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Politics & Policy

'New York Post' Runs Boldest Anti-Obama Ad Yet

Undated photo of Frank Marshall Davis

Undated photo of Frank Marshall Davis

Even casual readers of the New York Post will find it hard to miss the full-page ad immediately following the paper’s must-read gossip section, Page Six, that claims President Obama’s biological father is not Barack Hussein Obama Sr., but rather poet and labor activist Frank Marshall Davis. Or as the ad puts it, “Communist Party Propagandist Frank Marshall Davis.” The ad, headlined “Obama’s Big Lie Revealed,” is a promotion for a DVD titled Dreams from My Real Father, which is billed as “Amazon’s #1 documentary.”

The “Dreams from My Real Father” ad in the “New York Post”The “Dreams from My Real Father” ad in the “New York Post”

The ad comes as Obama’s presidential campaign is polling ahead of Mitt Romney’s following last week’s Democratic National Convention. Though the documentary was released earlier this year, mainstream publications have largely ignored the film and its claims. The majority of press mentions on the film’s site link to, which calls itself “America’s Independent News Network.”

The top story on right now strikes a triumphant tone as it explains how—after being rejected by the New York Times, among other publications—director Joel Gilbert personally showed up at the New York Post’s offices and convinced the right-leaning paper to run the ad. The story is titled “New York Post Ad Exposes Obama’s Real Father.” So apparently ads are news sources now. Then again, this comes from a site that considers Rush Limbaugh’s every pronouncement newsworthy, and gives bylines to Jerome Corsi, an outspoken birther who led the charge in the Swift Boat smearing of John Kerry in 2004.

The ad’s one irrefutable claim is that the DVD is topping Amazon’s documentary sales. With few exceptions, reviewers are giving it five stars and gushing reviews. They give less credence to some of Gilbert’s other films, including Elvis Found Alive and Paul McCartney Really Is Dead.

Frank Marshall Davis moved to Honolulu in 1948 and became friends with Obama’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham. In his bestselling 1995 memoir, Obama identifies him only as “Frank.” Understandably, the Obama campaign will not dignify the ad with a response.

It’s difficult to square Gilbert’s claim that Obama is Davis’s Hawaii-born love child with the equally preposterous but resilient theories from the uninformed right that Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya. The only “evidence” the ad provides is a pair of side-by-side photos of Obama and Davis, who bear no resemblance to each other aside from the fact that both men are black and, in the photos, are facing the same direction.

Rubinstein Communications, which handles the Post’s media relations, declined to comment.

Sancton is editor of Bloomberg Businessweek's Etc. section.

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