A few years back, during probably the lowest point int the Obama-Netanyahu relationship, there launched the tale of President Obama’s snub of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Among other alleged impolitenesses at a March 2010 summit, Obama left Bibi alone to dine with the wife and kids.
The National Jewish Democratic Council released at the time a set of talking points, coordinated with Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador, aimed at dismantling the meme.
It didn’t work; the meme persists. I kept hearing it throughout the Republican convention.
This is perhaps in part because some of the Oren-NJDC talking points addressed intent, which is never provable (or disprovable, for that matter), while acknowledging fact: For instance, there really was no photo-op. NJDC/Oren insists this was not extraordinary; others insist it is.
But, unsettlingly, even the provable doesn’t stop the meme from persisting. Michelle Obama and the kids were provably in New York that night; yet each recounting I hear includes a version of "left Bibi alone to eat with his family."
Talking Points Memo now has the tale of a new meme: Fox and Friends reported this week that Obama met with a pirate (!!) but will not meet with Bibi next week, when both men address the United Nations.
Drudge picked it up and it went viral.
It turns out that the pirate photo dates from 2009, posed to set up a joke at the White House Correspondents Dinner that year about Obama reaching out to "enemies."
What’s stunning about the clips TPM assembles is that it is not a throwaway; Fox and Friends repeats the claim throughout Thursday morning. Obama met with a pirate. He won’t meet with Bibi.
Jim Romenesko reports that Fox and Friends ultimately acknowledged the error, in a tweet.
Can’t wait for 2016. "He met with a pirate, but not Bibi!"