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Media debunks birther claims

We’re coming up on the third anniversary of the birther movement and the amount of bunk and debunking makes a huge pile. I think that those of us who do this debunking as a hobby would like to eventually make a science of it, to be able to look at a birther argument and say, “oh, that’s a number 1, 2, 7(c) and 12 bad argument; please refer to the numbered section in the handbook for refutation.”

We’re not there yet, but it’s not for lack of ample source material. Media Matters for America has now published a small collection of high-quality debunking in their new article, Myths and Falsehoods: Birther Edition. It’s not encyclopedic, but at least we have numbers 1-5 covered. The one about the fake Kenyan Birth Certificate needs work.

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17 Responses to Media debunks birther claims

  1. avatar
    Scientist April 8, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    In the comments, is our old friend, “Sally Hill” claiming that he/she/it had her/his/its birth announcement made in 3 different papers. Interestingly, this is the same claim made here by “Wild Bill H”. A case of gender identity confusion?

    By the way, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that newspapers wiil refuse to print a paid birth announcement placed by the parents or relatives. I have seen them in some papers. They read something like, “Joey Smith is delighted with his little sister Suzie, born March 24th. So are his Mom, Linda and Dad, Steve and grandparents, etc.” Look at the ads in the Honolulu paper-parent’s names, address, sex of baby (not even the baby’s name) and DOB. Each one the same as all the rest. These are obviously placed by an institution-a hospital or the State. No one would pay for such a generic announcement.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Scientist: These are obviously placed by an institution-a hospital or the State.

    The heading of the column in one paper is “Health Bureau Statistics.” I think that pretty much says it all.

  3. avatar
    Joey April 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    New “birther” poll from Fox News:

    http://www.pollingreport.com/obama_ad.htm

  4. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    For a while I’ve thought that a ‘birther debunking Wiki’ would be a good idea – a place where detailed arguments (with references and citations of law) could be found to debunk specific birhter arguments and memes. Anyone else think this is a good idea? (By which I mean, ‘does anyone think that this is a good enough idea that they’re willing to help make it happen?’)

  5. avatar
    Sef April 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Slartibartfast:
    For a while I’ve thought that a birther debunking Wiki’ would be a good idea – a place where detailed arguments (with references and citations of law) could be found to debunk specific birhter arguments and memes.Anyone else think this is a good idea?(By which I mean, does anyone think that this is a good enough idea that they’re willing to help make it happen?’)

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Birther

  6. avatar
    goodgravy April 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    So this old cranky guy has been penning ‘editorials’ and ThePostemail for some time…calling for violent uprising etc. etc. etc….thought someone should shine some more light on this dangerous guy:

    He says,

    “We must respect the minority, so the saying goes. But is that true? Were not the American Indians a minority and, if so, how much respect have they received since, say, 1492? I’ll tell you, not much. So if America didn’t respect its native-born, in a manner of speaking, why in the blazes is America respecting anything whatsoever to do with Muslims, a people who say daily that they would really enjoy beheading each and every one of us? They also say they want to make Americans bow to Sharia Law and that they want the flag of Islam flying over the White House.

    Wait a minute, what about offending me? Don’t I count? I can get offended too, you know. Of course, when I really got offended I used to back off and calm down but my days of taking a deep breath are numbered, and not because I’m a day older, but because my “offensive fuse” has been shortened since, well, there’s a good question”

    and,

    “And, then again, maybe when the United States put a Muslim in the White House. Yes, that, without a doubt, shortened my fuse. If anyone ever had any doubt that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party aren’t one and the same, their mutual cover-up of Obama’s birth certificate should prove it to you. Now I am offended, so I propose starting our very own jihad; why not? The Muslims have theirs and no one seems to be offended.

    That’s right, our very own jihad where we give what our enemies deserve. Our very own enemy list…besides all Muslims, let’s add everyone who had a part in putting and keeping Obama in office. That’s right, an American version of jihad”

    he’s serious…..ugh.

  7. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Sef: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Birther

    My thought was something more specifically focused where you could find (and copy) detailed and accurate arguments debunking stock birther memes. Basically taking all of the information that can be found at site’s like the Doc’s and assembling it in a way that allows people to find (and conveniently use) it when confronting birthers on blogs. It is an attempt to address the fundamental asymmetry between conspiracy theorists and debunkers – it is much easier to ‘raise a question’ (as Doc just pointed out on another thread) than it is to thoroughly and accurately show that the question has no merit. I know that most of us here are capable of debunking most birther nonsense on our own (and all of it as a community), but just imagine if someone only marginally informed on the issue could deploy an argument that was the equal of those made with the expertise found here – the reaction of the birthers to such a development alone would be worth the effort, in my opinion…

  8. avatar
    Whatever4 April 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    http://wiki.obamafringe.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

    Started by Doc C and picked up in the last week by Foggy and TheFogBow. http://www.thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=5693&sid=f40ff5c4413db698f71a9db704f9a816

    Come play!

