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The "whitey tape" was an Internet hoax that circulated in 2008 during the run-up to that year's election in the United States. It referred to a nonexistent videotape which allegedly featured Michelle Obama giving a racially-charged speech in which she repeatedly used the word "whitey," hence the name.
The first appearances
The first references to the whitey tape appeared on the website No Quarter in June 2008. Site founder Larry Johnson claimed that the Republicans possessed a videotape of Michelle Obama, Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright riffing on "whitey." Although Johnson had not, himself, seen the tape, he had "heard from five separate sources who [had] spoken directly with people who have seen the tape" so you know he had his facts straight. The allegations caused a massive uproar throughout the PUMA community for several weeks, but after the tape failed to surface the whole brouhaha disappeared, seemingly for good.
Chief editor Korir
In October 2008, the whitey tape rumors surfaced again, spurred by the news that someone actually possessed the tape and was making a deal to release it. These claims were made by chief editor Korir of the news outlet African Press International (API). The story got deeper on October 15, when Korir alleged that he had received an emotional call directly from Mrs. Obama. Some of the doubting Thomases in the blogosphere were skeptical, noting that it was highly unlikely that a legitimate news organization would host a site on Wordpress and that all the news on API seemed to consist of stolen news releases from the actual news organization African Press Agency. But the blogosphere ignored this, and many of the more credulous right-wing bloggers awaited the tape's release. October came and went, and the tape failed to surface yet again. The API continued making excuses and pushing back the release date.
As this was going on, those nefarious bloggers continued to dig into the background of "chief editor Korir" and his totally authentic news organization. It turns out that the "chief editor" was, in fact, Sammy Korir, a Kenyan con artist who had fled that country ahead of an embezzlement charge.
Needless to say, the tape was never released, Obama was elected president and life went on as normal. Johnson never admitted that he was wrong, instead insisting that the McCain campaign had the tape and chose not to release it. "Chief Editor Korir" continued to push the tape until well after the election, with a small collection of idiots convinced that it could somehow derail Obama's confirmation.
John Hinderaker, writing at Powerlineblog.com, claimed that the rumor was "apparently started by the Clinton campaign".
- African Press Agency - The actual, authentic news agency.
- Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan Take On Whitey
- The original post has been scrubbed from the site, but references to it still exist. Here, for instance.
- API’s Chief Editor Sammy Korir’s shady past and present, scams and hoaxes
- Whitey Tape, API, Phil Berg, and Andy Martin
- A post on the tape from June '09
- Fighting "Smears", Selectively.