WE ARE THE WORLDS DUMBEST PEOPLE! Obama released a document. A reign of sheer foolishness followed: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2011
The wages of incomprehension: The wages of incomprehension become rather clear in todays New York Times.
For the record, were speaking about elite incomprehensionthe kind found on the editorial board of the New York Times.
Unfortunately, Nawi is right. As we noted yesterday, the clueless editors failed to address the questions and claims that continue to swirl in the wider discussionquestions and claims which keep driving this nonsense along.
Why didnt Obama release the long-form certificate three years ago? People like Nawi are hearing this question in the world of conservative talk. The question comes with several insinuations: Obama was playing politics all along! (That seems to be Nawis suggestion.) Or: Maybe this alleged new document is really just a fake!
Nawi is right when he says the editors skipped right past this question. He is also right when he says that this was an obvious question. But the editors live in a fancy board room located very high on Olympus. Theyre too dumb, too lazy, too self-enthralled to immerse themselves in the parts of the world where questions like this are swirling.
Most likely, the editors were simply too dumb to know that Nawis question is driving the debate on this garbage.
The editors should have answered that question, as we noted yesterday. They should have explained what happened in 2008, a year they didnt seem able to name. Here it is: In 2008, Obama released his home states sole official birth document, the so-called short form birth certificate. (To his credit, Nawi understands the terminology of this discussion. Yesterday, the editors pretty much didnt.) The document Obama released at that time was his states legal birth document; its the kind of document any citizen gets from the state of Hawaii if he requests his birth certificate. The long form document released this week is not an official state document. Indeed, Obama had to get a special legal ruling from the state of Hawaii before this new document could be released to him, let alone to the public.
Fairly obviously, that is why Obama didnt release the long form document when the question first arose. It was a massive flaw in the editors work that they didnt explain this fact. Their cluelessness leads directly to letters like Nawis, just as we explained yesterday. And guess what? Nawi isnt alone! Many people read yesterdays editorial and wondered why the editors ignored this obvious question.
Many conservative readers, people like Nawi, thought the editors were ducking this rather obvious question. That helps keep this bullshit alive.
As we explained yesterday, the editors skipped this seminal point in part because they were rushing ahead to an Official Approved Highly Pleasing Standard Group Talking-Pointthe kind of talking-point pseudo-journalists truly love. In a second letter, a liberal reader recites this pleasing script:
Like Nawi, Spiegler understands the basic terminology of this discussion. (Yesterday, the editors pretty much didnt.) But in this case, the writer is eager to recite the liberal worlds key talking-point: This garbage is about all race! Please note: Spiegler throws our cultures most serious charge around, but he doesnt bother to make himself clear about just who he is accusing. Some people will never accept that a man of color was able to win the presidency, he says. By that, does he mean that all birthers are driven by race? Are they the some people to whom he refers? His accusation isnt clearbut so what? He got the talking-point out, like the editors. And the point feels good all the way down
Well discuss the racial claim below. For now, lets consider the editors.
Yesterday, they failed to answer an obvious question, thus keeping hope alive in the highly gullible Obama-hating part of the electorate. But then, these people have always been too great, too grand, too haughty, too fine to see the real shape of the world.
Monumental nonsense has spewed from this room in the past twenty years of our lives. This board ran gong-show campaigns against Clinton and Gore. Today, the board is too dumb to know how to tackle the latest gong-show campaign, the one being waged on Obama.
WE ARE THE WORLDS DUMBEST PEOPLE (permalink): On Wednesday morning, Barack Obama released the so-called long form version of his birth certificatean outmoded document that is no longer used for any legal purpose. He had released the official form of his birth certificate three long years before.
On Wednesday, Obama released this second document. This touched off an orgy of world-class stupidity on Wednesday evenings cable programs. But then, gross incompetence was widely displayed all through the mainstream press.
Even at this late date in our decline, its stunning to see how poorly our mainstream press corps functions. For simplicity sake, lets try to break Wednesday nights nonsense into three basic components:
They dont know how to do facts: Your press corps has basically lost the ability to clarify facts. Consider this, the first exchange between Jim Lehrer and Dan Balz on Wednesday evenings NewsHour:
Good lord. In this, their first exchange, Balz and Lehrer established the notion that Obama had just released his real birth certificate. Lehrer didnt challenge Balzs language; he himself described the new document as the full copy of the certificate.
Earlier, Lehrer had managed to say the following: Mr. Obama released the short version of his birth certificate during his campaign in 2008. Today, White House officials released the long form, showing again that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. But he never explained that the short version of his birth certificate is the state of Hawaiis official legal documentthe states only official birth document. By the time Balz got done, viewers might well think that Obama has been withholding the real birth certificate for lo, these past three years.
