Fake News: Obama Does NOT FINALLY Admit He Was Born in Kenya, Should Never Have Been President

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: Obama Does NOT FINALLY Admit He Was Born in Kenya, Should Never Have Been President

Did former President Barack Obama "finally" admit that he was born in Kenya and that he should never have been the U.S. president? No, that's not true: Obama has always maintained that he was born in Hawaii and a 2019 report that he "finally" admitted he was born in Kenya is based on a mistake made by PR agency assistant when she prepared a bio for the agencies client list in the 1990s.

The story originated from an article (archived here) where it was published on March 30, 2019 under the title "Obama FINALLY Admits He Was Born in Kenya, Should Never Have Been President". It opened:

Forget about Obama's birth certificate.

The 44th president himself for years listed Kenya as his place of birth, right up until the time he decided to make a run for the White House.

In 1995, Obama was beginning his political career with a run for the Illinois State Senate and sought to give himself a boost by publishing a memoir about growing up as a child of mixed race.

His literary agent was Dystel & Goderich (today Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC). If you do an Internet Archive: Wayback Machine search for the cached versions of the Dystel & Goderich website, you find that as recently as April 3, 2007, the birthplace listed for Obama in connection with his memoir, Dreams From My Father, is KENYA!

Yes, it is true that the Dystel agency's client list -- as seen in the Wayback Machine's archive of the website from decades earlier -- does state:

BARACK OBAMA was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. He was born in Kenya to an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, and was raised in Indonesia, Hawaii, and Chicago. His first book is DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: A STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE.

But this was not written by Obama, and it is not "finally" an admission he was born in Kenya. It is an error made by Miriam Goderich, who was an assistant at the agency. Goderich told Yahoo News in a 2012 email:

"This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me -- an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more."

Yahoo News contacted Goderich in response to an exclusive report by Brietbart.com in 2012 in which they revealed the early bio of Obama. The website published a 1991 client brochure from the agency, which as the time was promoting "Obama's anticipated first book, Journeys in Black and White - which Obama abandoned, later publishing Dreams from My Father instead."

False reporting about admissions or document releases concerning Obama's birthplace are frequently published. Just a month earlier, Lead Stories debunked a claim that Kenyan authorities had released Obama's "real birth certificate."

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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