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The Internet's New Alternate Reality

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-true-i-read-it-on-the-interweb dept.

The Internet 869

Hugh Pickens writes "Tim Rutten writes in the LA Times that when President Obama released his long form birth certificate last week, one of the striking things about the reaction to the president's calm and — to reasonable minds — entirely persuasive appearance in the White House briefing room Wednesday was the rapidity and ease with which so many leading birthers rejected the evidence he presented. 'Until very recently, if every professional news organization in the nation examined a charge and found it baseless, it was — for all intents and purposes — dropped,' writes Rutten. 'Today, the growth of the Internet has drained the noun "news" of its former authority. If you don't like the facts presented on the sites of established news organizations, you simply keep clicking until you find one whose "facts" accord with your beliefs.'"

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kind of like the police (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008296)

You are supposed to trust the police, but then one of them treats you like shit. Then you end up not trusting any of them.

It is easy to criticize people for not trusting the media, but who hasn't been intentionally lied to by the media? The blame belongs on a lot of people here. Don't just blame the birthers.

Re:kind of like the police (5, Insightful)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008452)

Damn right. The pundits screaming Obama is a socialist, communist, nazi, islamic, athiest who wasn't born in the US on the Faux news network, the idea that the media would then subsequently blame the internet for this is laughable and pathetic.

Re:kind of like the police (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008516)

This isn't about the internet. It's just basic human behaviour. Look at religion for an example of the same types of thinking for the last few thousand years. Any time one of the basic beliefs of a religion is proven false, they either route around it or ignore it.

Re:kind of like the police (2, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008572)

The pundits screaming Obama is a socialist, communist, nazi, islamic, athiest who wasn't born in the US on the Faux news network...

By definition, idiots like Hannity and Beck are not "pundits". [wikipedia.org]

Re:kind of like the police (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008578)

To clarify: If you consider the Faux Nooz commentators "pundits", then so is the goatse troll.

Re:kind of like the police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008702)

To clarify: If you consider the Faux Nooz commentators "pundits", then so is the goatse troll.

what channel is the goatse troll on ?

Re:kind of like the police (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008744)

I don't need that much insight into anything. I'll stick with tub-girl thanks.

Re:kind of like the police (5, Insightful)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008462)

You are supposed to trust the police, but then one of them treats you like shit. Then you end up not trusting any of them.

It is easy to criticize people for not trusting the media, but who hasn't been intentionally lied to by the media? The blame belongs on a lot of people here. Don't just blame the birthers.

It's not just about trust. It's a failure of critical and rational thinking, and people opting for news sources that'll tell them what they want to hear. Plenty of these wingnuts trust Fox News because the channel will give them exactly what they want to see. The Internet has blurred the lines somewhat, with people pointing to blogs and any random site as being authoritative - simply because it happens to agree with their own beliefs.

It's a country in which the governor of Texas has repeatedly appealed to citizens to telepathically urge an omnipotent invisible deity to change the weather for the state. To borrow an analogy from Sam Harris, would Perry's appeal for divine intervention be any more insane if he asked that people communicate with God by talking in to a hairdryer? It shouldn't really be any more insane. The elephant in the room here is the idea that any kind of communication is possible with some invisible all-powerful being, yet people who believe they can talk to God would almost certainly consider Perry to be mad if he added the hairdryer to his request.

  So long as it's culturally acceptable to proudly hold irrational beliefs it's difficult to imagine how people like the birthers really can be sidelined and ignored? Birthers are just one symptom. We have the anti-vaxxers, 9/11 truthers and God knows how many other nutjobs who receive far too much consideration and acceptance. There's a real need here to school people in rational and critical thinking. That doesn't mean being anti-religious, but certainly one would hope that with critical thinking people would realise that such beliefs are best kept as a personal thing in much the same way that a man's fondness for dressing up as a schoolgirl and getting his arse paddled is certainly harmless fun, but probably not something he can demand respect for in the public square.

Re:kind of like the police (-1, Troll)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008606)

So long as it's culturally acceptable to proudly hold irrational beliefs...

Where is the difference between someone who is pushing their idea of god vs someone pushing the "certainty" of there being none? Prove there is no god please or admit you're the same as the ones you're criticizing.

Re:kind of like the police (3, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008676)

The point is you can't prove or disprove god. ever.

