Media Matters Patiently (Pointlessly?) Rebuts Each and Every Birther Claim

Media Matters Action Network has produced The Definitive Birther Takedown.

I guess it's handy to have a one-stop-shopping site for this, but as I said earlier, the people who believe this stuff are not going to be swayed by mere facts. Facts, it is well known, have a liberal bias.

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12 Responses to Media Matters Patiently (Pointlessly?) Rebuts Each and Every Birther Claim

  1. Sullvan says:

    … President Obama is certainly a native U.S. citizen, but your referenced “The Definitive Birther Takedown” is clearly NOT a definitive refutation of doubters.

    The key problem is public absence of the “original” (1961) birth certificate.

    Surely one must exist somewhere. Release it and end this silly teapot tempest.

    FactCheck.org staffers have NOT “.. seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate” — all their hullabaloo & photos are about a ‘secondary’… “Year 2007″ live birth certification document.

    Hawaii issued normal, paper birth certificates until 2001 — so where is the 1961 standard birth certificate ??
    (…and any certified copies issued to Obama, his family, the Social Security Administration, etc.)

    If the “original” was lost/destroyed, Hawaii officials should issue a formal statement of that loss.

    If Hawaii officials do indeed have the original 1961 birth certificate, they certainly can release it to the Federal Election Commission … which absolutely has a legally “tangible purpose” for the document, under Hawaii state law.

    Sloppy & emotional work by FactCheck.org merely stokes the fires even higher.

  2. Patrick (G) says:

    It’s most interesting seeing those willing to tarnish their reputations and credibility to stoke the fires of this ersatz controversy.

    Given that nobody has denied that Obama’s mother was American, Obama is himself an American citizen by birth whether he was born in Hawaii or elsewhere (though there’s no plausible reason to believe that Obama was born anywhere but Hawaii).

    Ironically, his presidential race opponent, Senator John McCain, set the precedent that you don’t have to be born within the U.S. of A. to run for president so long as you are a citizen by birth.

    Having being born elsewhere to an American mother, it’s something I sometimes wondered about, growing up.

  3. Adam says:

    I certainly don’t have my original birth certificate. Luckily I don’t need one to prove I’m a citizen. I’m white!

  4. King of Cats says:

    I think the left’s ridiculously disproportionate reaction to the “birthers” (including the time spent posting on this blog) is based on growing insecurity and buyer’s remorse. The progressives realize that they could have had Hillary and all they got was this lousy “Hope and Change” t-shirt.

    Obama’s approval ratings are in the toilet. So propaganda distributors like MediaMatters and MoveOn are blowing the “birthers” out of proportion to hide the ball from the loyal progressives, you know, the ones who don’t think for themselves (“oooh look, there’s something shiny over there on the Daily Show!”).

    The “birthers” will be old news in a few more days. But growing disapproval of the Obama administration doesn’t seem to be fizzling out in the slightest.

  5. Matt says:

    King of Cats- given that well known hosts on major TV stations, as well as many elected representatives of the Republican party, give credence to the, frankly insane, “birfer” claims, I don’t think it’s plausible to say that the reaction is “disproportionate”. If it were _only_ fringe groups doing it (like the 9/11 truthers) it would be one thing, but when it’s being pushed on major, main-stream TV and by elected officials in the major opposition party it must be dealt with, even given that it depends on insanity and racism.

    Patrick(G)- the situation is somewhat more complicated than that. The law is now (more or less- there are still a few complications) as you describe. But, citizenship is based on the law that was in effect when one was born, and the law in effect when Obama was born was such that, if he had been born outside of the US, he would have been a non-citizen because his mother had not spent 5 years after the age of 14 inside the US. (She could not have because she was only 18 years old.) This was one of many laws that discriminated against women in immigration law (it would not have applied if his father had been a citizen and his mother had not been), and was changed shortly after Obama’s birth. But, the law at the time when he was born (the law that matters for this question) was such that if he had been born outside the US, he would have not received citizenship via his mother automatically. Of course this is irrelevant as anyone who is not insane knows that he was, in fact, born in the US.

