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New York Times’ “Trump Card”: Covering Up GOP “Birther” Idiocy

One of our hair­craft is miss­ing . . .

COMMENT: Well, “The Gray Lady” has dis­tin­guished itself once again. Hav­ing done some­thing worth while–exposing the extent to which the GOP has been pos­sessed by “birther” ide­ol­o­gy (the thor­ough­ly-dis­cred­it­ed view that Oba­ma was not born in the Unit­ed States and isn’t legal­ly-qual­i­fied to be Pres­i­dent–The Times then down­played and then removed the embarass­ing results.

“The New York Times’ Dis­ap­pear­ing Birther Scoop” by Eric Boehlert; Media Mat­ters for Amer­i­ca; 4/22/2011.

EXCERPT: It was per­haps the most talked-about para­graph in the polit­i­cal press yes­ter­day. And then just like that, it was gone.

From the New York Times arti­cle that appeared on the newspaper’s web­site Thurs­day morn­ing, came this pas­sage [empha­sis added]:

A plu­ral­i­ty of Repub­li­can vot­ers, 47 per­cent, said they believed Mr. Oba­ma, who was born in Hawaii, was born in anoth­er coun­try; 22 per­cent said they did not know where he was born, and 32 per­cent said they believed he was born in the Unit­ed States.

The remark­able poll result was just the lat­est indi­ca­tion of how the-world-is-flat-type of con­spir­a­cy about the president’s birth cer­tifi­cate has thor­ough­ly infil­trat­ed the Repub­li­can Par­ty and con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment in Amer­i­ca, to the point where near­ly half of Repub­li­cans believe the lie. (Take a bow Fox News.) To the point where half of Repub­li­cans don’t think Oba­ma is eli­gi­ble to hold office.

But note that there were two pecu­liar things about how the Times han­dled the rev­e­la­tion.

First, in the orig­i­nal arti­cle, the news­pa­per com­plete­ly buried the birther lede. Rather than high­light­ing the block­buster poll find­ing, the Times gave the embar­rass­ing news only a glanc­ing ref­er­ence and stuck the results deep down in the sto­ry, devot­ing just two sen­tences to the birther rev­e­la­tion. Side­step­ping the thorny issue, the Times instead pegged the news sto­ry around the fact that Repub­li­can vot­ers aren’t enthu­si­as­tic about their pos­si­ble White House can­di­dates. (Hint: That’s not exact­ly break­ing news.)

Sec­ond, the much-talked about birther pas­sage from the Times’ polling piece soon dis­ap­peared; it was removed from the orig­i­nal arti­cle, with­out explaina­tion. . . .

Discussion

6 comments for “New York Times’ “Trump Card”: Covering Up GOP “Birther” Idiocy”

  1. Oh Ari­zona, where would we be with­out you?

    And yes, the answer is “gawk at Flori­da”. It was rhetor­i­cal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 20, 2012, 5:34 pm
  2. That drea­ry Con­sti­tu­tion again... It’s all be a delayed Repub­li­can pay­back for not being able to run with the Kissinger\Schwarzenegger dream tick­et. Their cam­paign slo­gan was to be Every Man’s Card­board Box is His Cas­tle.

    Posted by Dwight | May 21, 2012, 8:51 am
  3. Oba­ma just hopes his Israeli dep­u­tized coun­ter­parts — who have been mak­ing kissy-face with the Repubs late­ly, cov­er­ing both their flanks — will hold off on attack­ing Iran till after the elec­tion.

    Maybe there is a deal in the works, anoth­er “Octo­ber Sur­prise”, for them to attack before the elec­tion and swing votes to the Repubs. Although that even might not be enough to elect Rom­ney, who just about every­one hates.

    But get close enough and jim­my with the vot­ing machines in key counties/states could work.

    Denizens of World­Net­Dai­ly — like Jerome (“Swift Boat Vet­er­ans To Sink John Ker­ry”) Cor­si (so beloved of late night fascisti talk radio) — have been push­ing the Birther meta­physic for some time now. It’s past its “drop dead date” so they need a dif­fer­ent schtick.

    Even the NY Times is on to them now!

