Oops: Yahoo! News Accidentally Refers to Kenya as Obama’s 'Country of Birth'

Posted: Jun 23, 2013 9:09 AM

President Obama and his family are about to embark on a weeklong trip to Africa this week, which includes stops in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. The trip has garnered significant media attention—not because of the president’s agenda while there—but for its excessive cost, which some say could range from $60 to $100 million. 

Yahoo! News’ story on the cost of Obama’s trip is drawing attention for others reasons, however.

Things got pretty awkward for news website, Yahoo! News, afteran article published by a White House reporterFriday called Kenya President Obama’s ‘country of birth.’

The article, written by Rachel Rose Hartman, spoke of the Obama family’s upcoming visit to Africa, which is expected to take place on June 26th to July 3rd. Hartman mentioned that the President will not be stopping in his country of birth which — apparently to the writer — is Kenya. […]

Yahoo! News later issued a correction to the article, stating that the story had mistakenly identified the president’s country of birth. And in an attempt to remedy the situation, the website changed the statement from saying the president’s ‘country of birth’ to his ‘ancestral homeland’, which admittedly is not much better.

Meanwhile, Kenyans are actually really upset the president will be not be stopping over in his, er, “ancestral homeland,” and have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #WhyObamaWillSkipKenya to criticize the decision.

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, told reporters on Friday that it’s just not the best time for the president to visit, even though he still has a “deep, personal, familial connection to Kenya.”

Part of that bad timing is likely due to the March election of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who happens to face crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court, a process the U.S. supports. […]

Kenya's current leader has a justice problem. Kenyatta is charged with crimes against humanity, including rape and murder, and orchestrating violence after the 2007 election, a charge he denies. The ICC lists him as an "indirect co-perpetrator" in the chaos that killed some 1,200 people and displaced more than 500,000 after the disputed elections, which he won against then-Prime Minister Raila Odinga by 50.07 percent to 43.28 percent.

"The Kenyan people hold a special place in the president's heart," Rhodes told reporters on the conference call. "We respect the sovereign right of Kenyans to choose their leaders ... We also as a country have a commitment to accountability and justice."

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