Its hardly surprising coming from Lehrer, but this was a grossly incompetent piece of explanation. This presentation almost seems designed to keep this nonsense alive. (Why didnt Obama release his real birth certificate way back in 2008?) But then, the mainstream press has never been able to establish even the simplest facts of this case.
On quite a few occasions in the past three years, we have tried to get clear on the difference between the so-called short and long forms of this document. Even at our major fact check sites, the tyros didnt seem up to the task of making the distinction clear. They didnt seem to know what was being said in the wider discussion. They didnt know what kinds of facts they needed to clarify.
The fact-check sites never made these facts clear. In the wider mainstream press, this incompetence continued right through this past Monday night. Consider:
On April 22, Politico published a long report on this general topic. (Birtherism: Where it began.) We were quite surprised by the highlighted facts:
Say what? Obama himself was forbidden by law from releasing the long form document? For quite a long time, various crackpots had been asking why Obama had withheld this document. If Smith and Tau were right, they were reporting a hugely relevant factbut in our various journeys, we had never seen anyone else report it.
As things turned out, Smith and Tau were rightObama had to get a special legal ruling to let him release the long form document. But as late as Monday night, CNN still didnt seem to understand this, even as the channel launched a special two-night attempt to clarify this general topic.
For two nights, Anderson Cooper clowned with Donald Trump, wearing his special furrowed-brow look to let us know that he disapproved of the things Trump was saying. And not only that! Cooper had sent Gary Tuchman to Hawaii to get the complete straight dope! But when Tuchman reported on Monday night, the hapless reporter said this:
Jesus. Even after Politicos report, Tuchman showed no sign of knowing that Obama would be forbidden by law from just releasing a copy of his original birth certificate. This extremely relevant fact went unreported again.
Eventually, Tuchman threw to Cooper, who had his furrowed-brow look going. Here at THE HOWLER, we still didnt known if Smith and Tau had been right.
Your press corps is a Potemkin village. In essence, theyre a gang of carnival barkers hired to impersonate journalists. They have long since lost the ability to establish, or even recognize, the most basic facts. This has simply ceased to be a serious part of their culture.
They love to send in the clowns: On Wednesday evening, Lawrence ODonnell invited the utterly ludicrous Orly Taitz to guest on his cable news program. The very great, very fiery liberal teased Taitz all through the night:
Orly Taitz is a ginormous nutone of the biggest in the jar. Its conceivable that shes mentally ill. But after all the teasing was done, ODonnell was an even bigger fool than Taitz this particular night. He shouted and yelled and interrupted and kept talking over the ludicrous Taitz, giving us liberal rubes a very big thrill up our legs. (To watch the whole segment, click this.) Eventually, he killed Taitzs microphone altogether, excitedly telling us this:
I did not expect this to go this way. If you believe that, we have a bridge to Taitzs original home in Moldova that were willing to sell you.
By the way: Did ODonnell really cut this segment short? Did this really give him more time for Barney Frank? Please. He broke for commercial, then returned with Frankand the interview lasted exactly four minutes and five seconds. To watch the full segment, just click this. Could it have been any shorter?
Final point: After his very-short session with Frank, ODonnell threw to Darling Rachel. Treating you like world-class fools, the adorable child said this:
In Obamas phrase, theyre carnival barkers. You, of course, are their marks. (This exchange with Maddow can be seen at the end of the Barney Frank segment.)
Others clowned on Wednesday nights programs. Ed Schultz aggressively talked over Amy Holmes, letting us glory in his strength. Speaking with ODonnell, Jonathan Capehart boo-hooed about his own academic hard times; in the process, he made it sound like Obama was a shit-bum the Harvard Law School found asleep inside an old carton. (Jonathan Alter quickly stepped in, repairing Capeharts blunder.)
But ODonnell took the cake. Do you trust these carnival barkers?
We are the worlds dumbest people: The mainstream press corps fumbled and flailed. But then, theres us, the liberal world, for whom it just has to be race.
Has any group of human beings ever been any dumber? Major Democrats have been getting trashed in crackpot ways for lo, the past twenty years. The Clintons were crazily trashed, and so was Gore; after that, Kerry got swift-boated. (Were so old that we can remember when liberals remembered that episode!) But every liberal has now memorized the most pleasing refrain in liberal politicsthe refrain in which we insist that the crackpot trashing of Obama must be all about race!
On Wednesday, one of the genuine cowards of the pseudo-liberal world recited this point for ODonnell. David Remnick discussed the way the idiot Trump is dissing Obamas grades:
We have no idea why Remnick said he would have thought that Donald Trump would know better. To recall Remnicks cowardice in the face of an earlier slander campaign, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/19/06.