    Posted by ironcloudz | May 22, 2012, 7:29 am
  4. Signs of the times:

    Huff­in­g­ton Post
    GOP Can­di­date Charges Oppo­nent Is Dead, Rep­re­sent­ed By A Body Dou­ble
    Post­ed: 06/27/2014 12:36 pm EDT
    Sam Levine

    WASHINGTON — Polit­i­cal oppo­nents accuse each oth­er of lying all the time, but one Okla­homa con­gres­sion­al can­di­date took his accu­sa­tion to a new lev­el this week when he claimed his oppo­nent was actu­al­ly dead and being rep­re­sent­ed by a body dou­ble.

    KFOR in Okla­homa reports that Tim­o­thy Ray Mur­ray believes Rep. Frank Lucas (R‑Okla.), his oppo­nent in the con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, was exe­cut­ed three years ago and is being rep­re­sent­ed by a look-alike. Because he believes Lucas is real­ly dead, Mur­ray said he will chal­lenge the results of Tues­day’s Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, in which Mur­ray received 5.2 per­cent of the vote. Lucas won the pri­ma­ry with 82.8 per­cent of the vote.

    “It is wide­ly known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been dis­played by a look alike. Rep. Lucas’ look alike was depict­ed as sen­tenced on a white stage in south­ern Ukraine on or about Jan. 11, 2011,” Mur­ray said in a state­ment post­ed on his cam­paign web­site. The state­ment claimed Lucas and “a few oth­er” mem­bers of Con­gress from Okla­homa and oth­er states were shown on tele­vi­sion being hanged by “The World Court.”

    “I am con­test­ing that this mat­ter has hap­pen [sic] since his elec­tion was blocked, because of the U.S. Defense Department’s use of Mr. Mur­ray’s DNA. To my knowl­edge, the U.S. Defense Depart­ment has not released to the pub­lic that infor­ma­tion, as it is their con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion about many peo­ple,” Mur­ray’s state­ment said.

    Bryan Dean, a spokesman for the Okla­homa State Elec­tion Board, told The Huff­in­g­ton Post that Mur­ray had sent the board a copy of the state­ment post­ed on his web­site but had not for­mal­ly filed a peti­tion ask­ing for a recount or alleg­ing elec­tion irreg­u­lar­i­ties. He has until 5 p.m. Fri­day to do so.

    In the state­ment, Mur­ray, who did not respond to an inter­view request, also reas­sured vot­ers that he is not a body-dou­ble.

    “I, Tim­o­thy Ray Mur­ray, am a human, born in Okla­homa, and obtained and con­tin­ue to ful­ly meet the require­ments to serve as U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive when hon­ored to so. I will nev­er use a look alike to replace my (The Office’s) mes­sage to you or to any­one else, as both the oth­er Repub­li­can Chal­lengers have,” he said.

    Lucas, who has served in Con­gress for the last 20 years, released a state­ment in March about the cri­sis in Ukraine. He told KFOR, how­ev­er, that he has nev­er been to the coun­try where he’s being accused of hav­ing been exe­cut­ed.

    ...

    Good times...good times...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2014, 12:10 pm
  5. It’s the only expla­na­tion:

    TPM Livewire
    GOP Ex-Gov: Oba­ma’s ‘Incit­ing’ Birthers By Plan­ning Trip To Kenya (VIDEO)
    ByTra­cy Walsh
    Pub­lished March 30, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT

    For­mer New Hamp­shire Gov. John Sununu ® said on Mon­day dur­ing an appear­ance on Fox News that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is “incit­ing” birther con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists by plan­ning a trip to Kenya this sum­mer.

    “I think his trip back to Kenya is going to cre­ate a lot of chat­ter and com­men­tary amongst some of the hard right, who still don’t see him as hav­ing been born in the U.S.,” Sununu said on the show “Amer­i­ca’s News­room.”

    “I per­son­al­ly think he’s just incit­ing some chat­ter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago,” he said.

    Oba­ma announced Mon­day morn­ing that he plans to trav­el to Kenya in July to attend the 2015 Glob­al Entre­pre­neur­ship Sum­mit. Con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have long claimed Oba­ma, who was born in Hawaii, was secret­ly born in Kenya and there­fore is not legal­ly qual­i­fied to be Pres­i­dent.

    ...

    The poor birthers. They don’t get a break! This kind of con­stant harass­ment has been going on for years:

    Prove Mit­t’s not a uni­corn, group says in sat­i­riz­ing ‘birthers’

    By Tom Cohen, CNN

    Updat­ed 5:35 AM ET, Thu May 31, 2012

    Birthers, meet “uni­corners” — a lib­er­al group call­ing for proof that Mitt Rom­ney is not a uni­corn.

    Call them “uni­corners.” A lib­er­al group says it has col­lect­ed more than 19,000 e‑mails request­ing Ari­zona offi­cials to con­firm Mitt Rom­ney is not a uni­corn.

    With­out such proof, the group Left Action argues with tongue in cheek, Rom­ney may indeed be a uni­corn — his dark mane hid­ing a horn — and there­fore inel­i­gi­ble to be on the pres­i­den­tial bal­lot in Novem­ber.

    The far­ci­cal cam­paign mim­ics efforts by “birthers,” and some top sup­port­ers of cer­tain Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney, to con­tin­u­al­ly raise the already-set­tled issue of whether Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma meets the Con­sti­tu­tion’s require­ments for cit­i­zen­ship.

    “I feel like we’ve tried log­ic with the birthers for too long,” Left Action founder John Hlinko said Wednes­day. “Now it’s time to take their argu­ments to the log­i­cal extreme to show how absurd they are.”

    While steeped in satire, the uni­corn-birther mat­ter touch­es on deep­er issues as Oba­ma and Rom­ney head into the Novem­ber cam­paign.

    Since before Oba­ma’s elec­tion in 2008, some con­ser­v­a­tives have ques­tioned whether he was born in the Unit­ed States. If not, they said, he was inel­i­gi­ble to serve as pres­i­dent.

    Despite con­clu­sive evi­dence to the con­trary, the issue has remained alive, nur­tured by the con­ser­v­a­tive blo­gos­phere and get­ting raised repeat­ed­ly by Repub­li­can fig­ures.

    Don­ald Trump, whose 2011 cru­sade to unearth details about Oba­ma’s ori­gins drew glob­al atten­tion and prompt­ed the White House to release the pres­i­den­t’s long-form birth cer­tifi­cate, raised the issue again last week.

    Before cam­paign­ing with Rom­ney on Tues­day, Trump bris­tled when told by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he was begin­ning to sound “a lit­tle ridicu­lous” for char­ac­ter­iz­ing the ques­tion of where Oba­ma was born as a mat­ter of opin­ion, rather than fact.

    “You are, Wolf,” Trump fired back. “Let me tell you some­thing, I think you sound ridicu­lous.”

    The Rom­ney cam­paign appears anx­ious to dis­tance itself from the birther issue. When asked Mon­day about Trump’s rais­ing it, Rom­ney said he believes Oba­ma was born in the Unit­ed States.

    “You know, I don’t agree with all the peo­ple who sup­port me, and my guess is, they don’t all agree with every­thing I believe in,” Rom­ney said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more, and I’m appre­cia­tive to have the help of a lot of good peo­ple.”

    Oba­ma’s cam­paign jumped on that com­ment, with deputy man­ag­er Stephanie Cut­ter issu­ing a state­ment Tues­day that said Rom­ney’s “con­tin­ued embrace of Don­ald Trump and refusal to con­demn his dis­grace­ful con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries demon­strates his com­plete lack of moral lead­er­ship.”

    Mean­while, the Rom­ney cam­paign accused Oba­ma sup­port­ers of using the issue to dis­tract atten­tion from the high unem­ploy­ment rate. Rom­ney sur­ro­gate John Sununu, a for­mer New Hamp­shire gov­er­nor, went fur­ther Wednes­day, accus­ing CNN of delib­er­ate­ly focus­ing on the birther issue in sup­port of Oba­ma.

    “Why is CNN so fix­at­ed on this? Why don’t we talk about the jobs issue in this coun­try?” Sununu asked after CNN’s Soledad O’Brien raised the birther issue to start an inter­view. “It’s CNN that wants to bring it up. I don’t want to bring it up. Mitt Rom­ney made it clear that he believes that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma was born in the Unit­ed States.”

    When O’Brien respond­ed that Trump’s rais­ing of the birther issue made it a valid ques­tion about a pos­si­ble major con­trib­u­tor to the Rom­ney cam­paign, Sununu fired back that come­di­an Bill Maher — known for polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect com­men­tary — is a Demo­c­ra­t­ic sup­port­er.

    ...

    Was Rom­ney a uni­corn? LOL! No, that was Abra­ham Lin­coln. That guess was­n’t even close.

    Still, as we can see, soci­ety has been pick­ing on the ‘birthers’ for years. It’s an issues that just won’t go away.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 30, 2015, 7:44 pm
  6. The gen­er­al elec­tion sea­son is now effec­tive­ly ful­ly under­way in the US 2020 pres­i­den­tial now that Joe Biden has select­ed Kamala Har­ris to be his vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee. And that means we’re going to be get­ting clar­i­ty on the nature of the giant right-wing dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign that’s going to be tar­get­ing the Biden cam­paign in com­ing months. It was already a giv­en that the Biden cam­paign would be char­ac­ter­ized as some sort of far left com­mu­nist tro­jan horse work­ing on behalf of BLM and antifa to over­throw the con­sti­tu­tion and drag decent con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians from their homes in com­ing waves of vio­lence. Those memes have been build­ing for months and were a guar­an­tee no mat­ter who Biden chose. The inter­est­ing ques­tion now is what dis­in­for­ma­tion will spe­cif­ic be trot­ted out to tar­get Kamala Har­ris.

    Will it be a mix of real infor­ma­tion com­bined with some clever false­hoods or will it just be straight up fan­ta­sy trash? We should prob­a­bly expect a bit of both. Quite a bit of both. But anoth­er inter­est­ing ques­tion is whether or not we’re going to see new nov­el far right memes or if they’ll be resort­ing to the pre­vail­ing ‘oldie but good­ie’ memes. And as the fol­low­ing Raw Sto­ry piece describes, we already have an answer, at least when it comes to the ini­tial memes Har­ris-spe­cif­ic memes and, fit­ting­ly, social media trolls are going with the ulti­mate Trump-inspired clas­sic: ‘Birtherism’:

    Raw Sto­ry

    Kamala Har­ris is already being giv­en the ‘birther’ treat­ment in viral Face­book posts

    By Brad Reed
    on August 12, 2020

    Sen. Kamala Har­ris (D‑CA), who was cho­sen by pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Biden as his run­ning mate on Tues­day, is already being flood­ed with “birther” con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries sim­i­lar to the ones used by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump against for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma.

    FactCheck.org has tak­en stock of sev­er­al Face­book posts being wide­ly shared that false­ly claim that Har­ris is not eli­gi­ble to serve as pres­i­dent under the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    “If crazy Joe can­not serve his full term, Kamala can­not by con­sti­tu­tion­al law become Pres­i­dent,” reads one post that start­ed mak­ing the rounds even before Biden announced Har­ris as his selec­tion. “She is an anchor baby, moth­er is from India, father is Jamaican, and nei­ther were amer­i­can cit­i­zens at time of her birth.”

    Of course, thanks to the Constitution’s birthright cit­i­zen­ship clause, it doesn’t mat­ter if Harris’s par­ents were cit­i­zens at the time of her birth. Once she was born in Oak­land, we became an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen.

    “To serve as pres­i­dent, one must be at least 35 years old, have been a res­i­dent of the Unit­ed States for at least 14 years, and be a ‘nat­ur­al born Cit­i­zen’ (Arti­cle II, sec. 1 of the Con­sti­tu­tion),” explains Josh Chafetz, a pro­fes­sor at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty Law Cen­ter, in an email to FactCheck.

    ...

    ————-

    “Kamala Har­ris is already being giv­en the ‘birther’ treat­ment in viral Face­book posts” by Brad Reed; Raw Sto­ry; 08/12/2020

    ““If crazy Joe can­not serve his full term, Kamala can­not by con­sti­tu­tion­al law become Pres­i­dent,” reads one post that start­ed mak­ing the rounds even before Biden announced Har­ris as his selec­tion. “She is an anchor baby, moth­er is from India, father is Jamaican, and nei­ther were amer­i­can cit­i­zens at time of her birth.”

    Kamala Har­ris was an “anchor baby” who there­fore should­n’t be con­sid­ered a valid US cit­i­zen. That’s the par­tic­u­lar vari­ant of “birtherism” that the right-wing appears to be going with. It’s a meme that starts off with the dis­in­for­ma­tion that assumes Har­ris is an “anchor baby”, a term usu­al­ly applied to chil­dren born in the US to par­ents who aren’t in the US legal­ly. But in Har­ris’s case both her par­ents were in the US legal­ly as grad­u­ate stu­dents when they met and had Kamala. But also keep in mind that the right-wing has long been call­ing for an end to the con­sti­tu­tion­al birth-right cit­i­zen­ship rules that con­fer cit­i­zen­ship to any­one born in the US, with demands that cit­i­zen­ship only be grant­ed to peo­ple born in the US to US cit­i­zens. So it’s effec­tive­ly a call for revok­ing the cit­i­zen­ship of any­one in the US who was born to non-cit­i­zen par­ents. Recall how Trump has rou­tine­ly called for end­ing birthright cit­i­zen­ship and has hint­ed that he was look­ing at repeal­ing it, mak­ing this a meme that fits with that Trumpian theme. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle from July of 2019 makes clear, it’s an attack on Har­ris the Trump team has been think­ing about mak­ing for a while now as part of a broad­er meme sug­gest­ing she’s not a real African Amer­i­can:

    CNN

    How Kamala Har­ris con­spir­a­cies fes­tered online before mak­ing it to Trump Jr.

    By Donie O’Sul­li­van, CNN

    Updat­ed 4:11 PM ET, Mon July 1, 2019

    New York (CNN)Attempts to under­mine Sen. Kamala Har­ris’ racial iden­ti­ty had been fes­ter­ing on con­spir­a­to­r­i­al cor­ners of the inter­net for months before being ele­vat­ed to the main­stream by Don­ald Trump Jr. dur­ing last week’s debate, an expert that tracks online mis­in­for­ma­tion tells CNN.

    In addi­tion to efforts to under­mine Har­ris’ iden­ti­ty as a black woman, a false claim that Har­ris is not eli­gi­ble to run for pres­i­dent because both of her par­ents are for­eign-born has also been cir­cu­lat­ing. The claim has echoes of the false birther con­spir­a­cy that was spread about Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma — and some of the same peo­ple involved in spread­ing that con­spir­a­cy are involved in cir­cu­lat­ing the false claims about Har­ris.

    Soon after Har­ris’ debate-defin­ing moment when she recount­ed being bused to school as a lit­tle girl, a swarm of Twit­ter accounts, many anony­mous, began spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion about the sen­a­tor’s race.

    “You. Are. Not. Black,” one Twit­ter user, who was sus­pend­ed from the ser­vice the fol­low­ing morn­ing, tweet­ed at Har­ris soon after the Cal­i­for­nia sen­a­tor con­front­ed for­mer vice pres­i­dent Joe Biden about his com­ments on work­ing with seg­re­ga­tion­ist sen­a­tors and his past oppo­si­tion to bus­ing.

    Trump Jr. ampli­fied those attacks when, on Thurs­day, he shared a tweet sent by one user with the asser­tion, “Kamala Har­ris is *not* an Amer­i­can Black. She is half Indi­an and half Jamaican.”

    “Is this true? Wow,” Trump Jr. asked along with the shared tweet. He lat­er delet­ed his tweet. A spokesman for Trump Jr. told The New York Times that there had been a mis­un­der­stand­ing.

    “Don’s tweet was sim­ply him ask­ing if it was true that Kamala Har­ris was half-Indi­an because it’s not some­thing he had ever heard before,” Andy Sura­bi­an, the spokesman told The Times, adding, “and once he saw that folks were mis­con­stru­ing the intent of his tweet, he quick­ly delet­ed it.”

    ...

    Ben­jamin T. Deck­er, the founder of Memet­i­ca, a dig­i­tal inves­ti­ga­tions con­sul­tan­cy, tracked a meme that tries to equate Har­ris to Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who por­trayed her­self as black..

    Deck­er began track­ing the online con­ver­sa­tion about Har­ris after she announced her can­di­da­cy in Jan­u­ary. At the time, Deck­er was a fel­low at Har­vard’s Shoren­stein Cen­ter study­ing online mis­in­for­ma­tion and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of extrem­ist con­tent across social media.

    Deck­er said the first instance of the meme he found online was from 2018 on the “The_Donald,” a forum for Trump sup­port­ers on Red­dit. The forum has been embraced by Trump and his cir­cle, but last week Red­dit “quar­an­tined” the forum because of what it said were “threats of vio­lence against police and pub­lic offi­cials.”

    He then tracked how the meme spread across Twit­ter, Pin­ter­est, 4chan and oth­er plat­forms, writ­ing about it for Politi­co ear­li­er this year.

    “By com­par­ing Har­ris to Rachel Dolezal the meme cre­ators tried to stoke iden­ti­ty false­hoods about Har­ris ‘black­ness’ as well as sug­gest­ing that she is hid­ing the truth about who she is,” Deck­er told CNN on Mon­day.

    Birther con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have also cir­cu­lat­ed mate­r­i­al chal­leng­ing Har­ris’ eli­gi­bil­i­ty to run for pres­i­dent. Har­ris, who was born in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, is eli­gi­ble to run for pres­i­dent.

    “The adver­sar­i­al attack on Har­ris’ eli­gi­bil­i­ty high­lights how polit­i­cal dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tors recy­cle nar­ra­tives that have had suc­cess in the past with hyper-par­ti­san com­mu­ni­ties,” Deck­er explained, adding that some of the main archi­tects of the birther con­spir­a­cy against Oba­ma are uti­liz­ing social media to spread sim­i­lar false­hoods about Har­ris.

    A Twit­ter spokesper­son told CNN Sun­day that accounts attack­ing Har­ris’ race dur­ing the debate were not auto­mat­ic “bots.”

    “We saw no coor­di­nat­ed use of automa­tion dur­ing recent debates,” a Twit­ter spokesper­son said.

    But Deck­er said that even with­out the use of auto­mat­ed accounts, it was pos­si­ble that indi­vid­u­als coor­di­nat­ed to spread the attacks. Automa­tion, he said, is eas­i­er to detect, while groups of Twit­ter users coor­di­nat­ing to spread a smear is more dif­fi­cult and presents an even more dif­fi­cult chal­lenge for Twit­ter.

    Har­ris has pre­vi­ous­ly answered those who have ques­tioned her black her­itage.

    In an inter­view with The Break­fast Club hosts DJ Envy and Char­la­m­agne Tha God that aired in March, the show’s hosts asked the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­rat to address a series of deroga­to­ry memes that have cir­cu­lat­ed on social media. One of the hosts cit­ed a meme that said Har­ris is “not African-Amer­i­can” because her par­ents were immi­grants and she spent her high school years in Cana­da.

    “So I was born in Oak­land, and raised in the Unit­ed States except for the years that I was in high school in Mon­tre­al, Cana­da,” Har­ris respond­ed at the time with a laugh. “And look, this is the same thing they did to Barack (Oba­ma). This is not new to us and so I think that we know what they are try­ing to do.”

    ...

    ————

    “How Kamala Har­ris con­spir­a­cies fes­tered online before mak­ing it to Trump Jr.” by Donie O’Sul­li­van; CNN; 07/01/2019

    In addi­tion to efforts to under­mine Har­ris’ iden­ti­ty as a black woman, a false claim that Har­ris is not eli­gi­ble to run for pres­i­dent because both of her par­ents are for­eign-born has also been cir­cu­lat­ing. The claim has echoes of the false birther con­spir­a­cy that was spread about Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma — and some of the same peo­ple involved in spread­ing that con­spir­a­cy are involved in cir­cu­lat­ing the false claims about Har­ris.”

