Someone was kind enough to tip me off to this story. Let me share how I approach something new like this.
First I read it for what it says and what it doesn’t say. In this case, something called the Borowitz Report says that Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith quoted “sources close to the President” as saying that Obama is “increasingly nostalgic for the land of his birth.” Initial reaction: hmpf, third-hand anonymous source.
According to Borowitz, Smith then fills in a number of comments not attributed to sources close to the President that mention Kenya. In particular Smith supposedly said:
While Mr. Smith stopped short of saying that Mr. Obama planed to leave Washington and return to his native Kenya, “his birth certificate does allow him to return at any time he sees fit.”
At this point several strains of thought are going. Is there anything from the anonymous source that links Kenya with “land of his birth?” Maybe Obama wants to go back to Hawaii. Did Shepard Smith really say any of this? What’s the value of an anonymous source in the hands of Fox News anyway?
I recall that Shepherd Smith, last time I listened to him, was no birther. Check out this video from 2009 where Smith called birtherism preposterous and dangerous. Has Smith done a 180-degree turn in his thinking? My hoax alarm is ringing loudly at this point, and it would seem that a prudent first step would be to see if Shepard Smith ever said this in the first place.
That’s not a happy task because simple search of the keywords involved is bound to return hundreds of birther blogs and comments quoting the story. To avoid being overwhelmed with junk, I’ll try searching Google News and Fox News first. Google News returned nothing relevant using keywords: shepard smith obama birth. I tried expanding the time period and using keywords: shepard smith obama birth kenya. Nothing close.
So it’s not a true report. However, I fired off a few more Google queries and realized my mistake. You see, I lied. I only read MOST of the Borowitz article. I failed to read the last two sentences that make the joke obvious.
In other debt ceiling news, by unanimous vote the House of Representatives passed a bill raising Speaker of the House John Boehner’s medication.
As for the debt ceiling negotiations, they are “right on schedule,” according to the ancient Mayans.
So that’s the true story of Dr. Conspiracy, the detour, and the joke.
Borowitz is pretty funny, and sometimes his satire seems to achieve sort of a corollary of Poe’s Law … what he writes is hysterical, but the nature of the subject also makes his satire seem entirely plausible …. sometimes the first and most obvious clue is the nature of Borowitz. If you’re not familiar with Borowitz, such pieces can be really disorienting!
July 13, 2011
New Law, No Politician Left Behind,’ Would Pay Congressmen Based on Performance
Controversial Law Draws Howls of Protest from Lawmakers
June 28, 2011
In Major Gaffe, Bachmann Confuses Ass, Hole in Ground
Misspeaks about Grand Canyon
June 10, 2011
Supercomputer Fails to Translate Palin Emails into English
Not a Recognizable Language, Says IBM’s Watson
I’m surprised you didn’t know who Andy Borowitz is. Next time you see something odd on a web site you might want to simply start with Wikipedia: “Andy Borowitz (born January 4, 1958) is a comedian and satirist who won the first National Press Club award for humor, and is known for creating the satirical website the Borowitz Report.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Borowitz
Just in case this comes up again, I’d also point out that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are also comedians, and The Onion web site is also satire.
If you find an odd story on an unfamiliar web site in the future, trying looking around at other stuff published on the same web site. The list of articles under “featured” on the Borowitz Report web site might have been a tip off. Examples:
* China Puts US on eBay
* In Major Gaffe, Bachmann Confuses Ass, Hole in Ground
* 2012 Election Cancelled
As an aside, BOTH the first and the thrid point have been presented as “factual” OMG statements at Dr K(H)ates……..
When writing a past-participle where the root word ends with a short vowel sound letter and followed by a consonant, then double the consonant and add -ed.
The past-participle of “plan” is “planned.”
And I’ve quoted excerpts from his site in the past on this blog. 😀
And there is this reference to The Borowitz Report too:
“I’d also point out that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are also comedians”
Well, they are on Comedy Central…that is a big clue.
Comedians are those who speak truth to power. A very ancient and honorable tradition.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are national treasures.
What I was ready to say was I heard one anchor refer to Chicago as Obama’s home town.
But still, one can make the case he was born in Chicago if it suited their political purposes.
It sure would have helped — and maybe made the post completely unnecessary — if you had known that Andy Borowtz is a comedian/humorist. I think you need to be assessed some cultural ignorance demerit points. I am just trying to decide how many to assess!!
I consider Tucson my home town, but I was born in Michigan. And I have now lived in Melbourne longer than I lived in Tucson.
I don’t get out much.
Andy Borowitz is a one man The Onion.
I thought everyone knew that.