Unlike say evolution, or electricity(both of which are theories and not fully proven) we can learn to understand them without resorting to blind faith. They have examples in the world around us.

you can't prove something was or was not god's work ever.

Re:kind of like the police (1, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008678)

Obvously, that's my point. People who self-righteously proclaim "belief in god is proof of incompetence" are themselves no different from people who want you to "get right with god".

Re:kind of like the police (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008694)

of course.
total certain atheism is irrational.

tooth fairy agnosticism is the sensible approach as in:
"the existence of god is about as likely as the existence of the tooth fairy"

now let us put our hands together and ask the tooth fairy to help with the weather.

Re:kind of like the police (1)

ACE209 (1067276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008740)

thank you.
and let's not forget the almighty spaghetti monster creator of all universes here.

Re:kind of like the police (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008720)

Where is the difference between someone who is pushing their idea of god vs someone pushing the "certainty" of there being none? Prove there is no god please or admit you're the same as the ones you're criticizing.

I find it perfectly reasonable for someone to hold the belief that no evidence exists which would substantiate the more common models of deistic belief. This is, however, somewhat different than the kind of pushy atheism you're complaining about.

On the other hand, your argument stinks of the logical fallacy called "false continuum": "The idea that because there is no definitive demarcation line between two extremes, that the distinction between the extremes is not real or meaningful". Certainly there exist some "ideas of god" which are simply silly and do not stand up to simple tests. And there also exist abstract ideas of God which, I believe, are inherently unfalsifiable.

Re:kind of like the police (0)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008734)

On the other hand, your argument stinks of the logical fallacy called "false continuum": "The idea that because there is no definitive demarcation line between two extremes, that the distinction between the extremes is not real or meaningful".

Well, both sides are claiming superior "knowledge" while actually relying solely upon faith, so I don't think the false continuum applies. The definitive demarcation is belief in "god" vs belief in "science", is it not?

Re:kind of like the police (0)

pagaboy (1029878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008618)

It's a country in which the governor of Texas has repeatedly appealed to citizens to telepathically urge an omnipotent invisible deity to change the weather for the state.

Oh dear, and you'd started so well. You definitely get some religious wingnuts, fond of all sorts of conspiracy theories. But you also get the equivalent on the secularist side of things, who believe that all religious people have undergone volontary lobotomies, and seek nothing better than to invent invisible friends for themselves.

Nutters on both sides. Not sure where that leaves the rest of us though.

Re:kind of like the police (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008634)

Trapped between irrational believers and irrational deniers, that's where it leaves us.

Re:kind of like the police (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008668)

All right, I was with you until the 9/11 truthers. I would hold off on the nutjob pointing in particular here considering that Dick(head) Cheney, our then Vice President, was a member of a Neo-Con think tank earlier that created a plan entitled Project for the New American Century [wikipedia.org] in which it specifically states that america basically needs a "new pearl harbor". Loe and behold a "rogue" CIA asset that happens to be a damn near billionaire, be on a kidney machine, and have personal ties with the fucking president himself manages to blow up a building despite days of forward warning by several intelligence agencies? Oh, and avoid capture for what......10 years?
Yep. You're totally right, that's JUST the same as some bat-shit people ignoring the fact that their children received vaccines shortly before the time period that autism generally surfaces naturally and want a scapegoat because their joy is crushed by a debilitating mental disease in their child

Re:kind of like the police (1, Insightful)

m1xram (1595991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008700)

That doesn't mean being anti-religious, but certainly one would hope that with critical thinking people would realise that such beliefs are best kept as a personal thing...

Are you are a "Seeing is believing" kind of guy? Belief is: faith in things unseen. Critical thinking people know that, because, seeing is proof and has nothing to do with belief.

Suppose you are talking with a friend while waiting for an elevator. Your friend is distract by your intelligent discourse and the door opens. Opps, there's no elevator but your friend proceeds to board the elevator. Would you try to save your friend or keep the information to yourself?

Birthers still unconvinced Obama white enough (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008306)

KENYA, Indonesia, Wednesday (WorldNetDaily) — Barack Obama's alleged long-form birth certificate has been declared fraudulent by the noble and patriotic "Birther" movement, who claim firm evidence [newstechnica.com] that the President is insufficiently white.

"I've seen a few Photoshops in my time," said immigrant Birther and world's oldest emo kid Orly Taitz. "I can tell from a few of the pixels. They're nowhere near light enough."

Donald Trump, the next Sarah Palin, takes credit for provoking the release of this initial documentation of the mysterious Obama, and has now asked if Obama's college transcript is all that, and something about basketball as the President's favourite pastime. Betting pools are now forming on when Trump will allude to watermelon and fried chicken.

Birthers are routinely outraged at suggestions that blatant racism is at the heart of their disquiet with Obama's landslide victory in the 2008 presidential election. So it's really worth saying it to them, every time.

The Birther movement was originally started by Party Unity My Ass, a group of disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters during the 2008 Democratic primary. They note that Obama has, on his track record so far, been a first-class Republican president.

Re:Birthers still unconvinced Obama white enough (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008436)

KENYA, Indonesia, Wednesday (WorldNetDaily) — Barack Obama's alleged long-form birth certificate has been declared fraudulent by the noble and patriotic "Birther" movement, who claim firm evidence [newstechnica.com] that the President is insufficiently white.

"I've seen a few Photoshops in my time," said immigrant Birther and world's oldest emo kid Orly Taitz. "I can tell from a few of the pixels. They're nowhere near light enough."

Donald Trump, the next Sarah Palin, takes credit for provoking the release of this initial documentation of the mysterious Obama, and has now asked if Obama's college transcript is all that, and something about basketball as the President's favourite pastime. Betting pools are now forming on when Trump will allude to watermelon and fried chicken.

Birthers are routinely outraged at suggestions that blatant racism is at the heart of their disquiet with Obama's landslide victory in the 2008 presidential election. So it's really worth saying it to them, every time.

The Birther movement was originally started by Party Unity My Ass, a group of disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters during the 2008 Democratic primary. They note that Obama has, on his track record so far, been a first-class Republican president.

Exactly. There is firm evidence that he is a nignog. From this it follows that he is not a natural born American, and that he ia a Muslim, and faked the death of Osama Bin Laden so that his buddy could go free.

Re:Birthers still unconvinced Obama white enough (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008560)

Bin Laden isn't his buddy. But he's got the proof about the so-called moon lan

BRB, door.

Re:Birthers still unconvinced Obama white enough (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008526)

I'll admit its racism, but not against blacks, black/white mixes or islams. Against Pacific Islanders. If you've never been to the wrong side of Oahu and been beaten by coconuts + stabbed with fishing spears just for you're skin color you have ZERO right to speak about the state (this isn't a hard thing to accomplish, just go there and it will happen - the hardest part is not getting chopped up and thrown in the waters along the rockier parts of the coast).

Anything coming from Hawaii is total horseshit - I know the legal system there, it doesn't work, hell, I've had a Hawaii license for about a decade, suspended and I've been pulled over at least 70x in other states, the issue is they don't share records. Anything they might share is absolutely bogus, typically originating from some stoner who wants to get the paperwork of their desk to cut out early (forgery is quite common, and if you need to do any paperwork with them you will know this already). Hell, the fuckers still cannibalize people on some islands, and even on the island of Oahu (thats the main one) were hunting and eating eachother up until the 30's when we took over (yet they still claim they deserve independence from the US to anyone visiting there). Hawaii was the worst mistake the US ever made (Vietnam included) - if only state-ship could be revoked, we'd all be better off accepting them into the US the way we did Guam.

Suggesting ANY number of those fuckers would collaborate to forge a birth certificate for someone is no stretch of the imagination - and as ignorant a posting as this may seem to anyone who hasn't lived there - go for a few years and see what happens - maybe you'll see reality in time to regret having voted for him a second time.

Surprising? (5, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008308)

I call bullshit... I find it hard to believe that people only like to be told what they want to hear.

Re:Surprising? (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008314)

"People believe any quote they read on the internet if it fits their preconceived notions." - Martin Luther King

Re:Surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008376)

"People believe any quote spoken by the computer if it fits their preconceived notions of the particular world they inhabit."
- Captain James T. Kirk., Captain of USS Enterprise, A.D. 1695, May 3rd. York, England

Re:Surprising? (2)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008424)

"MartinLuther: Some thoughts about cleaning up the Church a bit - http://saint.ly/CCCXVII [saint.ly] #Reformation #IndulgencesSuck #Protestant" -- Martin Luther, 1517

Re:Surprising? (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008456)

People will believe any old tripe if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it.

    -- Benjamin Franklin

Re:Surprising? (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008472)

The link is broken, but it is a saint-ly website, not a goatse or anything trolly.

Re:Surprising? (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008644)

It's not a real link.... saint.ly was a cute reference to bit.ly

CCCXVII is the year of the 95 theses

Re:Surprising? (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008564)

Right, because Martin Luther King spent a lot of time on the internet in the mid-1900's when he was alive. That was, you know, real popular back then.

Re:Surprising? (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008632)

He did, however, make a 'whooosh' noise as he flew overhead.

I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008310)

I completely disagree. I think the internet is very authoritative and "news"-y enough for me. I'll brb...I'm going to look for an article that supports my view.

Where did the lost authority come from? (2)

Dr Damage I (692789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008318)

Who knows, maybe the BC is fake but accurate.

Re:Where did the lost authority come from? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008642)

I guess I was one of the "birthers" until recently. Orly Tates describe plenty of reasonable explanations for the birth announcements in Hawaii and the other trappings. It was also perfectly reasonable to think that Obama was telling the truth based on the available evidence.

What it came down to for me was you know gee its not crazy to want to want to see candidates for our highest office prove they meet the qualifications to do so. If Obama was born here, it would be easy for him to prove it, because he won't he is probably not a natural born citizen.

Well now he has produced a birth certificate, it would be way more politically risky to produce a fake on at this point than to just keep stone walling. I will accept its real and he is a natural born citizen, the available evidence has changed and so has my conclusion.

Re:Where did the lost authority come from? (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008686)

That was the point. NO other candidates have ever had to proven themselves born in the USA.

Bush didn't Clinton didn't, Reagan didn't Carter didn't. non of the other white guys have ha to do it. you get a non white guy with a non anglo saxon name in office and all the racists start a birther movement because they can't believe a non white guy was born here.

Think about it why was Obama singled out above all others? was it name? was it color? the fear was irrational and stupid.

Re:Where did the lost authority come from? (1, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008736)

http://whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf [whitehouse.gov]

If it's fake it's a very bad fake. For example there's stuff like one number being antialiased but the rest aren't.

My company's receptionist does a better job at scanning stuff to PDF.

So what's their excuse?

This level of incompetence is hard to distinguish from malice.

Alex Jones and David Icke (0)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008320)

Have been spewing conspiracy theories about the federal reserve, about Bush being a reptillian in disguise, etc, and about politicians and Presidents being directly related to the royal family.

The truth people believe the bullshit because foreign governments, corporations, and others deliberately pay experts to generate these memes for the purposes of psychological operations. It's psy-ops, thats what the birth certificate nonsense is.

Which government or faction would have to something to gain if people believe that?

Re:Alex Jones and David Icke (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008544)

Which government or faction would have to something to gain if people believe that?

Racist bastards?

The world keeps turning (3, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008338)

"If you don't like the facts presented on the sites of established news organizations, you simply keep clicking until you find one whose "facts" accord with your beliefs."

That's the way it has always been. People choose the newspaper or TV channel that selects / presents / distorts / invents the news in the way most fitting to their own world view. All that has changed is that the number of available publications has increased.

Re:The world keeps turning (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008474)

I suspect that the range of "truths" available to the average person has also expanded. Most people used to only be exposed to the "normal extremes", perhaps reading about the truly crazy ideas and people from time to time without actually being exposed to them.

These days it's pretty easy to find entire online communities that agree with you that Osama Bin Laden was really a CIA operative performing covert false-flag ops against the US military to expose Barack Obama and the military a zionist space-lizards who are plotting to destroy the planet once they and the world's jews have built a spaceship financed with their jew-gold stolen from hard-working god-fearing christians.

And no, I haven't actually encountered that specific conspiracy theory. I did however hear several people claim yesterday that Osama was executed by the US military as revenge against him and his CIA handlers for their false-flag ops against US troops. And I have heard several people claim that the US government is run by zionist lizard-men from another world as well as the "theory" that all the world's jews are involved in some massive conspiracy to rob the rest of the world (and especially christians) of all their money. I just put all these together into one juicy ball of batshit crazy. My point being that even if you're spouting completely insane things you can find plenty of people online who will online disagree with you about minor details, overall they will agree with your crazy.

