I was thinking about birther image analysis after reading Linda Jordan’s dismissed complaint in Washington. Part of her “evidence” was a report from Mara Zebest. Zebest contributed to three editions of a book, Inside Photoshop, by Gary Bouton. The only other things I can find by Zebest are some nasty remarks about Barack Obama on the Internet, and later her report on Obama’s long-form birth certificate PDF for WorldNetDaily and the Cold Case Posse, calling the PDF a fake.
While Zebest’s report has been roundly debunked by John Woodman in his book, Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud?, in the birther mind, Zebest is a qualified forensic document examiner, never mind that she has no training in the field, never taught a course on it, is not recognized as an authority by forensic document examiners and has never been qualified by a court as an expert. In my mind, she is the blind leading the blind.
I’ve also spent a good deal more time than usual the last few days reading birther comments on the Internet. What I have found are arguments premised on bad information, for example: the fake travel ban for US citizens to Pakistan in 1981, the April Fools joke about Obama attending Occidental college as a foreign student on a Fulbright scholarship, and that every member of the Federal Convention of 1787 owned a copy of Vattel’s Law of Nations. People who publish comments on the Internet are attempting to lead the readers, and these are just another example of the blind leading the blind.
Suppose I didn’t know that someone was physically blind, and they said to me “come on across the street; I don’t see any traffic.” The point is not that disability disqualifies someone, but it does mean that both leaders and followers need to understand their limitations. As it is, much of birtherism is just the blind leading the blind.
Note the qualification at the end of the last paragraph: “much of.” I wrote that because I think other things are going on as well. Perhaps I will write a companion article, “When the wolf’s in charge of the hen house.”