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Straw men and other lies from Mark Gillar

In a new article at Birther Report, “Doc Dump: CCP Researcher Unloads; Multiple Counts of Document Fraud,” Mark Gillar proves that the Cold Case Posse lied. The article refers to some National Center for Health Statistics documents from 1960, and has an image of an old birth certificate.

While the article makes it sound as if something were happening:

Gillar said he is in contact with the Cold Case Posse almost daily and never has there been so much enthusiasm and confidence as there is right now regarding the Obama document fraud investigation.

What he presents is the same old stuff labeled “new” a long time ago. Indeed I could have just pointed to my June 2 article, “Zullo tries to pull off a fast one on sheriffs,” as a full response to this latest rerun.

The old birth certificate shows a person whose Father’s race was written “Colored” then crossed out and written “Negro.” Then Gillar says:

For years, the Sycophant Obots demanded “Birthers” show any other Hawaiian birth certificate listing negro as the race of a parent.

He’s lying. I challenge Gillar to provide so much as a single example of such a thing being said. The entry of “Negro” is perfectly reasonable and no one would have had any reason to question it, or to demand someone produce an example. Continue Reading →

Googling Obama’s birth certificate

imageI wanted to get a sense of what the Internet was saying about Obama’s birth certificate–what does someone coming fresh to the issue get from the most popular Internet search engine1? To find out, I sent a naive query2 to Google: obama birth certificate. The top 10 results with some commentary and conclusions follow:

1-2

The first article that comes up is the White House web page announcing the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate, and the second is the Wikipedia article on “Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories.”

3

Someone who skips the official announcement and thinks the Wikipedia is unreliable (and many do) might go to the third result and get an article at what appears to be a conventional news site, the World Tribune, and find an article titled “Forensic findings on Obama’s birth certificate: ‘A 100 percent forgery, no doubt about it’” by Grace Vuoto that opens:

There is a problem with President Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate: It’s a forgery, say multiple forensic experts who have examined it. A report detailing the evidence will soon be presented to Congress.

The article goes on to state as fact many discredited claims of Mike Zullo and the Cold Case Posse, and to pretend that there is no “other side” in the controversy. The naive reader might well be fooled into thinking that this is a mainstream publication with the integrity and fact checking that comes with that. An interesting article about the World Tribune, by Ben McGrath in The New Yorker, says otherwise:

In fact, the World Tribune is not published in the United Kingdom, nor is it, to be precise, a newspaper. It is a Web site produced, more or less as a hobby, in Falls Church, Virginia, and is dedicated to the notion, as its mission statement explains, that “there is a market for news of the world and not just news of the weird.”

…Although [editor and publisher of the World Times Robert] Morton said, “We emphasize newspaper standards to counter the half-baked, unfiltered content on some online sites,” World Tribune.com more fairly qualifies as something between a newspaper and a rumor-mongering blog. Call it “blews.”

McGrath goes on to document some “faux news” stories published at the World Tribune including the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

4

At the number 4 slot, we’re in pretty deep trouble with an article from the epicenter of birth certificate doubt mongering, WorldNetDaily with the unattributed article, “Obama birth-certificate doubts head to Capitol.” I has quotes from Zullo, video clips from Carl Gallups and a side order of the McInnish v. Chapman case before the Alabama Supreme Court. In typical WND fashion, much “old news” is tacked onto the article to make it longer.

5

Finally, in 5th place, we arrive at a respected news source, that specializes in investigating claims by others, and has some real journalistic standards–PolitiFact. Their article is a compendium of things said about the birth certificate, rating them from “True” (“a federal judge sanctions Tennessee ‘birther’ lawyer …  for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.”) to “False” (“President Obama has spent over $2 million in legal fees defending lawsuits about his birth certificate”) to “Pants on fire” (“Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie made a late-night visit to Kinko’s to forge President Barack Obama’s birth certificate two days before Obama unveiled it to the media.”)

