A new “documentary” alleging that President Obama’s real father is actually communist writer Frank Marshall Davis was enthusiastically promoted by Fox News contributor and O’Reilly Factor guest host Monica Crowley on her radio show last month.
Dreams from My Real Father, which was written, directed, and produced by conservative filmmaker Joel Gilbert, largely bases its premise that Obama is a “red diaper baby” born to the communist Davis on Gilbert’s contention that the two men closely resemble one another (the authors of this story disagree). In an interview with Media Matters, the documentarian castigated both the mainstream and the conservative media for not following up on his work, which he compared to the Academy Award-winning Watergate thriller All The President’s Men.
Though it has not been picked up for theatrical release, the film recently made headlines due to a campaign to mail millions of copies of the DVD to voters in swing states. On October 23, The New York Times described the effort as “the latest example of how secretive forces outside the presidential campaigns can sweep into battleground states days before the election.”
Since its release in April, coverage of Dreams by conservative outlets has been relegated mostly to fringe websites like WorldNetDaily, where Jerome Corsi has written several articles promoting the film (when he hasn’t been busy alleging that Obama is also secretly gay and secretly Muslim). Gilbert told Media Matters that without conservative talk radio, “it would be very hard to get information out” on the film, and indeed his promotional tour has featured numerous appearances on lower-tier conservative radio shows and a handful of interviews with larger shows like that of Michael Savage, as well as conspiracy-friendly broadcasts like The Alex Jones Show.
But alongside outlets that promoted the film like birther website WorldNetDaily and radio hosts like “conspiracy king” Alex Jones stands Fox News’ Monica Crowley.
Last month, Crowley invited Gilbert onto her radio show for an extended interview. Previewing the segment, Crowley claimed that Obama “has been president for almost four years and we still don’t know who he is.” Blaming the “left-wing press” for their supposed lack of interest in vetting Obama, Crowley claimed that Gilbert has done “the actual investigative work into Obama and his background.”
Crowley made it clear that she had already seen the film before hosting Gilbert and over the course of the interview repeatedly plugged the film’s website, ObamasRealFather.com. Crowley labeled the film “just dynamite” and “very well done” and encouraged her listeners to “judge the story for themselves.”
According to Crowley, Gilbert laid out “some very powerful evidence” in the film.
But the “powerful evidence” used by Gilbert in the film consists almost entirely of wild speculation and almost unfathomable leaps of logic.
sked about this lack of concrete evidence during his lengthy talk with Media Matters last week, Gilbert explained, ”when you put all those things together, Frank’s history, the nude photography, the teeth, the look, we have a lot of evidence and extremely high likelihood that is Ann. And there was a potential, and again we don’t have the security cam footage, but potential for an intimate relationship.”
Gilbert is not the first to claim that Davis was Obama’s father; litigious anti-Semite Andy Martin offered a similar allegation in October 2008, based on what CNN described as “unnamed sources” and “without offering any proof.” Right-wing media figures have also postulated that Malcolm X, an unnamed “American black,” and an Indonesian man are Obama’s “real” father.
At one point in the film, Gilbert supports his claim that the elder Barack Obama is not the president’s father on the basis that the president’s “real” birth certificate lists his father as “unknown.” Gilbert fails to produce a copy of this alleged birth certificate or any evidence that it exists. When asked by Media Matters about the claim, Gilbert said a friend of Davis’ father told him about the document.
"Even Obama says in his book, he says things that allude to the fact that the Kenyan is not his father. He says when the Kenyan died I had no proof to show who my father really was to make a claim on the estate. He talks about his parents marriage, he says there was no record of a marriage license. There’s no wedding, there’s no cake. Over and over he’s dropping breadcrumbs and hints."
Obama’s “book is sketchy, there’s no fact about most things, whereas this film is probably 90 percent fact,” Gilbert concluded, “and the 10 percent that is not proven makes sense, because it’s a result of the facts that exist.”
Gilbert complained to Media Matters that major news outlets are ignoring his work because it is too explosive. “What I’ve found is nobody wants the scoop. In other words, they don’t want to be the first one to show something new, for fear of being under attack,” Gilbert claimed.
The documentarian also expressed frustration that conservative media have been reluctant to cover the film.
"Even conservative outlets like Newsmax.com, you’d think that they’d want to show something of an investigatory nature about Obama, I’ve worked with them for years," Gilbert said, later adding, "I was shocked in the land of the First Amendment, in the information age that the media was able to either be afraid and compromised or intentionally ignore something of great relevance to the American people."
Asked whether he thought the unwillingness of Fox News and other conservative outlets to cover the film might be a comment on the validity of its claims, Gilbert instead blamed Media Matters.
"I’ve been told that they’re afraid of people like you," he told us. "They’re afraid of Media Matters, they’re afraid of MSNBC attacking and ridiculing them for covering something negative about Obama. That seems to be the dynamic that’s been around for years.”