It is tempting to fault Republican House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor for their squirrely responses to questions about President Obama’s birth certificate, but the real fault lies elsewhere.
Those who should have been urging the pair to fight hard had long since gone soft. I refer here to the conservative media outlets in Washington, D.C., or New York with the resources and personnel to create real news.
They almost never do. Instead, they content themselves with commenting on the news that the mainstream media create. Too often, as in the case of Obama’s apocryphal origins story, they turn this commentary on those who would challenge mainstream orthodoxy.
Without intending to perhaps, these “respectable” conservatives have created a firewall around the White House and serve as something of a Republican Guard for its chief inhabitant.
I have seen this up close. Although I could cite any number of offenders, I will focus on one stalwart among Obama’s Republican Guard, the Weekly Standard.
Launched in 1995 under the aegis of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Weekly Standard is arguably America’s best-written conservative publication. I still subscribe.
In or about 1999, I started writing the occasional freelance article for the magazine. At the time, I felt honored to have my articles accepted.
Shortly afterward, I happened to meet Jim and Elizabeth Sanders, who, incredibly, had been arrested and convicted of conspiracy for Jim’s reporting on the TWA Flight 800 crash in July 1996.
Only after a thorough examination of the evidence did I agree to help Jim produce a documentary on the subject. When completed, I sent a copy of “Silenced” to the managing editor of the Weekly Standard for review.
When I did not hear back from her, I called. She told me that she had watched the documentary halfway through before deciding that the Weekly Standard had no interest.
Given that the fate of TWA 800 was the great untold story of our time, I suggested – nicely – that perhaps she might want to watch “Silenced” all the way through. After that, she ceased to return my phone calls, let alone assign me articles.
When our book, “First Strike,” came out in 2003, I made the rounds in D.C., trying to drum up interest in the fate of TWA Flight 800.
If reported in depth, the story would have ended the careers of Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. Although I secured meetings at the Washington Post, New York Times and Newsweek and had a few phone conversations with Bob Woodward, the Republican Guard showed zero interest.
Lacking support from the conservative media, congressional Republicans steered clear, and for understandable ideological reasons the mainstream media let the story of TWA Flight 800 die.
I followed “First Strike” with “Ron Brown’s Body,” a book on the unseemly life and unexplained 1996 death of Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. As in “First Strike,” I stuck to the facts and let the reader make up his own mind.
No matter. The word I got from the Republican Guard was that coming from Kansas City and writing for a publication like WorldNetDaily, I was considered a “loose cannon” and could be safely ignored.
In September 2008, I wrote a series of articles for WND titled “Did Bill Ayers Write Dreams from My Father?” Soon after, Rush Limbaugh began talking on air about my thesis – namely that terrorist Ayers had helped Barack Obama with his acclaimed memoir.
About this time, I began to receive helpful e-mails from readers all over the world. The best came from a fellow named Ryan Geiser. His observations were sharp, literate and on the money.
When I asked Geiser if I could share his credentials with the audience, he suggested that critics would not be impressed. As he explained, he owns and operates a small construction company in Kearney, Neb.
In the course of writing my forthcoming book, “Deconstructing Obama,” I asked Geiser what prompted him to get involved. As he explained, when he read my first article on WND, he checked Ayers’s vitae, saw that he had written other books and ordered them through Amazon.
“I wanted to see if there is any truth to what you were saying,” he told me. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had doing research.”
What made it fun is that virtually every distinctive word or story he found in one of Ayers’s books he could find a parallel for in “Dreams.”
My thesis involved no eyewitnesses or radar data or ballistics tests. No reporter would have to leave his or her desk, but again the Republican Guard could not be bothered to look.
The literary editor of the Weekly Standard, Philip Terzian, responded to an article I had submitted in October 2008 thusly: “An interesting piece, but I’m rather oversubscribed at the moment, the length is considerable, and cutting would not do it justice.”
A Weekly Standard cover that read “Who wrote ‘Dreams from My Father’?” could have shaken up the election, maybe even turned it.
As Obama biographer David Remnick would later say of my thesis, “[I]f ever proved true, or believed to be true among enough voters, it could have been the end of [Obama’s] candidacy.”
Yet not a single member of the Republican Guard bothered to do what Ryan Geiser was routinely doing after a busy day framing and drywalling – namely, reviewing the relevant books. It’s that simple.
When celebrity journalist Christopher Andersen confirmed my thesis in his 2009 book, “Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage,” WND hired a publicist to get the story out. Again, no one in the Republican Guard wanted to hear it.
They still don’t. If you know the literary editor of the Weekly Standard, could you please ask him to return my phone calls?
Whether Obama wrote his own books and whether the story he tells is true will matter more in 2012 than anything else Mr. Terzian might currently be doodling with.