It’s been a year for political rumors and paranoia. In Politico, Ben Smith rounds up some of the salacious tidbits readers keep haranguing the press to cover.
- Obama’s not a citizen. At first, this rumor focused on having a parent born elsewhere, then moved on to suggesting his birth certificate was hidden or forged.
- John McCain used a particularly misogynist slur against his wife in 1992. No reporters have found evidence to replicate this story, reported by a Democratic operative.
- Michelle Obama is on tape ranting about white people. One rumor said she’d been recorded using the word “whitey,” another said she’d talked about “white racists.” Neither was true.
- McCain is responsible for the 1967 fire on the US Forrestal that killed 134 sailors. A liberal site claimed that a risky maneuver by McCain could have started the fire. FactCheck.org says otherwise.
- Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga is Obama’s cousin. The evidence? An email, purportedly from Obama to Odinga, which “clearly was not written by a native English speaker.”
- McCain heaped abuse on fellow vacationers in Fiji and forced them to listen to him read aloud from Faulkner. It's been discredited, too. “Faulkner was a huge problem," said Alexander Cockburn. "Hemingway, yes. But would he really read Faulkner?"