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Pooh-poohing Pulitzer

Writing for the New York Times, Dalia Susman and Marina Stefan, both named in the byline of
this article, ―Obama and the ‗Birthers‘ in the Latest Poll,‖ which appeared in the NYT Caucus
blog, could win the Pulitzer Prize for political reporting. But not for composting garbage like this.
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/obama-and-the-birthers-in-the-latest-poll/

In ‗Obama and the Birthers,‘ Madames Susman and Stefan report the results of a NYT / CBS
News poll which showed that people have different opinions as to where Mr. Obama was born.
They identify anyone who maintains that documentation available in the public record fails to
establish Barack Obama was born in the U.S.; as part of the ―fringe group[] known as the
―birthers.‖ In contrast, Susman and Stefan report this self-authenticating ‗fact‘ in the opening
line of their piece: ―President Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961.‖

(What do you call reporters who fail to source their ‗facts‘?)

In similarly self-parodying fashion, these two reporters reject the legislation recently passed by
the Arizona House of Representatives that would require Presidential candidates seeking to get
the state to print their names on the ballot, to produce an actual birth certificate indicating partial
satisfaction of the Constitutional eligibility requirements for the job. Eschewing the spread of
similar legislation sprouting up in other states, they point out, ―But many lawmakers and legal
experts dismiss the need for such measures since federal candidates already have to meet
citizenship requirements.‖

(What do you call reporters who fail to name their public sources; or who cannot discern the
distinction between laws requiring Presidential candidates to meet citizenship requirements; and
laws requiring state actors to check?)

Susman and Stefan print snippets from follow-up telephone interviews with selective non-
believers polled, effecting the caricatured profiles which result. Then, to embellish the ridiculous
portrait they painted of their respondents, these reporters now provide selected quotes on the
subject from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the paid mouthpiece for the man of
speculative birth.

―In July of last year, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, expressed frustration with
those who continued to express disbelief about Mr. Obama‘s citizenship. Asked about the
―birthers‖ at a briefing, Mr. Gibbs said: ―I almost hate to indulge in such an august setting as the
White House — and I mean this in seriousness — the White House briefing room, discussing
the made-up fictional nonsense of whether the president was born in this country. If I had some
DNA, it wouldn‘t assuage those that don‘t believe he was born here. But I have news for them
and for all of us: The president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the 50th state of the greatest
country on the face of the earth. He‘s a citizen.‖‖

Well, Madames Susman and Stefan, I did a little digging and came up with a video clip of the
press conference where Mr. Gibbs made that statement, in response to a question from ―liberal
talk radio host Bill Press.‖ (In the interest of full disclosure, I already knew what I was looking
for; I will never forget when Mr. Gibbs revealed posting the COLB (on ―Fight the Smears‖) was
his idea: ―I asked that the birth certificate be put on the internet…‖)
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/07/gibbs-birth-certificate-controversy-is-madeup-
fictional-nonsense.html
Presumably, you two have seen the image of the Certification of Live Birth which Mr. Gibbs
refers to as Barack Obama‘s ―birth certificate,‖ posted on the internet since June 2008 on the
newly created FTS web site. But did you ever notice the changing credits on the bottom of the
page containing that COLB image, identifying who paid for that site? I did, even though I am not
a reporter but just an internet blogger. And one of my loyal readers, azgo – he is not a reporter,
either – noticed, too. http://jbjd.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/theorizing-how-to-prove-bo-is-not-a-
nbc/comment-page-1/#comment-719 See, when Mr. Obama was the candidate for the D
nomination for President, the credits on FTS read, ―Paid for by Barack Obama.‖ And when the
party installed him as their nominee, the credits changed to, ―Paid for by Obama for America.‖
And after Electors elected him as President, the credits changed to, ―Paid for by Organizing for
America, a Project of the DNC.‖

The other day, azgo sent me the portion of the U.S. Code that deals with federal campaign
spending and disclosure. http://jbjd.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/judge-declare-bo-
ineligible/comment-page-1/#comment-2148 Sure enough, the campaign spending and
disclosure requirements in the law correspond to changes in Mr. Obama‘s legal status
(candidate vs. nominee vs. President) which are reflected in the evolving ‗credit‘ language we
previously noted in the FTS footer. azgo summed up the federal requirements perfectly: ―So,
therefore, is it safe to say the OFA/DNC BC page is just a paid advertisement?‖

Yep; that‘s exactly what FTS is. And Mr. Gibbs confirmed as much, in a line from the ABC
News article on that press conference which Susman and Stefan omitted from their NYT fluff
piece. Asked why the issue of Mr. Obama‘s birthplace keeps coming up, he replied: ―Because
for $15 you can get an internet address and say whatever you want.‖

I have to admit, I could not have reported this fact any better myself.