It is now an article of faith amongst the right that President Obama’s background was not “vetted” by the mainstream media prior to his first run for the presidency in 2007. This is false.
In reality, the mainstream media exhaustively covered Barack Obama’s background. The mainstream press sent reporters to Chicago, Hawaii, and Jakarta, Indonesia in order to interview Obama’s friends, family, coworkers, teachers, and classmates. They visited Harvard and those involved with the Harvard Law Review, they probed his religious upbringing and his affiliation with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, they went to the apartment building where he grew up.
As conservatives complain that the media is probing the backgrounds of Republican presidential and congressional candidates too closely, it’s worth compiling and taking note of the exhaustive coverage of Obama, rather than the non-coverage that exists solely in their imaginations.
What this really is about is that many of the right’s myths about Obama failed to pan out or penetrate with the American people. Having heard tall tales about Obama being born overseas, a communist, a socialist, a black nationalist, a Muslim, and worse – the country overwhelmingly chose him to be its 44th president and did so again four years later. That’s why conservatives have kept telling themselves he wasn’t “vetted” and now largely appear to believe one of their own lies.
The Media Covered Obama’s Background
2007 5,000+ Word NY Times Magazine Piece Covered Obama’s Background. [NY Times, 11/4/07]
NY Times 2007 Profile Spoke To Obama Classmates, Teachers At Harvard Law. [NY Times, 1/28/07]
2007 NY Times Profile Covered Relationship Between Obama, Jeremiah Wright. [NY Times, 4/30/07]
The Media Covered Obama’s Life In Chicago
2,600 Word NY Times Report On Obama’s Unsuccessful Run Vs. Bobby Rush. [NY Times, 9/9/07]
The Media Covered Obama’s Life In Hawaii
In 2007, “More Than A Dozen” News Outlets Sent Reporters To Hawaii To Investigate Obama. “So far, the candidacy of the man known by his high school friends as Barry Obama has been good for the Hawaii economy and bad for newsroom budgets. Since January, more than a dozen news organizations from around the globe, from the BBC to TV Asahi to People magazine, have dispatched reporters to Oahu.” [Politico, 3/13/07]
NY Times Sent Reporter To Hawaii In 2007, Interviewed Obama Family, Friends. “But Mr. Obama’s family here in Hawaii saw a more complex young man, a person whose racial confusion and feelings of alienation were matched with equal parts ambition, disquietude and lofty notions about where his internal struggles might lead.” [NY Times, 3/17/07]
Associated Press Went To Hawaii, Interviewed Obama Friends In 2007. “At Punahou, Barack Obama was known primarily for his appealing personality, his honesty and his aggressive play on the basketball court. “It was a good melting pot. There were people from all different races,” said Eric Smith, a friend and classmate of Obama’s in the 1970s. “Everyone seemed to meld together.”” [Associated Press, 2/6/07]
Honolulu Star-Bulletin Interviewed Obama Classmates In 2007. [Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2/8/07]
The Media Covered Obama’s Life In Indonesia
Los Angeles Times Went To Jakarta In 2007 And Interviewed Obama Friends & Teachers About His Time In Indonesia. “JAKARTA, INDONESIA — As a boy in Indonesia, Barack Obama crisscrossed the religious divide. At the local primary school, he prayed in thanks to a Catholic saint. In the neighborhood mosque, he bowed to Allah.” [LA Times, 3/15/07]
CNN Went To Jakarta In 2007 To Investigate Obama. “But reporting by CNN in Jakarta, Indonesia and Washington, D.C., shows the allegations that Obama attended a madrassa to be false. CNN dispatched Senior International Correspondent John Vause to Jakarta to investigate.” [CNN, 1/23/07]
Chicago Tribune Went To Jakarata In 2007 To Investigate Obama, Interviewed “Classmates,Teachers, Neighbors And Friends.” “Interviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia, despite being listed as a Muslim on the registration form for the Catholic school, Strada Asisia, where he attended 1st through 3rd grades.” [Chicago Tribune, 3/25/07]