Here’s another little Internet-based rumor that’s been around for a while.Allegedly, an obscure, Norway-based organization, African Press International, received a phone call from Michelle Obama last month. According to API, the phone call featured an angry Mrs. Obama raging against all manner of perceived injustices--most significantly, those committed against her husband. API claimed that it had recorded the phone call, and, for hte past month, has promised to release it “any day now.” It hasn’t emerged so far.
After nearly a month of setting dates for, and then delaying, the tape's release, API announced that Fox News would air the recording on either Hannity & Colmes or On The Record with Greta Van Susteren. This news prompted Van Susteren to post on her blog:
THIS IS SIMPLY A LIE ABOUT ME AND I HAVE NO IDEA IF A LIE ABOUT FOX AND / OR SEAN HANNITY BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS STUFF BELOW IS. I HAVE NO IDEA WHO API (AFRICAN PRESS) IS…this is the first I have heard about them….BUT I DO WANT TO “KILL THE VIRUS” LYING ABOUT ME.
Van Susteren then quotes a website perpetuating API’s claims. Additionally, TV Newser offers this denial from Fox News on whether the network has anything to do with API:
An FNC spokesman tells TVNewser: "API's dubious claim that FOX News has purchased a supposed audio tape to be aired prior to Election Day is absolutely false."
Van Susteran’s and Fox’s public negation of any deal hasn’t stopped API. Its website declares that the group has a written agreement with Fox, and that Fox will air the tape prior to election day. Don’t count on this happening.
This seems little more than a regurgitation of the “Whitey tape” story: last summer, some wags began propelling a story that Michelle Obama was caught “railing at white people” on tape. Various websites proclaimed that the tape was going to be released “any minute now.” Several specific dates of release were announced, but the tape never materialized.
The similarities between the API rumors and the “Whitey” rumors are numerous (so numerous that Ben Smith at Politico seems to have confused the two). As such, it's rather surprising that the people who believed fully in the “Whitey” tape’s existence, and who were disappointed in its non-appearance, would have fallen for a similar, albeit incredibly unlikely, story just a month or so later.Added: Mr. Smith has amended his fine report on some of the campaign's ugliest rumors; he notes that there are two "phantom tapes."
By the way, in August, Paula (or Paulie) Abeles submitted her debunked allegations about Obama’s ties to Kenyan politics to the site, where they duly appeared as an API article under her byline (cached page here). That about spells out API’s credibility: if it were a legitimate news source, it would have researched Abeles’s claims prior to publishing them.Heads up: Mountain Sage (no Obama supporter) has researched and published online a plethora of material on API. Take a look.