6

Returning to the WorldNetDaily lineage (WND publisher Joseph Farah founded it), we have an article at the Center for Western Journalism, a wrapper for a video interview with Mike Zullo, “Under the Microscope: The Obama Birth Certificate.”

7

At lucky number 7, we find the popular debunking site Snopes.com and their article “Barack Obama Birth Certificate.”

8-10

Rounding out the top 10, we have:

Renew America: Obama’s reckoning to come November 19 by birther attorney Larry Klayman. “Klayman calls for the masses to force resignation of convicted President.” (Klayman had held a mock trial in Florida.)

Politico.com: “Trump spars with ABC reporter over Obama’s birth certificate

The Inquisitr: “Birthers: Obama has until Nov. 19 to show his birth certificate or else…

Summing up

At least according to the search engines, Mike Zullo and the Cold Case Posse is the main story on the Internet about Obama’s birth certificate. That’s what’s news, and a number of older articles carry some background and debunking of the issue in general (but most are pre-Zullo).

Here’s my opinion about the web sites returned by Google in two categories:

Reliability

  • Reliable: 5 (1, 2, 5, 7, 9)
  • Unreliable: 5 (3, 4, 6, 8, 10)

Bias

  • Pro Obama: 2 (1, 10)
  • Anti Obama: 4 (3, 4, 6, 8)
  • Neutral: 4 (2, 5, 7, 9)

The naive searcher faces an uphill battle using search engine results to evaluate claims that there is something awry with Barack Obamas’ birth certificate. They have to wade through a great deal of misinformation and bias (50% of the articles on Google’s first results page) in order to get to the facts. While claims by Mike Zullo are front and center, debunking of the Cold Case Posse is on the back pages.

I suppose it’s an unrealistic expectation to get truth from a search engine. Nevertheless, it’s how many get their facts. I’m concerned about the spread of the birtherism disease, and will continue to think about how to help make things better.


1Would another search engine would give better results. I gave Bing a try.

  1. WorldNetDaily: “Obama birth-certificate doubts head to Capitol” (Zullo story)
  2. ABC News: “Obama’s Birth Certificate Could Be a Forgery” (Zullo story)
  3. Snopes: “Barack Obama Birth Certificate
  4. White House: “President Obama’s Long Form Birth Certificate
  5. Was Obama Born in Kenya?  “Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate” (Lucas Smith)
  6. Wikipedia: “Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories
  7. BarackObama.com: “Fight the smears: The Truth about Barack’s birth certificate.”
  8. Huffington Post: “Obama Birth Certificate
  9. YouTube: “PROOF!!! Obama Birth Certificate Fraud” (this Alex Jones 2011 video has almost 1 million views)
  10. Factcheck.org: Born in the U. S. A.

2Google has an option to get results tailored for the user, or world-wide results; I picked the latter.

Here’s the birth certificate!

One of the dumbest questions asked by birthers is “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” Amid unfounded rumors that candidate Obama’s middle name was “Mohammed,” his campaign released his birth certificate in June of 2008. Perhaps you’ve seen it?

Obama Certification of Live Birth

Birthers have tried to deny this simple document ever since. First, they denied that the document even existed in paper form, and that it didn’t have the seal of the State of Hawaii. Staff from FactCheck.org actually took photos of the original paper document, but those were denied too.

Continue Reading →

Housekeeping

Today is dedicated to a little housekeeping after the election. I scanned the birther blogs and wrote about that. I finally fixed the bullet list for my Recommended Books and got the blog software up to date.

I dropped by FactCheck.org and noticed that they had published an article called “Obama’s Numbers” that catalogs important statistics about what’s happened in the United States since Obama took office. The article is a quick reference for settling arguments and countering rumors. Did you know that handgun manufacturing is up 68% in the US? I didn’t.

If you aren’t one of the 12 million people who viewed this video of a 4-year-old girl overwhelmed by presidential politics, here’s your chance. “It’ll be over soon.”

John Woodman retired, perhaps for good, a few weeks back. John, bless his heart, was not an Obama supporter, even though he was on the side of the angels on questions about Obama’s eligibility. Best of luck to John.