Eventually, Remnick got to the facts: [Obama] was not a terrible student. He was a pretty good student at Occidental. He transferred to Columbia, was an even better student. And he got into Harvard Law School, no mean trick.
Barack Obama himself has discussed the fact that affirmative action may have played some role in getting into Harvard Law, Remnick now said, undercutting his case. But Remnick knew what this had to bethis had to be race-baiting. He went on to offer an even more dramatic account of Trumps suggestion that Obamas couldnt have written his own first book. Remnick compared this act of disrespect to the ancient belief that Frederick Douglass couldnt have written his books.
Trump is one of the biggest buffoons ever allowed on the stage. But does this really have to be race? Major candidates have been getting mocked about their grades and their books for the past twenty years. What follows is a bit different from Trumps complaints about Obamas college grades. But on March 19, 2000, the Washington Post devoted 1600 front-page words to a mocking account of Candidate Gores college grades. David Maraniss pushed quite a few derisive buttons this day:
Maraniss went on and on, openly mocking the self-proclaimed inventor of the Internet, who had a reputation for being sometimes pedantic. Eventually, Maraniss raised the question of how Gore got into Harvard. And not only that: Why didnt Candidate Gore release his transcripts?
Do these themes sound familiar?
Lets be clear: Maraniss was apparently reporting a bunch of facts; he said hed obtained Gores actual transcripts, for high school, for college, even for divinity school. (For ourselves, wed quibble with one minor factual pointhis use of the word occasionally.) But he, like Trump, raised the question of whether Gore had earned his way into Harvard. And can we talk? Based on what Remnick told ODonnell, Trump may even have a bit of a point; Obama may have been helped by affirmative action, just as Gore may have been helped by the high status of his father.
Or so Maraniss, through Davis, now said.
Trump is behaving like a buffoonbut so were Davis and Maraniss, to the extent that Maraniss was pushing a whole set of buttons from the press corps assault on Gore. And by the way: Candidate Gore had once written a widely-praised book, just like Candidate Obama. But as the press corps war unfolded, that book was ridiculed, mocked. No one said ever Gore didnt write it. (Trump is pimping the ludicrous claim that Obamas book was written by the terrorist Ayers.) But in the pages of the New York Times, Earth in the Balance was repeatedly mocked as Candidate Gores midlife crisis book (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/12/07). And good grief: When Michiko Kakutani re-examined Gores book for the Times, she made the book all about Naomi Wolf, who played no role in the book at allmuch as Trump is now linking Dreams from My Father to Ayers. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/23/07.
These cases arent perfectly parallel; they almost never are. But candidates have been getting mocked for their grades and their books for some time now, although the liberal world seems to have no awareness of any event before 2007. Has there ever been a less informed cohort? Consider how dumb Darling Rachel was in pursuit of the pseudo-liberally mandated it-has-to-be-racism trope:
On Wednesday night, the darling child discussed the moronic attacks on Obama. At one point, she mused about the nations soulthen recited the mandated point. For starters, can you spot a small logical flaw in this childs meditation?
Can you see the small flaw there? Maddow started by noting that people believe a lot of dumb stuff, about a whole lot of things. Why then is it automatically racistwhite supremacist!if they believe dumb stuff about Obama along with everything else? That said, a much larger logical flaw infected this hopeless childs logic this night. Believe it or croak, this is how Maddow began her long ramble. The crackpot author to whom she refers is, of course, Jerome Corsi:
Please note where Maddow started. She recalled the swift-boating of John Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004. She noted that the guy who wrote that lethal, crackpot book about Kerry has now written a crackpot book about Obamas birth. Lets review: Corsi wrote a crackpot book about Kerry. Then, he wrote a crackpot book about Obama.
Why is the second crackpot book automatically said to be racist? Because thats where this hopeless child quickly went, after this promising start.
Earth to liberals: Democratic nominees have been getting swift-boated since 1992! (Unless you count Dukakis, which makes it 1988.) Crackpot claims have rained on their heads in every single raceand very major public figures have driven these campaigns along. Jerry Falwell, who said both Clintons were killers, was every bit as big a cheese as Donald Trump is today.
This has been going on for the last twenty years! In the years after Kerry, the liberal world began to develop a language to discuss this conduct: swift-boating. But in 2008, Obama began to get swift-boated. And everything except his race flew right out of our heads.
White liberals reverted to our greatest joythe joy of yelling race.
The liberal world has now forgotten about all this earlier conduct. On Wednesday night, we were all over the TV machine thingy, showing how astoundingly weak our own limbic brains really are.