Just the other day the Birther blog, Birther Report breathlessly reported that “CBS NEWS” was calling for Obama to release documents and questioning whether he was a foreign exchange student.
Come to find out, Scott Paulson was just another blogger posting at a local CBS news website. I let that one pass. Now, Birther Report has this story up, wherein Yahoo News is supposedly pimping some silly Birther book:
Birther Report isn’t out and out lying, but they are dissembling:
dis·sem·ble (dî-sčmąbel) verb, transitive 1. To disguise or conceal behind a false appearance. 2. To make a false show of; feign. verb, intransitive To disguise or conceal one’s real nature, motives, or feelings behind a false appearance.
Why would anybody think that Yahoo News had any independent interest at all in something like this:
Just in time for the 2012 presidential elections, author Bob Gard has released an eBook that sheds light on a controversy that, over the last few years, has become a grim contest of political wills. The book offers a historically verified definition of the term “natural born citizen” as it appears in the presidential eligibility clause in Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution.
With the ponderous but eminently searchable title of “On Gard, Obama, You Are An Unconstitutional President Because You Are Not A Natural-Born Citizen, Which I Shall Prove Beyond A Reasonable Doubt,” this 1,722-page volume lays out conclusive, verbatim evidence that the reader can analyze independently of the writer’s own opinions. Available at Amazon.com, the eBook can be downloaded on PCs in the Microsoft Word™ 2010 “docx” file format. The 175-megabyte file requires a longer-than-average downloading time, and some readers may experience intermittent warnings of “not responding.” Author Bob Gard says, “The wait will be worth it for those who wish to follow a path back to constitutionality.”
If you read it more closely you see that the PRWeb is a publicity service, wherein the person who wishes to get his story out pays them a fee to publicize the “news.” Here is a link to PRWeb’s FAQ page:
Here is how it works:
So, neither CBS News or Yahoo News were behind the respective stories. Yahoo News got it from some third party. Who knows whether money changed hands at that level or not. So why would Birther Report do something like this??? Why didn’t they just run a story about the book without all the Yahoo News gloss???
I think it is for the same reason World Net Daily and all the Birther blogs hopped on the “Israeli science website says” story a few weeks back? It was an attempt to portray a non-existent consensus behind the story. This is a form of logical fallacy:
This type of argument is known by several names, including appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, democracy, argument by consensus, consensus fallacy,authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin as argumentum ad numerum (“appeal to the number”), and consensus gentium (“agreement of the clans”). It is also the basis of a number of social phenomena, including communal reinforcement and the bandwagon effect. The Chinese proverb “three men make a tiger” concerns the same idea.
This fallacy is similar in structure to certain other fallacies that involve a confusion between the justification of a belief and its widespread acceptance by a given group of people. When an argument uses the appeal to the beliefs of a group of supposed experts, it takes on the form of an appeal to authority; if the appeal is to the beliefs of a group of respected elders or the members of one’s community over a long period of time, then it takes on the form of an appeal to tradition.
The truth is, the only people who really believe the Birther nonsense are other Birthers. When the mainstream press notices these kind of stories, it is for the same reason they do stories on Honey Boo Boo. So that normal people can marvel at some of the abnormal people who make up the human race. Or, with Birthers, to drive a few more people to voting for Democrats next month.
Note 1. The Image. This is one of Anna Held’s fencing girls from the Little Duchess.
The Little Duchess was the next production in which Ziegfeld positioned his wife and star product. The Little Duchess had a similar plot and song format to Papa’s Wife and many of the same cast members. Again Ziegfeld surrounded Held with tall, slim women. This time the show-stealing number featured the chorus girls in an elaborately staged, all-girl fencing scene. It was not the fencing talent of the girls that caused the public to scramble to tickets, but the beauty and sensuality of the all-girl physical number that had people talking (Mordden 63). The production cost Ziegfeld fifty thousand dollars and opened at the Casino Theatre in October of 1901. Ziegfeld and Held had another huge success on their hands. The Little Duchess ran for 136 performances and toured from October 1902 until May of 1903.
Note 2. The Image Caption and Easter Egg. In language, to couch is to phrase your words in a certain manner. If you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, you should couch your words carefully when you tell her that her everyone is leaving her party early.
Point : Touche a valid touch; the tip of the sword; an attack made with the point (ie. a thrust)
This is all playing off of Bob Gard’s title, which begins “On Gard. . .”
En Garde : En Garde also On Guard; the fencing position; the stance that fencers assume when preparing to fence.
Settee: set·tee, noun. A long upholstered seat for more than one person, typically with a back and arms
Note 3. Links. Here are individual links to the Birther Report stories: