I have to admit -- my first thought this morning when Fox & Friends hosted an apparent birther who pushed the B.S. claim that President Obama was born in Kenya was that they forgot to vet their guests again. After all, they do have a history of questionable guests whose crazy even they seemed unprepared for. But, the more I thought about it, the less inclined I was to give them the benefit of the doubt.
This is the show that, in 2007, led Fox News' charge in pushing the bogus charge that Obama was secretly a Muslim and worked overtime to keep that story alive. They smeared Obama as having been educated in a “madrassa”; accused him of neglecting the fight against terrorism; and repeatedly suggested Obama and his administration are more sympathetic to terrorists than concerned with preventing terrorist attacks. They also just love stories that paint Obama as a mysterious outsider who may secretly be Muslim and who hates America. So, is it really that surprising that they would host a guy to attack the president as a “ridiculous creature” who may have been born in Kenya? Sadly no.
As a refresher, the claim that Obama was born in Kenya has been floating around the right-wing blogosphere for some time. Variations of this claim have included that there was a Kenyan birth certificate which proved that Obama was born there and that Obama's Kenyan step-grandmother has admitted that Obama was born in that country. Of course, the Kenyan birth certificate circulating around right-wing crazy land was a fake, and the full interview where Obama's stepgrandmother supposedly claimed that he was born in Kenya shows that she clearly and repeatedly said Obama was born in Hawaii.
Yet, the Fox & Friends hosts didn't bat an eye when former Republican Congressman and current Newsmax contributor John LeBoutillier pushed this nonsense.
LeBoutillier was on to promote his self-published “fiction” story about CIA operatives traveling the world discovering secrets about Obama. Fox & Friends took pains to suggest that LeBoutillier's “fiction” novel may not be entirely so, with Steve Doocy introducing LeBoutillier by saying of his book, “it's fiction, but a lot of the stuff sounds like it really happened” and a chyron airing throughout the segment asking, “Fact of Fiction? 'Obama Identity' a fictional tale of reality.”
The ensuing interview made clear that LeBoutillier actually seems to believe the “fiction” in his story, saying that when he and co-author Ed Klein “wrote this we used real things in a book of fiction, so the title is The Obama Identity: A Novel, or is it? Because there's so much real stuff in this book.” As an example, he said, “Obama's grandmother, living in Kenya, we have her in the book, it's fiction, but in reality she has claimed consistently that he was born in Mombasa, Kenya. She said this, adamantly, on the record. So we used that in the book.” Response from the Fox & Friends crew? “I'm sure that will resonate well with everybody...it usually goes over quite well,” said Brian Kilmeade. That's it. There was no effort to push back on this absurdity; instead the entire response was a wink and a nudge and a comment about how LeBoutillier's utter lie isn't going to “go over quite well” with the White House.