Questions about President Obama’s birth just will not die. The newest salvo: a literary agency’s promotional booklet that purports Obama was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

Breitbart.com, a conservative blog site created by former controversial blogger Andrew Breitbart, reported last Friday that it had obtained the booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel.

The agency was allegedly promoting Obama’s anticipated first book, Journeys in Black and White, which was ultimately scrapped.

Obama’s biography, one among 89 other authors’, begins, “Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii,” according to the copy of the booklet published on the website.

Jay Acton, one of the primaries of the now-defunct agency, confirmed details about the 36-page brochure that celebrated the 15th anniversary of Acton & Dystel, which was founded in 1976, the website alleges.

Acton also said, however, that among the authors listed—named clients included politicians such as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader; sports legends, such as Joe Montana and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; and entertainers such as early-1990s ‘boy band’ pop sensation New Kids On the Block—“almost nobody” wrote their own biography.

Still, the column posits, while the “errant” biography “does not contradict the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate” it does “fit a pattern in which Obama—or the people representing and supporting him—manipulate his public persona.”

The article is being touted as another weapon in the “birther” arsenal. “Birthers” are people who question the authenticity of Obama’s claim as a U.S.-born citizen and thus his eligibility to be president.

Right-wing websites such as WorldNewsDaily (www.wnd.com), which promotes the birther issue, ran with the news and questioned why mainstream media outlets were suppressing the story.

Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs, on Friday night’s edition of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” suggested there was some sort of “taboo” related to stories about Obama’s birth and/or eligibility. “Why aren’t the Republicans talking about what was all over Drudge which is from 1991 to 2007, a publisher’s document talking about him being born in Kenya? I mean, there’s like there’s a taboo about it. How did this wall come up around that?” he asked a guest. He later added, “I don’t know where the national media was in 2008. I don’t know where it is now.”

AttackWatch.com, a site created by Obama’s campaign to counter attacks against the president, called the Breitbart report “just one more in the sites’ series of manufactured attacks,” and accused the site’s bloggers of ignoring “the very clear facts that belie their claim.”

“The literary agent who put together the 1991 pamphlet in question noted that, ‘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,’ the mistake in the pamphlet was the result of ‘nothing more than a fact checking error’ by the agent,” AttackWatch purports.

It also refuted the report’s claim that the booklet was an “attempt to manipulate some carefully crafted persona,” since numerous news outlets had already reported the president as Hawaiian-born.

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO