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Media questions its role in birther controversy

I have expressed concern over Donald Trump’s facile transmogrification of the criticism against his birtherism into a controversy about Hillary Clinton, an innocent bystander in the business. Instead of a flood of articles reminding the public of Trump’s execrable birther smear campaign, we see a flood of articles on whether Hillary Clinton started the birther movement, a patently absurd proposition.

Ron Elving of National Public Radio published a commentary on this subject in the aftermath Trump’s sudden reversal on his signature birther conspiracy theory. He is calling for the media to go beyond simply reporting what a candidate says, to include more rigorous fact checking.

… In addition to stories labeled "fact checking" — something that had been between a cottage industry and a sub-genre of journalism — reporters have moved to fact check in real time on air and online.

Elving advocates journalists reporting that something is a lie when they know it is. He says that Donald Trump has crossed a red line. I think that happened years ago.

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19 Responses to Media questions its role in birther controversy

  1. avatar
    laker1 September 20, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    Doc,

    Excuse this because it’s really not on topic but I really think it’s too good to put anywhere else. Ya gotta see:

    http://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/daily-cartoon-091916-death-certificate

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Trump Surrogates Spin ‘Birther’ Narrative” – FactCheck.org

  3. avatar
    Joey September 20, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    Its good to see Politifact of the Tampa Bay Times giving a “FALSE” rating to the “Hillary Clinton started Obama birther movement” meme and a “Pants on Fire” rating to Trump’s claim to have “finished” the birther movement.
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/sep/16/donald-trump/fact-checking-donald-trumps-claim-hillary-clinton-/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/sep/16/donald-trump/donald-trumps-pants-fire-claim-he-finished-obama-b/

    Trump also gets a “flip flop” upside down gauge on whether Barack Obama was born in the United States. Politifact notes that there’s still Orly Taitz!

  4. avatar
    Curious George September 21, 2016 at 7:33 am #

    More discussion regarding the origins of the Birther controversy.

    http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/79319/confessions-hillary-insider/

  5. avatar
    Thrifty September 21, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    One thing I have noticed about the claim “Hillary Clinton started the Birther movement” is that it isn’t solely promulgated by Trump supporters. I’ve been seeing it spouted here and there by disgruntled Bernie Sanders fans.

    I’m not saying that it gives it any extra weight; it’s hogwash no matter who advances it. Just that it’s not the sole purview of Republicans. Seems the only prerequisite is hating Hillary.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 21, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    In which Johnson says: “Here is one more irony–the Birth Certificate issue was not pushed hot and heavy by Sid to me. ”

    Curious George: More discussion regarding the origins of the Birther controversy.

  7. avatar
    RanTalbott September 23, 2016 at 5:05 am #

    Joey: Its good to see Politifact of the Tampa Bay Times giving a “FALSE” rating to the “Hillary Clinton started Obama birther movement” meme and a “Pants on Fire” rating to Trump’s claim to have “finished” the birther movement.

    It would be even better if it did any good.

    It shouldn’t be surprising, since most of Trump’s supporters are birfoons, but they’re as bad as the worst parody of “right-wing bubble-dwellers”. Many of them will reject facts because they’re reported in the MSM or on a fact-checking site.

    They really do live by “I reject your reality and substitute my own”.

  8. avatar
    Sam September 29, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    Why is his certificate number issue not part of this debate. Does the health department assign numbers to births that occur before other births. Posted on line you have a birth on Aug. 5 with a lower number (61-10637) than Oboma’s (61-10641) born on Aug. 4.

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    The certificate number is part of the debate to the extent that there is anything to debate.

    Based on the certificate numbers we know from Hawaii the month Obama was born, monthly the health department sorted the births from each birthing facility alphabetically by last name and then assigned numbers sequentially.

    Obama’s number is very close to and after the Nordyke twins (close alphabetically). The Ah’nee certificate has a very low number for the month, and the Widelich certificate has a very high number.

