Appearance Alert!
MRC Research Director Rich Noyes on Fox Business Network at 5:55 p.m. ET

Times Overdoes It on Huckabee-Obama 'Kenya' Flap, Truncates Quote

Reporter Michael Shear's initial story on the Obama-was-raised-in-Kenya controversy, "Huckabee Questions Obama's Birth Certificate," becomes the more accurate "Huckabee Talks, Incorrectly, Of Obama's Childhood" in print. But Shear is still leaving out context.
Republican Mike Huckabee's radio slip on Monday, in which he mistakenly said President Obama had been raised in Kenya, has raised a lot of fuss on the left-wing blogosphere and MSNBC. On Tuesday afternoon, Times political blog reporter Michael Shear posted a story under the overstated headline "Huckabee Questions Obama's Birth Certificate." A shorter version made it into Wednesday's print Times under a milder and more accurate headline, "Huckabee Talks, Incorrectly, Of Obama's Childhood."

But Shear's print story retained the same misleading truncation of quotes as his original online piece, making Huckabee appear more skeptical of Obama's birthplace that he actually is. Here's Shear's version of the radio exchange as it appeared in Wednesday's paper:

Mike Huckabee, the Republican former governor of Arkansas and a possible presidential candidate in 2012, said Monday that he would "love to know more" about where President Obama was born and claimed - falsely - that Mr. Obama was raised in Kenya.

The comments were prompted by a radio host, Steve Malzberg, who asked Mr. Huckabee: "How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth certificate - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate?"

Mr. Huckabee said: "I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough."
Obama was not raised in Kenya but did spend several years as a youth in Indonesia. Huckabee says he mis-spoke.

But Shear left out the end of Malzberg's actual harangue (in bold below), which shows that Huckabee's comment about wishing "to know more" did not immediately follow Malzberg's question about where Obama was born. Here's the full exchange:

MALZBERG: One more for you, well, two more, the second one will be short. Don't you think it's fair also to ask him - I know your stance on this - How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate? It's one thing to say, I've - you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?

HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust [of Winston Churchill] back to the Brits -

Shear himself admitted (in his very last paragraph) that "Huckabee has previously dismissed questions about the authenticity of Mr. Obama's birth records." So why did his story (and the headline to the online version) imply otherwise?