from the Lincoln Journal Star
Some friends pointed out to me that the Daily Show made a similar joke. I was leaning toward pulling the cartoon because of that, but after viewing the video the folks at the LJS decided the cartoon was different enough to still be worth running. Maybe this incident will help keep me off my high horse the next time another big cartoonist groupthink moment happens.
But speaking of groupthink, Nebraska StatePaper.com publisher David Hahn decided to enter the birtharena yesterday. Just a word of warning to potential birthers — offering a defensive disclaimer that you’ll probably get labeled a birther doesn’t make your birtherism any less birtherrific.
You know you’re in for a treat when a column includes a line like “We have not checked sources, but there are reports that some witnessed his birth in Kenya.” On its own, a line like that seems lazy and irresponsible. It’s downright jaw-dropping when you consider that kind of recklessness is part of a column about getting the facts out and setting the record straight.
Hahn offers up what I like to call Sensible Birtherism™ — you distance yourself from the actual birthers, even perhaps suggesting you’re above the fray, yet you still legitimize and advance their claims by acting as if there is still a legitimate issue. The most popular version of this is “Obama should be doing more to respond to these critics.” You get to pretend as if you’re detached and objective, yet you — like the birthers — still choose to ignore the most significant facts — that Obama has provided proof, he has allowed reputable third parties to see the proof and he already has responded to the conspiracy theorists (see FighttheSmears.com, the website he set up during the campaign in an attempt to set the record straight regarding various baseless conspiracy theories) — and none of that is good enough.
And even if he were to release his original birth certificate and send it around the country to each individual birther to inspect, that would still be insufficient. Alex Koppelman at Salon points out that birthers have come up with an 18-point list of proof demands beyond the original, and prominent birthers like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage started casting preemptive doubts on the original document starting back in October 2008.