Promotes Racially Inflammatory Smear Of Obama's Father

Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY

The Daily Mail has published a misleading smear of President Obama's father, which is being promoted by the Drudge Report:

The April 17 story from the Daily Mail is headlined "Revealed: The official fears US and Britain shared about over President Obama's 'anti-American' and 'anti-white' father":

The top of the story references birther conspiracy theories about President Obama, and it claims that Obama's father was "categorised with others as 'anti-American and anti-white' when he moved to the United States in 1959."

The Mail cites documents to support this assertion, but the article admits that the documents don't actually mention Obama's father: "Mr Obama Snr, who died in 1982, is not singled out for concern in any of the documents."

The first three sentences of the story read:

In his three years as U.S. president, Barack Obama has been dogged by claims he is not patriotic enough.

Last year he even had to publish his birth certificate to silence doubters who suggested he was not born an American.

Now it emerges that similar fears were expressed about his father, who was categorised with others as 'anti-American and anti-white' when he moved to the United States in 1959.

The Mail then reveals the purported news hook: a "memo from a British diplomat in Washington to Whitehall [the British government] -- released today by the National Archives in West London":

Mr Obama Snr had grown up in Kenya under British rule and aroused the fears of both colonial officers and American officials when he won a chance to study in Hawaii. The officials felt Kenyan students were 'academically inferior' with a 'bad reputation' for turning anti-American.

A memo from a British diplomat in Washington to Whitehall -- released today by the National Archives in West London -- sets out their concerns about the young Kenyans.

Dated September 1, 1959, it says: 'I have discussed with the State Department. They are as disturbed about these developments as we are. They point out that Kenya students have a bad reputation over here for falling into the wrong hands and for becoming both anti-American and anti-white.'

Lower in the story, the Mail quotes from a letter from the British Embassy that expresses fears about the organization that brought Obama's father to the U.S. for his education:

Mr Obama Snr was among 100 or so Kenyan students brought to America by the African American Students Foundation.

U.S. and British officials were deeply suspicious of this outfit, observing that the AASF -- though backed by singer Harry Belafonte and actor Sidney Poitier -- had links to a Kenyan nationalist leader.

'The motives behind this enterprise, therefore, seem more political than educational,' warned a letter from the British Embassy in Washington.

It added: 'The arrival here of these students, many of them of indifferent academic calibre and ill-prepared for the venture, is likely to give rise to difficult problems.'

The next sentence shows that the headline's characterization of Obama's father is false:

Mr Obama Snr, who died in 1982, is not singled out for concern in any of the documents.

So, no one actually labeled Obama's father "anti-white." That is a generalization about Kenyan students by a British diplomat -- not about Obama's father himself.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
Network/Outlet
The Drudge Report
Show/Publication
Daily Mail
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