    The question of McCain is in some ways more interesting because the law at the time of his birth was ambiguous, not obviously granting citizenship to someone born of US parents in the Canal zone. I think it’s not a mandatory reading of the law that the canal zone wasn’t covered, but it was certainly a possible reading, which is why congress, shortly after McCain was born, passed a law saying that anyone who was or had been born in the canal zone to US citizen parents was a citizen. It was unclear enough that they thought they should do this. But if the law at the time didn’t cover the canal zone, it’s not clear that McCain could be made a “natural born” citizen retroactively. This is the issue that interested some people. Now, I think it’s a pretty dumb concern, especially as the law didn’t clearly make him a non-natural born citizen, but that’s what the concern was.

  6. King of Cats says:

    Matt-
    Slinging the words “insane” and “racist” prove my point.

    The fact that “elected officials” may or may not be “birthers” is not, ipso facto, justification for the progressive response. Al Franken (D), Jesse Ventura (?), Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Sarah Palin (R), Dennis Kucinich(D) are all, or have been, “elected officials.” None are considered serious or credible on topics of any import. So just because an “elected official” says something, does not mean massive political resources need to be diverted to it in every instance.

    Nor do “hosts” on TV stations, ipso facto, matter. Whoopi Goldberg is a Moonwalk denier, and she is a host on The View, which (sadly for this country) probably has higher viewership than Lou Dobbs (a “birther”). Should NASA expend millions to refute her? I don’t think the media covered her for more than a day or two, because nobody cares what she thinks or says. Did I miss the memo where Lou Dobbs was declared some kind of authority on Obama’s birth?

    The birthers will be gone by Friday. But you are now going into a public forum calling your fellow Americans “racist” and “insane”, just like the wonderful spokesperson for the left Jeanine Garafalo. It’s not racist to admit that Obama was a mistake, and Hillary would have been the better choice. The first stage is admitting the problem, Matt. If the Democrats could get a do-over and pick Hillary, they would. Just say it, you’ll feel better.

  7. Matt says:

    King of Cats- we disagree on many things. I don’t think electing Obama was a mistake, for example, and I still greatly prefer him to Hilary Clinton. But what interest me now is your string of non-sequiturs. Even if I did think that Hilary Clinton would be a better president than Obama, or that electing Obama was a mistake, or that Al Franken is not credible on any topic, or that Jeanine Garafalo is a spokesperson for the left (I don’t agree on any of these things), or that it’s not relevant that major news figures and important Republican officials believe, or at least support, a position that is, in fact, insane (the birfter view), why would this make the birfer view not insane? Of course it would not. The birfer view is not supported by any evidence at all, while the true view is supported by significant evidence. Continued support for the birfer position, given that, can only be justified by insanity or racism.

  8. King of Cats says:

    Matt-
    Zzzz….ZZZZ…..Zzzz… Wake me up when you actually refute my assertion that the left’s response to the birthers is disproportionate to the “threat”. (As a side note, exactly what is the purpose of bothering to refute the birther claims, if the birthers are indeed insane? Do you think that MediaMatters is going to convince them Obama is American? Or alternatively, when such a biased site like MM says something, wouldn’t right-wing birthers tend to believe the opposite, and take MM’s denial as proof of a conspiracy?)

    When somebody at National Review, George Will, or some halfway intelligent conservative is a birther, then let me know. When Guilliani, Jindal, Romney, McCain, or some other prominent GOP guy/gal becomes a birther then let me know. But don’t try to say that because a few crackpot “television hosts” and “representatives” are buying in means the whole right is on board, or that the counter-schmear campaign that MM and progressives like michael have launched is by any means justified. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    You may still like Obama. But you’d be an exception. As I stated, and you did not refute, his approval ratings are in the Toilet. Not quite Bush level, but getting there.