    I worked in vital records software systems for decades, and states use a variety of numbering schemes. I don’t know of ANY that assign numbers based on date of birth. That’s literally impossible because it means that you cannot issue a birth certificate under such a scheme until all the births are reported (so you know where it appears in the order), and certificates can take months in some cases.

    Most states today number certificates at the time they are accepted. That works fine with an automated system, but filing births that way makes it hard to find the record in a manual system. Someone applying to get a certified copy of their birth certificate doesn’t know the date the record was accepted. They do know the facility, month and last name.

    For a more in-depth discussion, see these articles and the comments on them: http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/tag/certificate-number/

    Sam: Why is his certificate number issue not part of this debate. Does the health department assign numbers to births that occur before other births. Posted on line you have a birth on Aug. 5 with a lower number (61-10637) than Oboma’s (61-10641) born on Aug. 4.

  10. avatar
    Dave B. September 29, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

    Another irony is that Johnson published his first birther-related article five days after Hillary Clinton conceded and endorsed Barack Obama.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    In which Johnson says: “Here is one more irony–the Birth Certificate issue was not pushed hot and heavy by Sid to me. ”

  11. avatar
    gorefan September 30, 2016 at 12:45 am #

    Sam:
    Why is his certificate number issue not part of this debate. Does the health department assign numbers to births that occur before other births. Posted on line you have a birth on Aug. 5 with a lower number (61-10637) than Oboma’s(61-10641) born on Aug. 4.

    Here are the known August, 1961 Hawaiian birth certificates.

    Ah’Nee, Johanna – 09945 – 8/23/1961
    Nordyke, Susan – 10637 – 8/5/1961
    Nordyke, Gretchen – 10638- 8/5/1961
    Obama, Barack – 10641- 8/4/1961
    Waidelich, Stig – 10920- 8/5/1961

    Sunahara, Virginia – 011080- 8/4/1961

    The first five were born at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital and Sunahara was born at Wahiawa General Hospital.

    Verna Lee, the Hawaiian state registrar who signed a number of the birth certificates in the 1960s including President Obama’s told Mike Zullo of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Posse that certificates were collected for the month, sorted by geographic location and then stamped with a certificate number. Wahiawa General Hospital is in a different geographic location from Kapiolani. Thus Sunahra’s number is significantly different from the others. In the case of Kapiolani, it appears those certificates were also alphabetized by last name.

  12. avatar
    Crustacean September 30, 2016 at 3:24 am #

    Thanks for that summary, gorefan. Interesting that Susan has a lower number than Gretchen. I wonder if it’s random, or is it possible that for twins they number by order of birth?

  13. avatar
    Scientist September 30, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Sam:
    Why is his certificate number issue not part of this debate. Does the health department assign numbers to births that occur before other births. Posted on line you have a birth on Aug. 5 with a lower number (61-10637) than Oboma’s(61-10641) born on Aug. 4.

    The only debate is what new “fact” caused Trump to change his mind about Obama’s birthplace.

    One thing that has always interested me in the “forgery” claims, is why, if Obama with all the resources at his disposal, were to set out to have a document forged, why he and the experts he supposedly hired wouldn’t have considered all of the points that the birthers have raised and accounted for them in their forgery?

  14. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater September 30, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    Scientist: One thing that has always interested me in the “forgery” claims, is why, if Obama with all the resources at his disposal, were to set out to have a document forged, why he and the experts he supposedly hired wouldn’t have considered all of the points that the birthers have raised and accounted for them in their forgery?

    We all know if it was totally perfect in the birthers eyes they would still claim forgery. It’s heads I win tails you lose.

  15. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 30, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    Forging the document is relatively easy for the CIA (which is where Dennis Montgomery said it came from). Cooperation from the Hawaii Department of Health is the more difficult problem. Indeed, the CIA had to kill Loretta Fuddy when she discovered that Dr. Alvin Onaka was a CIA clone.

