By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Obama and Selma revisited

Several Media Nation readers (see this, this and this) believe I misread the New York Times account of Barack Obama’s speech in Selma, Ala. In my original item, I somehow got it in my head that the Times had reported Obama was claiming his parents had actually met at the famed Selma civil-rights protest in 1965 — something he quite clearly did not do.

But after rereading the story, I now see that’s not what the Times was reporting, and I’m not sure how to explain my muddleheadedness other than to cite misfiring synapses and the phases of the moon.

In fact, Obama was born in 1961. So when he suggested that Selma inspired his mother, a white woman from Kansas, and his father, a black man from Kenya, to marry, he was asserting an impossibility.

I stand by what I said about the Times’ coverage of Hillary Clinton’s speech.

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  1. Mark

    Dan, you are still batting 500 in my eyes 🙂

  2. severus

    You may have been wrong in the details, but not in the gravamen.The Times insinuated Obama lied about a connection to Selma. As his words are reported, he did not.

  3. Anonymous

    Regarding Obama, as far as I’m concerned, without seeing a transcript, I’d chalk this up to the same media mis-reporting as their Al Gore’s “I invented the internet” dust-up–which he obviously didn’t say.Sorry, Dan, the US media–especially the print media–have been shown to be so unreliable that it’s difficult to believe what they print.The problem isn’t so bad with the broadcast media, if only because they usually play recordings.–raj

  4. Anonymous

    Severus: Yes, he did. He said he was a product of Selma – that he might not be here if not for that seminal event – but it’s simply not true as he was born four years beforehand. Is it a huge deal? No, not really. But it’s still BS.

  5. Anonymous

    No, anonymous, when he said he might not be here, he was not referring to his birth, but to the fact that, without Selma, he would not have become a senator or a serious presidential candidate.

  6. Stinkfinger Willie

    He says he owed his “existence”, as most Black Americans do, to the actvism that took place in Selma.There was no mention of his parents getting together at the march and conceiving him there. Same ole’ distortions, lies, and misrepresentations of facts from the Hillary camp.

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