  9. Matt says:

    King of cats- I don’t know what “in the toilet” means, but despite slipping 3 points, the latest gallop poll has Obama’s approval rating at 56%
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/121934/Obama-Approval-Slips-Three-Points-Past-Week.aspx

    That doesn’t sound like I’m an exception, and it’s an odd sense of “in the toilet”. It’s not close to Bush levels.

    The reason that birfer nonsense should be refuted is that when it’s repeated by major TV hosts with highly rated shows, and by elected Republican officials (I think members of congress count as fairly important: see here on that:
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_07/019283.php ), poorly informed people may come to think there’s something to it. But there’s not. And, even if you think too much time is devoted to the issue, that’s not really a “wrong” in the sense that spreading insane views is, I’d think. Finally, given that most of those spending time on the issue are private actors, don’t you think it’s better to let them decide how much time to spend on it?

  10. Rhodo Zeb says:

    In the toilet. Yeah.

    After years of Bush at sub-30%.

    Pretty funny stuff KoC. Keep the insanity coming, I do so enjoy watching the trolls.

  11. ac says:

    I do have a disproportionate reaction to this story, and I am somewhat on the left. I really should not have such a visceral reaction to Birthers as I do to lots of other nutjob stories that enter the public discourse or energize Lou Dobbs. I asked myself why this one means something to me (while I just dismiss and ignore 911 conspiracy nuts or moonlanding deniers as irrelevant).

    I think it is because it is part of a larger death-by-1000-cuts campaign to delegitimize the recent election, sort of what eventually happened to Clinton (though he self-contributed) but with nastier racial elements (like the town hall nutlady who “wants our country back” so emotionally). It is part of the larger meme about his being an arab, a fellow-traveler with terrorists, a secret muslim, a sleeper cell, an “other,” an “unqualified black man,” a socialist.

    But this one has become the perfect litmus test to me because there is no other reasonable explanation for being a Birther or even a Birther-agnostic (“Why does he not show [some other evidence]?”) other than you are an unthinking illogical person, or clinically paranoid. There are some reasonable arguments for some of the other criticisms (Obama IS *more* socialist than, say, some republicans would be, even if he is not *very* socialist compared to lots of other people, including the bailout-pushing and free-spending big government GW Bush; Obama IS more muslim-respectful and experienced than most other candidates (to his credit), though obviously he is not a muslim).

    There are lots of other debates that are legitimate, or could be legitimate though I have my doubts about their good faith. Other debates may cloak racism but have plausible deniability to them. This debate does not. Most of the people who travel with the Birthers might as well just say they are anti-black, and the small number who are not and who would hate Clinton just as much are just wingnuts that cannot be reasoned with. Either way they are perfectly outed for me.

    So I hope this “debate” stays alive for years — as infuriating as it is that some who lost an election are “demanding” some piece of paper from a black president that they never asked for from anyone else (and this, ironically, with the other candidate being born in a Colon hospital–though I do not care about that either), or that they are citing Dred Scott as some precedent to support a faux-legal theory that he is not natural born anyway (how is that for this being really about race?). It gives me perfect information about people that cannot be explained for any other viable disagreement. It radicalizes a radical wing of a party without a hint of plausible deniability or patriotism, the usual cloak.

    I NEED to know who it is who would have Joe Biden replace my elected president because the latter had a mother who, anticipating in 1961 that her black kid would grow up to be president someday even though he could not legally use the restroom or lunch-counter that I could where I lived then, launched the most brilliant conspiracy in history and succeeded in including the Republican governor of Hawai’i as well as the CIA, FBI, and every other institution who has gone along with his charade of being American. Bravo. Including the masterstroke of planting newspaper announcements at the time, and creating the passport evidence that shows that she never traveled to Kenya, ever. Just lucky for us she did not get later caught with her gratuitous umbrella on the grassy knoll.

    I guess they might agree that he is three-tenths of a natural born American and be done with it. But until they come out and say that, I appreciate their identifying themselves so exquisitely. They can ask for a long-form whatever till they are blue in the face (though not blue state voters, I take it), but I say do not give it (if it even exists, since 2001) and let them circle the firing squad.

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