    Scientist: One thing that has always interested me in the “forgery” claims, is why, if Obama with all the resources at his disposal, were to set out to have a document forged, why he and the experts he supposedly hired wouldn’t have considered all of the points that the birthers have raised and accounted for them in their forgery?

  16. avatar
    Scientist September 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Forging the document is relatively easy for the CIA (which is where Dennis Montgomery said it came from). Cooperation from the Hawaii Department of Health is the more difficult problem. Indeed, the CIA had to kill Loretta Fuddy when she discovered that Dr. Alvin Onaka was a CIA clone.

    Of course the KGB had an easier time forging Trump’s b.c.

  17. avatar
    dunstvangeet September 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    My question is if this is supposedly created by digital because of the artifacts, then why didn’t they just print it out, and scan it back in? Wouldn’t that have gotten rid of the digital artifacts that the people supposedly found, if they were truly artifacts of a digital creation process?

    Or, it could be that those artifacts are actually part of the process of the scanning process. But that can’t be! These Photoshop experts tell me otherwise!

  18. avatar
    dunstvangeet September 30, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

    Sam:
    Why is his certificate number issue not part of this debate. Does the health department assign numbers to births that occur before other births. Posted on line you have a birth on Aug. 5 with a lower number (61-10637) than Oboma’s(61-10641) born on Aug. 4.

    We’ve dealt with this on multiple occassions. You’re making the assumption that the numbers coorispond with a purely time-based authority.

    Now, we have 6 different numbers known from birth certificates that were issued in August of 1961. I’ve organized them in the order of the numbers. See if you can’t spot a pattern. They are (along with the birth dates and names are):

    Ah’Nee, Johanna – 09945 – 8/23/1961
    Nordyke, Susan – 10637 – 8/5/1961
    Nordyke, Gretchen – 10638- 8/5/1961
    Obama, Barack – 10641- 8/4/1961
    Waidelich, Stig – 10920- 8/5/1961
    Sunahara, Virginia – 11080 – 8/4/1961

    Now, in order for a strict time-of-birth coorelation to happen, you have to make a lot of suppositions. First, you’d have to move Johanna Ah’nee’s birth certificate, who was born on August 23rd. You’d have to move Barack Obama’s birth certificate, and Virginia Sunahara’s birth certificate number. So, that’s three right there that you have to move.

    Now, you also have to make an assumption that at least 284 babies were born on August 5, 1961. The total births in the entire state of Hawaii for that year were 17,558, which means that an average of 48.1 births per day. That means that 284 would be 490% above normal (about 5 times as much as the average for the rest of the year). That would put this so far above the statistical norm that renders it almost impossible (I don’t currently have the standard deviation for this population, so I can’t give you an exact percentage). That means you’d likely have to change Stig Waidelich’s number as well. So, you’re left with changing 4 out of the 6, and being left with really only 1 datapoint (since the Nordyke twins have adjancent numbers).

    Now, let’s look at an alternative numbering sequence. They were probably numbered in monthly batches. Now, we know that Virginia Sunahara was born outside of Honolulu, so we can say that they were probably organized by region. Now, the strongest coorleation is alphabetical with last name. This puts Obama’s birth certificate right where it should be, and everybody else’s. Technically, there’s a minor deviation from this is that Susan Nordyke is right before Gretchen Nordyke, which an alphabetical coorleation would suggest that Gretchen would appear before Susan.

    So, I’d say that my numbering scheme is much more likely to happen than your numbering scheme.

  19. avatar
    RanTalbott October 1, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

    Scientist: The only debate is what new “fact” caused Trump to change his mind about Obama’s birthplace.

    He answered that in the debate:

    When you talk about healing, I think that I’ve developed very, very good relationships over the last little while with the African-American community. I think you can see that.

    And I feel that they really wanted me to come to that conclusion.

    Translation: the people I was trying to con told me what they wanted to hear.