Oh No Onyango
One Onyango Obama was arrested in Framingham last Wednesday night for failure to stop at a stop sign when a police car was starting to cross the intersection. After he tested positive for blood alcohol, he was brought in and booked. According to the police log,
1105897 19:10 ARREST: OBAMA, ONYANGO 37 CHARLES ST FRAMINGHAM,
MADOB:06/03/44 Arrested@ WAVERLEY ST, CHICKEN BONE SALOON for
M/V-OUI-ALCOHOL M/V-TRAF/CNTRL/SIG/DEV/RMKS M/V-OP
ENDANG/NEG/RECK/RACE Officer: KRISHTAL, GONCALVES
The next Monday, the Boston Globe reported:
Onyango Obama, 67, of Framingham, the half-brother of the president’s late father, was arrested Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at the corner of Waverly and South streets, said Middlesex district attorney’s spokeswoman Cara O’Brien.
When the elder Obama was asked if he wanted to make a phone call to arrange for bail, he said,“I think I will call the White House,” according to the police report.
The Globe seems to have picked up the story from the MetroWest Daily News, which first ran it last Friday as Cops: Illegal immigrant drove drunk in Framingham. It did not mention any connection to the President at that time. Nevertheless, 99% of the comments following that article made the connection with extreme prejudice. A few readers even praised the paper for having the courage to use "illegal immigrant" in a headline. You can tell what's coming...
Quick on the uptake, the Washington Times spun the story:
The Australian is reporting that Onyango Obama has retained Cleveland lawyer Margaret Wong. This is the same immigration attorney who successfully represented Mr. Obama's sister Zeituni, when she managed to avoid deportation to Kenya. Mr. Obama pleaded not guilty at his remand hearing.
Note that The Australian is a Rupert Murdoch operation and the Washington Times is a Sun Yung Moon operation. All these sources used some of the same sentences.
The readership of the Times is pretty out there. Here’s a not-atypical response to the article:
Stuka87 24 comments
The Uncle, the Aunt, what difference does it make.
They are both here, illegally, unproductive and sucking off the American entitlement teet.
This is exactly why I stand little chance of seeing the Social Security benefits I have worked an entire lifetime to get.
Yup, the media and much of the public is lapping this up. Deplore as you will, a substantial number of Americans will revel in this incident. Some of them, including most GOP strategists, will do whatever they can to ramp up the number of news cycles that exploit this story. And they will probably succeed.
ICE froze Uncle Onyango's release on bail because it's alleged that he may not be in the country legally. I have to credit them (whether prodded by the White House or not) for stepping in to prevent an even bigger PR disaster for the President, but it will still be a useless distraction.
News is a virus. It’s around and inside us all the time. But we only fall victim to news that escapes our defenses and fills a void. The Uncle Obama story fills voids of resentment in susceptible people. If there weren’t such people, the story would peter out soon. Unfortunately it won’t, thanks to the blogosphere and the media, which understand what grabs eyeballs, especially ones disconnected from brains.
Maybe the best we can do is to tell news organizations that we don't consider this important news, under no circumstances should they label it UncleGate, and for them to keep reporting on it will waste precious institutional resources and their audience’s valued time. We already have organizations like FAIR that will keep their eyes on the ball, so let’s do our part and bring the ball to rest.
8/31/2011 1700 EDT: Google search for [onyango obama] yields about 225,000 hits
8/31/2011 1725 EDT: The Cited Boston Globe article (URL via Google search) remains online, but searching for it directly at the Globe site returns no hits for it. What does that mean?
9/2/2011 1740 EDT: Google search for [onyango obama] yields about 598,000 hits
- No special treatment for uncle, Obama says - Boston Globe
- No Special Treatment for Obama's Uncle - Wall Street Journal (blog)
- President's Illegal-Alien Uncle Used False Documents to Evade ... - New American
- Onyango Obama Booking Report - Fox News
9/5/2011 1740 EDT: Google search for [onyango obama] yields about 612,000 hits. Slowing down.
9/8/2011 1235 EDT: Google search for [onyango obama] yields about 1,030,000 hits. Picking up.