Yahoo! News made a rather large mistake on Friday when a reporter erroneously claimed President Obama was born in Kenya. The article was about the president’s upcoming trip to Africa.
In the article, the reporter, Rachel Rose Hartman, wrote:
“President Barack Obama makes the first extended trip to Africa of his presidency next week — but he won’t be stopping in the country of his birth.”
Rumors that Obama was secretly born in Kenya have dogged him his entire political career. Seeking to put claims of so-called birthers to rest, the US president released his long-form birth certificate in 2011.
Despite this, some still claim Obama was not actually born in Hawaii. The Yahoo! News article certainly created some buzz and editors quickly revised it, saying instead that Kenya is Obama’s “ancestral homeland.” But the change, like many other mistakes in the media, politics, and celebrity news, wasn’t made fast enough.
Several screenshots showing the original statement have been posted online and Yahoo! has declined to comment on the situation, except to issue the following correction, “Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the president’s birthplace.”
The article claiming Obama was born in Kenya talked about the costs of the president’s trip to Africa. He is taking wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia along with him on the weeklong trip, which starts next week and goes until July 3.
The Africa trip is meant to help “growing opportunities [in the continent] for increased trade and investment” by US businesses. The trip is also meant to help promote democracy.
While Yahoo! News was quick to correct the error, several publications questioned how the error made it to publication in the first place, given that Hartman is a White House reporter for the publication. A spokesperson for the online news site said there will be no comment on the article, aside from the correction.
What action do you think Yahoo! News should take over the article’s claim that President Obama was born in Kenya?