Washington Babylon — June 2, 2008, 1:55 pm

Michelle Obama and Larry Johnson: Seeing is Believing

The rumor sweeping the Internet, which I’m sure you’ve heard by now, is that there’s an explosive tape of Michelle Obama ranting about “whitey.” The rumor is being spread most aggressively by Larry Johnson, the former intelligence official who previously “broke” the story that Karl Rove was about to be indicted over the Valerie Plame case. “I learned over the weekend why the Republicans who have seen the tape of Michelle Obama ranting about ‘whitey describe it as ‘STUNNING,’ he writes. “I have not seen it but I have heard 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!!”

Johnson was long well regarded in liberal circles, because lefties just can’t resist a “former intelligence official” that talks trash about the Bush Administration. But he never had any credibility, even when what he said was true. Now Johnson is in the tank for Hillary Clinton and he’s been posting some truly idiotic things at his website–like an item with the headline “Obama’s Chavez Communist Hezbollah Hamas Problem.” I’ve seen liberal, pro-Obama bloggers wonder, “What happened?” to Johnson, but that’s only because they were too credulous about him to begin with.

Reason has a great roundup about the Michelle Obama story:

There’s always been something “off” about this rumor. In the year 2008, when videos of Jeremiah Wright sermons and Mitt Romney whoppers were uploaded to YouTube regularly, and with ease, who was still hoarding videotapes? And the rumor has been twisted and mangled as different people have spread it.

Last week, I learned of a Clinton donor who’d seen the video on an iPhone and was trying to push it onto liberal media. But iPhones can only display video on YouTube, and the video’s not on YouTube. Whatever! Last night, I learned that the same donor had actually seen a DVD of the “whitey” speech, and that Louis Farrakhan appeared in it. This was around the time that Johnson poured gasoline on the story by promising an “explosive” break in the story.

Could the Michelle Obama videotape exist? Anything is possible, and there’s another rumor going around that a major TV network has the tape. But when Larry Johnson is the source–based on talking to five people who supposedly know people who have seen the videotape–only seeing is believing.

Update: A reader notes, “A minor technical issue – Reason mag is only partly correct; actually, it is possible to watch .mp4 files on an iPhone, so the rumor may actually be true. (You can access YouTube directly from an iPhone. To view other video sources, you must upload the file to your iPhone from your computer.) But the whole thing sounds preposterous. Last desperate attempt by Billary?”

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

Commentary November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

Shaky Foundations

The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2016

Innocents

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quiet Car

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Psychedelic Trap

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Hamilton Cult

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Held Back

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Division Street

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Hamilton Cult·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The past is complicated, and explaining it is not just a trick, but a gamble."
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell
Article
Division Street·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Perfectly sane people lose access to housing every day, though the resultant ordeal may undermine some of that sanity, as it might yours and mine."
Photograph © Robert Gumpert
Article
Held Back·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"'We don’t know where the money went!' a woman cried out. 'They looted it! They stole our money!'"
Artwork by Mischelle Moy
Article
The Quiet Car·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

Photograph by Joshua Lutz
Article
Innocents·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion."
Photograph © Nadia Shira Cohen

Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:

16

Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.

An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today