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Friday, September 10, 2010
WorldNetDaily’s Factually Deficient “Eligibility Primer”
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The birther obsessives at WorldNetDaily have issued a new downloadable “Obama eligibility primer” (you have to give up your email address to WND to receive a copy) that it hyperbolically claims “could sink Obama’s presidency.” In fact, the report is yet another rehashing of many of the factually dubious claims WND has been making since it latched onto the birther issue two years ago.

WND repeats the discredited claim that “On Oct. 16, 2008, Obama’s step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, famously claimed in a telephone interview with an American religious leader she had been present at Obama’s birth at a hospital in Mombasa. Sarah Obama speaks Luo, not English.” WND goes on to claim that “Other Luo speakers who have listened to the tape, however, including a member of the Kenyan government, say she insisted twice that she had been present at his birth in Kenya.” This is an apparent reference to a WND article by Jerome Corsi citing anonymous “members of Sarah Hussein Obama's Luo tribe” making that claim. Corsi is not exactly a reliable source, having pushed his own birther conspiracies, so anything he has to say on the issue is suspect.

Noting that in 1981 “Obama traveled to Pakistan during a period when it was difficult for U.S. citizens to enter that country,” WND claims that “Obama would have needed a passport to travel to Pakistan, and apparently the passport he used was not American.” But since The New York Times and the State Department were offering advice at the time on how Americans could obtain the proper papers for entry into Pakistan, it likely was not as “difficult” as WND suggests.

WND goes on to suggest that Obama, while a student at Occidental College, “received scholarship funds set aside for foreign students.” As details, this idea is based on a hoax.

WND also highlights how “[c]omputer graphics expert Dr. Ron Polarik (an assumed name) contends the COLB is not a record of Obama’s birth at all, but an outright forgery” -- never mind that points out that it has “seen, touched, examined and photographed” the certificate, concluding that “[c]laims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false.”

WND even goes so far to promote the idea that because “[n]umerous African newspapers have described him as Kenyan-born” and “[h]is wife, Michelle Obama, has twice implied publicly that he is a native of Kenya,” it’s sufficient reason to question where Obama was born. WND tries to immediately downplay this, calling such statements “probably the least compelling reasons to doubt Obama’s eligibility,” but then insists “they have become prominent parts of the Obama eligibility lore.” Indeed, WND has endeavored to make that so -- nearly six pages of its 32-page pamphlet are devoted to recounting these statements.

WND has long desperately promoted any claim, no matter how specious or discredited, to promote the idea that Obama is not a real American. The most notorious example of this is the “Kenyan birth certificate” WND promoted without bothering to verify its authenticity first, before finally conceding the certificate was “probably not authentic.”

A real “eligibility primer” would have included all relevant facts, including the exculpatory ones -- but the full truth is something WND has shown little interest in reporting.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 AM EDT

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