The Corner

White House Witchcraft or Internet Hoax?

The Times of London is running with this sensational report on its comment webpage, under the headline “The Worst Obama Slur Yet“:

There have been some spectacular Obama slurs in recent weeks. Truly, magnificently deadful. But yesterday, Townhall.com totally wiped the floor with them.

In an article that seems currently to be inaccessible, it was claimed that:

The Obama White House is abuzz with talk of witchcraft by first grandmother, 72-year-old Marian Robinson, who lives in the White House residence.

A close friend of Michelle Obama says the president is furious at his mother-in-law after learning that she was practicing Santeria, an African spirit cult, in the White House.

Yup. That’s right. Witchcraft in the White House.

The trouble is that the link goes to a section of Townhall.com where anyone can create their own blog. It’s since been taken down by Townhall.com (cached version here, though who knows for how long). As far as I can tell, prior to this post there’s no record of the supposed author, Kristen Atkinson, writing anything in conjunction with Obama. After Wonkette linked to the story, Kristen Atkinson allegedly sent Wonkette a nutty and paranoid email that seems to almost perfectly conform with every trope currently assigned to “right-wing extremists.”

I don’t believe crazy is a partisan issue, so until I have more information I’ll allow for the possibility this could be genuine. I do think it’s pretty obvious the circumstances under which this appeared should set off alarm bells regarding whether or not this could be a hoax. And without question, this is mighty thin gruel to have a couple of hundred Google hits and be on the website of a serious newspaper as evidence that the opposition to the president’s agenda is somehow deranged.

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