Re:The world keeps turning (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008548)

That's the way it has always been. People choose the newspaper or TV channel that selects / presents / distorts / invents the news in the way most fitting to their own world view. All that has changed is that the number of available publications has increased.

That's what people have always wanted to do, but it hasn't really been that easy to do in the past. Yes, there were massively biased newspapers but never like the crazy conspiracy theory websites. And if you had to deal with your local community, you'd be exposed to lots of other opinions.

With the internet all the loons find each other and you can completely lose yourself in webs and forums and blogs without ever hitting any real critical thought. I don't think it's a situation the human mind is used to dealing with, before like if your entire neighborhood - or going back further - the entire tribe - told that is how things are, it was probably true. Now you take the 1% opinion and drown yourself in supporting opinion.

Re:The world keeps turning (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008614)

There has to be more to it than just that. Otherwise the Daily Mail and Fox News would never get any new customers because their starting point is so far removed from reality that it would never fit non-customer's existing world view.

People tend to trust news sources, and in the past they were at least somewhat reputable and made some effort to check the facts. Printing outright lies could get them into litigation. Apparently people don't differentiate between reputable sources, less reputable sources and extremely biased bloggers.

Irony? (5, Insightful)

Mjec (666932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008352)

I can't be the only one who sees the irony in the URL being /news/opinion/...

The news establishment do not deserve our trust. (5, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008354)

Many revelations in later years have show us that the news establishment don't care for the truth at all. Many of the things reveled in the wikileaks cables was known but not reported. The war against Iraq was totally baseless but nobody seemed to care in the media. All they did was distributing what officials told them, without even bothering a simple fact check. All in all i think the problem described comes from the total lack of moral fiber in the media.

When you know almost everybody is lying to you, its only human to be drawn to news you think sounds most plausible.

Re:The news establishment do not deserve our trust (4, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008440)

Yeah, it's a bit of both... We are being lied to by media / governments and by our self delusion online... Neither is the full story. The problem is distinguishing the lie from the truth is becoming more and more impossible for people...

Re:The news establishment do not deserve our trust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008498)

http://www.amazon.ca/Into-Buzzsaw-Leading-Journalists-Expose/dp/1417671300/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1301616051&sr=8-2

"In this uneven yet illuminating anthology, editor Borjesson succinctly explains the journalist's predicament: "The buzzsaw is what can rip through you when you try to investigate or expose anything this country's large institutions be they corporate or government want kept under wraps." Indeed, if members of the general public read this book, or even portions of it, they will be appalled. To the uninitiated reader, the accounts of what goes on behind the scenes at major news organizations are shocking. Executives regularly squelch legitimate stories that will lower their ratings, upset their advertisers or miff their investors. Unfortunately, this dirt is unlikely to reach unknowing news audiences, as this volume's likely readership is already familiar with the current state of journalism. Here, Murrow Award-winning reporter Borjesson edits essays by journalists from the Associated Press to CBS News to the New York Times. Each tells of their difficulties with news higher-ups as they tried to publish or air controversial stories relating to everything from toxic dump sites and civilian casualties to police brutality and dangerous hospitals. Some, like BBC reporter Greg Palast's, are merely rants against "corporate" journalism, but others, like New York Observer columnist Philip Weiss's, will serve as meaningful lessons to nascent and veteran writers alike. Most of the sentiments here are especially relevant given the current reports of the war in Afghanistan and questions of their validity, making this timely and essential reading for students and scholars of journalism. (Mar.)Forecast: With Bernard Goldberg's Bias riding high on bestseller lists, Borjesson's offering on news media manipulation is bound to attract serious attention and sales.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition."

Re:The news establishment do not deserve our trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008588)

"...more and more impossible for people."

I think you mean "... more and more difficult for people". There aren't degrees or impossibility.

does any establishment deserve our trust? (2)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008528)

I don't see why this would just apply to news. Any establishment cannot be trusted.

Re:The news establishment do not deserve our trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008600)

Pretty much this. We know we're getting lied to be ALL politicians and ALL media outlets manipulate news to fit some agenda or simply regurgitate the former lies.

Facts and truth are dead and buried. So why bother? At least with the Internet we have an ample choice of liers to pick from. One lie is as good as the other. I reject your lies and substitute my own! ;)

Yes. (1)

mc3000 (1875710) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008362)

The internet invented conspiracy theorists.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008426)

"The internet invented conspiracy theorists.
Conspiracy theorist invented the internet."

- Gödel's theory of conspiracy information flow

Not new at all...just more disributed. (1)

naota-kun (705771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008366)

This is simply the course for any conspiracy theory. The more facts you throw at it, the more the believers claim deeper evidence of deception. People wrap themselves tightly in their beliefs. They will never shed that blanket, no matter how hot it gets.

Re:Not new at all...just more disributed. (1)

naota-kun (705771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008386)

damn it all, distributed.

Shock, horror (0, Flamebait)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008388)

People find the facts they want to and then stop. This is so ground-breaking (*cough*) that it shouldn't be classed as "news" either.

What's more worrying is what people bother to dig ABOUT. People seriously sat down on a fact-finding mission (no matter how contrived) off their own backs to prove their president wasn't American (and, hey America, what happened to all men created equal when it comes to who can be president? Or does that "rule" only apply if you're American, born in America, never set foot outside the borders?).

Meanwhile, they are still running a torture / concentration camp in a foreign country TEN YEARS after a terrorist incident which most inmates can't be linked to (if the US even wanted to bother to put them to trial), to the disgust of almost every nation except themselves. But please, continue arguing about whether his birth certificate is fake or not, not whether he's condoning torture of untested innocents via a supposed legal loophole.

Anybody who cares about someone's opinion of whether he is American or not really needs to get out in the real world a little and find something called "an issue worth debating".

Re:Shock, horror (4, Informative)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008460)

(and, hey America, what happened to all men created equal when it comes to who can be president? Or does that "rule" only apply if you're American, born in America, never set foot outside the borders?)

Erm, actually, yes, for the first two. It's in the Constitution. You can presumably visit other countries, but you do have to be a natural-born citizen [usconstitution.net] :

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Re:Shock, horror (0)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008554)

(and, hey America, what happened to all men created equal when it comes to who can be president? Or does that "rule" only apply if you're American, born in America, never set foot outside the borders?)

Erm, actually, yes, for the first two. It's in the Constitution.

[citation needed]

Re:Shock, horror (2, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008654)

Yeah, that's the rule -- and it's entirely nuts.

The president is *elected* I see no legitimate reason whatsoever that some person born abroad should not be eligible to be president. Infact, it'd make more sense if one would insist that to be eligible for president, one must hold *ONLY* American citizenship. (the current rules don't have any ban on a two-citizenship person becoming president, aslong as one of the two is American, and he's born with it)

What's the rationale for disqualifying someone who, for example, was adopted by American parents at age 2, while ALLOWING a child born to (for example) an American/Norwegian couple who grew up in Norway, yet moved to America at age 20 with dual citizenship.

I'd argue that the latter has substantially stronger ties to a foreign nation, if that's the concern. (if not, I don't know what the concern is)

The constitution does indeed say what you claim, but seems to me it's a dumb rule.

Re:Shock, horror (2, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008680)

When that was written , America had just come out of an independance war and didn't want to have foreign interference any more.

Kinda like the right to bear arms. Both made sense in that time, but they don't make as much sense nowadays.

Re:Shock, horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008712)

troll. get your hands off my guns or i'll shoot them off.

Re:Shock, horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008508)

Please do not use such a broad reaching terms like when you say "Hey America". I know this may shock you, but there are a small but vocal minority of nutjobs in every single country and ours is no different. Do not confuse this vocal minority as being a majority. When you refer to these people without specifically singling them out you give the impression that you think all American's think this way. While it may seem to outsiders that this country is filled with idiots ready to believe anything, its simply a small vocal minority that has the unfortunate ability to get the attention of mass media. News outlets/polls will always be out looking for the vocal ones and it seems that those types of people are the ones with the mental problems. In reality, we are mostly sane individuals who don't give in to such nonsense that you might think to associate with us all. Its a rather unfortunate situation in this country right now. News media want to find people who are opinionated and vocal and they want the ones with the craziest ideas to get the scoop. Its bad journalism and it makes me sick that this is how people see this country (A bunch of lazy fat idiots who are willing to believe anything and everything especially if its racially motivated).

