On Monday I blogged about the rumors of a video that shows Michelle Obama making hateful comments about "whitey." I'm now convinced that Larry Johnson, the blogger who's done the most to make the rumors public, is spreading misinformation. At the least, he's been unable to stick to his story.
Johnson starts getting attention for this on May 26, recounting intel from "someone in touch with a senior Republican."
I know for a fact that Barack and Michelle Obama would like the tape of her blasting “whitey” during a rant at Jeremiah Wright’s church to never see the light of day.
On the night of May 31, Johnson fires up the speculation by promising an update by 9 a.m. on June 2. "Now I know why people who have seen the videotape say it is stunning." The blogs start churning, and reporters fish around. On June 1, Roger Stone appears on Fox News and says he's heard rumors about a Michelle Obama tape. Gleefully, a NoQuarter blogger completes the Mobius strip and claims Stone has given Johnson "new credence."
A little before 8 a.m. on June 2, Johnson reveals what he learned from "five separate sources who have spoken directly with people who have seen the tape."
It features Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan. They are sitting on a panel at Jeremiah Wright’s Church when Michelle makes her intemperate remarks. Whoops!!
The bloggy frenzy increases, with a few possible "transcripts" of the speech making the rounds. Booman posts a theoretical transcript ("from what I understand") in which Obama says "why'd he" and it sounds like she's saying "whitey." Blogger MyTownTalks posts part of "an e-mail with part of the alleged speech," in which Obama says both "whitey" and "why'd he," and rants about "the white man" who "let Katrina happen."
Later in the day, Johnson gleefully updates:
Major Obama donors went to the campaign demanding explanations after the posting of my story on No Quarter about the contents of the videotape confirmed to me by several reliable sources, all Republicans with access to knowledge but who do not know each other. So the campaign created a would-be transcript of the video it says doesn’t exist. In the Obama campaign produced transcript Michelle says “why’d he” instead of “whitey.” Very clever. Then the campaign sent this transcript to key Obamaton bloggers to circulate. And the campaign sent it to the donors to prevent them from having a nervous breakdown.
On the morning of June 3, B-list Democratic pundit Bob Beckel goes on Fox News and speculates that "there might be a big shoe dropping on Michelle Obama tomorrow." Later that night, after all the polls are closed, SusanUnPC posts a photo of Michelle Obama at a June 28, 2004 luncheon from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition convention in Chicago, posing alongside Louis Farrakhan's wife. It kicks off another wave of speculation. On June 4, a blogger at "HillBuzz" posts a new explanation of what's on the tape and claims it was actually recorded at this luncheon.
For about 30 minutes, Michelle Obama launched into a rant about the evils of America, and how America is to blame for the problems of Africa. Michelle personally blamed President Clinton for the deaths of millions of Africans and said America is responsible for the genocide of the Tutsis and other ethnic groups. She then launched into an attack on "whitey", and talked about solutions to black on black crime in the realm of diverting those actions onto white America. Her rant was fueled by the crowd: they reacted strongly to what she said, so she got more passionate and enraged, and that's when she completely loses it and says things that have made the mouths drop of everyone who's seen this.
Louis Farrakhan isn't there, nor is Hurricane Katrina (which happened a year after this luncheon, of course) mentioned. Nonetheless, Johnson links the post as "BREAKING NEWS from Hillbuzz."
I am not trying to steal thunder from HillBuzz. That blogger is breaking important news.
National Review's Jim Geraghty finds the schedule of the Rainbow/PUSH event. First, the event was held at a Sheraton 14 miles away from Trinity United, yet Hillbuzz claims that Trinity United was selling a tape of this on the church web site. Second, Bill Clinton spoke at the conclusion of the conference, days after this event, yet Hillbuzz theorized that Obama was raging against Clinton. Third, Obama wasn't a featured speaker at the event: Rev. Jesse Jackson was. Michelle Obama was, with freed POW Shoshanna Johnson, a "special guest." There was no panel. It seems strange that the state senator's wife would give a 30-minute speech during a 2-hour luncheon at which she wasn't even the speaker. Later in the day, Johnson whines about the pro-Obama bloggers causing a "diversion."
I learned last week that Republicans have a tape of Michelle in a racist rant. She does so while part of a panel discussion. I do not know where this occurred.
That's my emphasis because two days earlier Johnson reported that Obama was sitting with Louis Farrakhan at Trinity United, and a week before that Johnson was already reporting that Obama's rant was at Trinity United. Johnson starts walking back the story by sputtering that "with or without said tape, we do know that the Obamas participated for almost 20 years in a church that espoused racism." But "without said tape," there's no story. Let's rewind it back. Johnson, on June 2:
It features Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan. They are sitting on a panel at Jeremiah Wright’s Church.
Johnson, two days later.
I do not know where this occurred.
In his peddling of this story, Johnson has altered his description of what was in the tape. I e-mailed Johnson, asked about the holes in the HillBuzz story, and called him a liar. He e-mailed me back.
You and Reason in the same sentence? Now that's funny. I don't recall soliciting an email from you so fuck off.
Until he comes out with a video tape that shows at least one of the many rumored "Michelle speeches," I think that's the last we need to hear from Larry Johnson.