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?”

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