Ms. Conspiracy had a bit of a funny reaction when I read Bunny Sewell’s comment to her: “Now maybe I’ll get my husband back.” I’m not quite sure what that look meant.

NBC at his blog wrote:

Justice at last

Obama wins another 4 years. A president strong of character and standing up for the people.

Which also means probably four more years of Orly… Yeah!!!

Perhaps. Orly’s last minute of fame may be November 16 in Jackson, Mississippi, when motions to dismiss will be heard in federal court in the case of Taitz v. Mississippi Democrat Party. Judge Wingate seems to be an excellent judge, and the Democrats the Hawaii defendants, and the Mississippi Secretary of State have submitted persuasive briefs. What follows will be motions for sanctions because the Democrats are tired of having Taitz running around the country interrupting their dinner.

The bunk stops here

In addition to my blogging here I have a real life, and in real life of late I’ve been getting some chain emails (“urgent forward this to all your friends”) that are filled with false information, and interestingly enough it is all of a conservative bias, even though I don’t usually gravitate towards that group. People who send me chain emails quickly learn that I “REPLY ALL” with some pretty strong debunking. Usually they stop sending them.

Since Barack Obama usually gets blamed for everything, I find a little justification for making this article, which is a list of some of the bunk floating around. Commenters will no doubt know of lots more, and I anticipate adding to the article over the next few days.

  • Obama told veterans stop whining about having to pay for their own health care. Never happened. Debunked at PolitiFact.com.
  • ObamaCare includes a 3.8% sales tax when you sell your home. It’s a gains tax that will apply only a few very wealthy homeowners. Debunked at FactCheck.org.
  • ObamaCare is the largest tax increase in history. Only if you ignore inflation and population growth. Discussed at FactCheck.org. Rated “pants on fire” at Politifact.com.
  • Obama is going to ban all guns in the US through a UN Treaty. Not true. Debunked at FactCheck.org.
  • President Obama has doubled the size of government since he took office. Not true. Debunked at Politifact.com.
  • Obama signed “in secret” a law restricting free speech. If it was a secret, how do they know he signed it? Debunked at Politifact.com and also at FactCheck.org.
  • Obama canceled the National Day of Prayer. Nope. Debunked everywhere including Snopes.com.
  • Obama will cancel the 2012 election. Debunking of this will be available on November 7, 2012.

The items listed above are just a few of the many that I found are out there once I started looking. The links below have many more.

Readers may note the conspicuous absence of Snopes.com from my article until this most recent update. That’s mainly because the professional journalistic sites I mentioned I consider more authoritative, although Snopes certainly does good work too. One of the rejoinders I get when doing my “REPLY ALL” debunking using any of these sources, is that they themselves are biased or part of the disinformation conspiracy. Attacking Snopes is almost a reflex for some people, and attacking FactCheck is common for Obama denialists who have their  own conspiracy theories about connections between Obama, Bill Ayers and FactCheck – all nonsense, but we’re talking about birthers here.

Related links:

Factcheck.org v Trump

FactCheck.org

FactCheck.org has applied its usual rigorous inspection of the various claims made on the national media by Donald Trump these past couple of weeks. We’ve seen and heard him on the major networks saying things about Barack Obama straight from the pages of WorldNetDaily and the birther blogs. How do his claims stand up? (As if anyone here needed FactCheck.org to tell them the answer.)  The title of their new article today, “Donald. You’re Fired!‘ should give you a pretty good hint of what they found.

If Donald Trump worked for us, we’d have to say: “Donald, you’re fired –” for incompetence.” The successful developer and TV celebrity says he’d make a good president, and maybe he would –” we take no stand either way about that. But when it comes to getting facts straight, he fouls up again and again on the basics of President Barack Obama’s birth. As a rookie reporter, he just wouldn’t make it.

The nice thing about FactCheck.org is that they are real journalists with a real staff, and they can do real investigations and interviews. It’s nice to watch the professionals at work.

An article in a similar vein was published yesterday at Politifact.com.