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:

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

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $34.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2014

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quinoa Quarrel

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

You Had to Be There

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Study in Sherlock

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“In Thunupa’s footsteps grew a miraculous plant that could withstand drought, cold, and even salt, and still produce a nutritious grain.”
Photograph by Lisa M. Hamilton
Article
A Study in Sherlock·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is central to the pleasure of the Sherlock Holmes stories that they invite play, and that they were never meant to be taken seriously.”
Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele
Post
My Top 5 Metal Albums and Their Poetic Counterparts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“1. Death, The Sound of Perseverance (Nuclear Blast, 1998)”
Photograph (detail) by Peter Beste
Article
Found Money·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I have spent my entire adult existence in a recession. Like most people I talk to, I assume the forces that control the market are at best random and at worst rigged. The auction shows only confirm that suspicion.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Post
The School of Permanent Revolución·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The University of Venezuela has provided a consistent counterweight to governmental authority, but it has also reliably produced the elite of whatever group replaced the status quo.”
Photograph © Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez

Percentage of Americans who say they would not enjoy spending time with their own clone:

70

Astronomers recorded the most powerful pulse of radiation ever observed; the radiation was emitted from a pulsar 12,000 light-years from Earth and was “capable of totally vaporising and ionising all known materials, shredding them into hot plasma.”

Alberta dentist Michael Zuk, the owner of a molar that belonged to John Lennon, revealed that he hoped to clone a new Lennon and raise him as a son. “Hopefully keep him away from drugs,” said Zuk, “but, you know, guitar lessons wouldn’t hurt.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST