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A certain law school classmate of mine sent a message to a bunch of us:

   I’m interested to hear your thoughts on these. . . . On what grounds could Obama not answer / refuse to answer? Why wouldn’t he answer just to shut this guy down? . . .

   http://www.youtube.com/... [Video arguing that Obama's not American, and forged his birth certificate.] This video has close to 2.5 million hits.

Oy!  What what he thinking?  Anyhow, I’m a compulsive researcher, so I took a look, and wrote this:

I did some "due diligence", and have found that the video contains many untruths and disingenuous arguments.  So much so, that I lost interest in pursuing it.  I like to apply the science-investigation ethic  — "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."  In addition to the distortions, the video fails this test for sure.

Here’s what I found, before I got fed up:

Intro screen: "I invented the Internet"
This trope is a common right-wing distortion, IMO.  Al Gore didn’t say this, and what he did actually say is correct.  I’ve been involved with the Internet since 1986, when it was still often called the "Arpanet", and I can give you all the details if you like.

Berg: "Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen"
Conclusory and unsupported.  I mean, duh!  This is what the video aims to prove.  Begs the question, etc.  I find this fairly shameless, and also belies the disingenuosness: he’s not just a concerned citizen; he has an axe to grind.

"FactCheck.org . . . supposedly checks out documents to make sure they’re correct."
A very slanted characterization of factcheck.org with no supporting details or evidence.  And then he goes on to something else.  This is pure propaganda intended to create doubt.  (And further, what does it mean, "to make sure they’re correct"?  Not very precise language.  There’s probably no answer for that.)

"[in re Annenberg] There’s a little conflict of interest there, I believe."
Same as previous.  This is tossed out, and then not followed up.  Is he claiming that Factcheck is wrong?  If so, where?  Did they fabricate?  If so, where?  He doesn’t say.  This is pure propaganda.

"John McCain . . . immediately released his birth certificate . . . he immediately released his medical records . . . . He said, ‘Whatever you want, I’ll give it to you.’ and he did, right away."
This is apparently false.  I found no evidence of this.  I did, though, find lots of evidence to the contrary of the above statement.  It seems to have taken 4 months for his certificate to become public, and not through McCain’s organization:

Feb. 21: Earliest mention I could find of McCain’s citizenship question. [1]

May 2: Dept. of Homeland Security refuses to hand over copy of McCain’s birth certificate in response to a subpoena, claiming improper service. [2]

June 20: The Dallas News runs picture of birth certificate, courtesy of a source, "Don Lamb in Panama." [3]

"Obama . . . has refused to release any records . . ."
Untrue on its face.  The video itself talks about the records Obama has released.

[1] http://newsbusters.org/...
[2] http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
[3] http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallas...

Originally posted to denk on Wed Oct 22, 2008 at 09:30 PM PDT.

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