    She’s not a real Amer­i­can cit­i­zen and an appro­pri­a­tor of African Amer­i­can cul­ture. Those were the memes get­ting pushed out last year dur­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­maries soon after Har­ris had a high-pro­file night of debates. So these memes were a reac­tionary response to her ris­ing star at that point in the nom­i­na­tion process, with Don­ald Trump Jr him­self push­ing them. And when mis­in­for­ma­tion track­ers found the ori­gin of the meme they dis­cov­ered it first sur­faced in 2018 on the “The_Donald”:

    ...
    Soon after Har­ris’ debate-defin­ing moment when she recount­ed being bused to school as a lit­tle girl, a swarm of Twit­ter accounts, many anony­mous, began spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion about the sen­a­tor’s race.

    ...

    Trump Jr. ampli­fied those attacks when, on Thurs­day, he shared a tweet sent by one user with the asser­tion, “Kamala Har­ris is *not* an Amer­i­can Black. She is half Indi­an and half Jamaican.”

    “Is this true? Wow,” Trump Jr. asked along with the shared tweet. He lat­er delet­ed his tweet. A spokesman for Trump Jr. told The New York Times that there had been a mis­un­der­stand­ing.

    “Don’s tweet was sim­ply him ask­ing if it was true that Kamala Har­ris was half-Indi­an because it’s not some­thing he had ever heard before,” Andy Sura­bi­an, the spokesman told The Times, adding, “and once he saw that folks were mis­con­stru­ing the intent of his tweet, he quick­ly delet­ed it.”

    ...

    Ben­jamin T. Deck­er, the founder of Memet­i­ca, a dig­i­tal inves­ti­ga­tions con­sul­tan­cy, tracked a meme that tries to equate Har­ris to Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who por­trayed her­self as black..

    Deck­er began track­ing the online con­ver­sa­tion about Har­ris after she announced her can­di­da­cy in Jan­u­ary. At the time, Deck­er was a fel­low at Har­vard’s Shoren­stein Cen­ter study­ing online mis­in­for­ma­tion and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of extrem­ist con­tent across social media.

    Deck­er said the first instance of the meme he found online was from 2018 on the “The_Donald,” a forum for Trump sup­port­ers on Red­dit. The forum has been embraced by Trump and his cir­cle, but last week Red­dit “quar­an­tined” the forum because of what it said were “threats of vio­lence against police and pub­lic offi­cials.”

    He then tracked how the meme spread across Twit­ter, Pin­ter­est, 4chan and oth­er plat­forms, writ­ing about it for Politi­co ear­li­er this year.

    “By com­par­ing Har­ris to Rachel Dolezal the meme cre­ators tried to stoke iden­ti­ty false­hoods about Har­ris ‘black­ness’ as well as sug­gest­ing that she is hid­ing the truth about who she is,” Deck­er told CNN on Mon­day.

    Birther con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have also cir­cu­lat­ed mate­r­i­al chal­leng­ing Har­ris’ eli­gi­bil­i­ty to run for pres­i­dent. Har­ris, who was born in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, is eli­gi­ble to run for pres­i­dent.
    ...

    So that’s our pre­view of the upcom­ing Kamala Har­ris dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign. A dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign that dou­bles as a call for retroac­tive­ly strip­ping cit­i­zen­ship of any­one who was born in the US to immi­grant par­ents.

    But also keep in mind that if peo­ple born to non-cit­i­zen immi­grant par­ents aren’t con­sid­ered cit­i­zens that also implies these peo­ple should­n’t be allowed to vote either. And that rais­es the ques­tion of how much the Trump cam­paign is plan­ning on focus­ing on Har­ris’s immi­grant par­ents as part of the broad­er push to pre­emp­tive­ly dele­git­imize the out­come of the elec­tion. It was a cam­paign theme for Trump in 2015 and 2016, so will we be hear­ing about mil­lions of fake Amer­i­cans like Kamala out there all scheme to ille­gal­ly vote with their fake cit­i­zen­ship? At this point it would almost be sur­pris­ing if that was­n’t a Trump theme. A fake accu­sa­tion over a fake issue in order to inval­i­date the votes of mil­lions and under­mine the elec­tion. That sure fits the Trumpian theme. Fits like a straight­jack­et.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 12, 2020, 3:20 pm

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