  9. avatar
    Whatever4 April 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    Also the home page of Fogbow is pretty rich. Look at the Birther Claims Debunked section.

    http://www.thefogbow.com/

  10. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Whatever4:
    http://wiki.obamafringe.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

    Started by Doc C and picked up in the last week by Foggy and TheFogBow. http://www.thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=5693&sid=f40ff5c4413db698f71a9db704f9a816

    Come play!

    Yeah, that’s the sort of thing that I’m talking about… thanks! I think that the wiki is a better format for finding specific ‘debunking research’ than a forum (or a blog). How long has this site been up? (and why haven’t I found out about it until now? ;-))

  11. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Joey:
    New “birther” poll from Fox News:

    http://www.pollingreport.com/obama_ad.htm

    Interesting – I notice that self-identifying as a Democrat makes you 15% more likely to think President Obama was born in the US than self-identified independents while self-identifying as Republican makes you 22% less likely to believe such…

  12. avatar
    ZixiOfIx April 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Joey:
    New “birther” poll from Fox News:

    http://www.pollingreport.com/obama_ad.htm

    If I were the GOP, I wouldn’t worry too much about polls like that. After all, it’s not like the Republicans need independent voters (who overwhelmingly think Obama was born in the US) to win national elections…. oh, wait. Republicans absolutely need independent voters to win national elections.

    The Republican Party needs to snap to and pull itself together with regards to the birthers. Otherwise, they are just throwing 2012 away with both hands.

    As a conservative, this makes me sad. Sad that no one at GOP headquarters has the spine to tell birthers to sit down and shut up. And sad that they think they have to compete on this level.

  13. avatar
    1% Silver Nitrate April 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    And speaking of Media Matters, their latest from yesterday morning catches Jack Cashill touting a photo of Obama with his grandparents in New York, in which he claims Obama has been photoshopped in. Unfortunately for Cashill, the photo without Obama, which Cashill claims is the original, still has Obama’s knees, which the photoshopper inadvertently left in:
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201104070013?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+MediaMattersForAmerica-CountyFair+%28Media+Matters+for+America+-+County+Fair%29

  14. avatar
    Suranis April 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    ZixiOfIx: The Republican Party needs to snap to and pull itself together with regards to the birthers. Otherwise, they are just throwing 2012 away with both hands.

    As a conservative, this makes me sad. Sad that no one at GOP headquarters has the spine to tell birthers to sit down and shut up. And sad that they think they have to compete on this level.

    yeah, I hear you. The problem is that the Teabaggers ARE the republican base at this point and Bohner cannot control them at all.

    The real problem is that the Democrats are actually 2 parties, a sizable liberal and a sizable conservative wing (thats too sane for the GOP) that should really be 2 separate parties. My wish really is that the Republicans go down in flames and are forever regarded as the looney party of Ann Rand, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Democrats split and form the new 2 parties, and then you might have some kind of actual sensible fiscal government in America

  15. avatar
    US Citizen April 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Between this site and others like the Fogbow, we have enough resources, along with citations, to make our own FAQ or at least a valid separate Wiki entry.
    There should be a decent, one-stop authoritative resource for debunking birther claims. Patrick’s work, Doc’s work, Loren’s work.. all experts presented in a concise, easy to navigate single resource.

    Right now it’s spread out amongst FactCheck, Snopes and other sites like this, but if Donald Trump can’t find info that satisfies his lawyers (difficult to believe on the face of it, but still), there should be a place that has everything possible down to the smallest detail, but digestible by both the common man, lawyer and media.

    Ok, who’s gonna hit Soros up for this check? 😉

  16. avatar
    Zuzu April 9, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The heading of the column in one paper is “Health Bureau Statistics.” I think that pretty much says it all.

    Yes, I was disappointed that MMA duidn’t pick up on this obvious clue. That and the Honolulu Advertiser article explaining that the info in the announcements came directly from the Dept. of Health, which got it directly from the hospital.

    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2009/Jul/28/ln/hawaii907280345.html

  17. avatar
    AnotherBird April 9, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    1% Silver Nitrate:
    And speaking of Media Matters, their latest from yesterday morning catches Jack Cashill touting a photo of Obama with his grandparents in New York, in which he claims Obama has been photoshopped in.Unfortunately for Cashill, the photo without Obama, which Cashill claims is the original, still has Obama’s knees, which the photoshopper inadvertently left in:

    That was another good article debunking another birther claim. Yes, the missing of Obama’s knees was the most obvious mistake. I suspect that the photoshopper left it in on purpose as a kind of joke on birthers.