A bit rambling and nonsensical at times? Yeah, I probably shouldn't be writing AC posts in the middle of the night. But this is my biggest pet peeve and I just can't stand when people do this.

tl;dr don't lump us all in with the loud idiots in this country. They may be what you think of as being the average American but that couldn't be further from the truth. We all have crazies in our homelands, we just seem to have the loud ones and media outlets just loooooove to give them a microphone and 2 minutes of fame to spew their dribble over the airwaves.

This arcticle is right on!!! (0)

webbiedave (1631473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008390)

"The new Internet reality seems bent on summarily dismissing the hard work of this commission. I'd wish they'd drop it already" - Earl Warren

"So I left out the word 'a'. Doesn't mean the rest of it didn't really happen. Fucking bloggers." - Neil Armstrong, Time Magazine interview 1970

"I'm pretty sure I killed all those Jews. Final Solution. Google it." - Adolf Hitler

Summary overly antagonistic (3, Insightful)

mentil (1748130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008396)

There is a real problem of people selectively tuning in to news sources that cater to their bias, but the summary has a tone implying that established news sources are more correct or neutral than new media when this isn't always the case. The scare quotes around 'facts' clearly suggest that new media are wrong and established media is right. Using the term 'birthers' paints the believers as conspiracy theorists, which may be accurate but is unnecessary.

Blame where blame is due (5, Insightful)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008400)

I think the traditional mass media has done plenty to damage their own credibility. Why blame the internet?

Idiots. On the Internet since AOL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008404)

I guess what should happen is the government should set up a honeypot, easy to find, birther website, and then track the IP addresses of the birthers, and then send out some men to collect the mentally incapable and ensure that they are looked after in an environment that will not continue to harm them.

OT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008416)

Is there any reason why the fortune quote at the bottom of the page seems to be stuck? I don't mind a bit of Linux bashing in the quote file but could there must be more than one quote we can use.

Re:OT (0)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008512)

If Slashdot had somewhere where you could report faults I would mod you down. As it has no such feature I would mod you up. However, despite my excellent karma I have not had any mod points for months and months. Come on, Taco, get your myrmidons to fix this stuff!

It's never been about the birth certificate (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008420)

Birthers are just pissed off that the founding fathers never got around to banning black people from the presidency.

Those that aren't still clinging to the conspiracy have moved on to claiming he's not natural born because his father was African, or because his parents weren't married. Or, since black people are too stupid to go to university, they claim he lied his way into Harvard.

Racism. Pure and simple.

Re:It's never been about the birth certificate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008568)

So what if they're racist? Freedom of speech, opinion and all that.

Re:It's never been about the birth certificate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008660)

Who said I disagree? I'm not calling for them to be beheaded or jailed.

The remedy for offensive speech is more speech, calling those people out and shaming them for their offensive speech.

reputation and multiple sources (3, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008458)

We must not underestimate the importance of reputation and multiple sources. Modern technology, sleight of hand and a convincing smile mean that any claim can be well supported by physical "evidence" and we need independent tests of the reliability of the evidence.

For example, OBL was killed within the past week. We know this because the US government says so. The US government say they've confirmed it because they performed DNA tests. This means that we must trust the US government and, if the DNA test data is released, that the data is not fabricated. Why should we do that? What about the alternatives: that he is not dead, or - per Benazir - that he has been dead for several years already? We do not have sufficient reliable evidence for any of these claims, so we should not assume that any are true.

Similarly, what does OBL's birth certificate say? It says that a piece of paper was produced resembling a birth certificate. Is this sufficient evidence that he was born in the US? No. Is there credible evidence that he was not born in the US? No. We must either trust him, not care, or explore further. I've always thought the "where you're born" rule about the Presidency is against the principles on which the US was founded, so I'd pick the "not care" option.

Re:reputation and multiple sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008510)

Osama was born in the US????

Re:reputation and multiple sources (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008514)

The Long form gives a lot more info. Names of Doctors, etc. Things that can be looked up. That is why most fake Certificates are the short form. Less info, less ways to disprove it.

No reason to doubt but... news is rarely acurate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008468)

I'm going to say the news has been frequently used by governments to mislead and is itself rarely accurate. We frequently take journalists as an authority on an issue based on sources which they have little knowledge or understanding of. How do you correct for this? I don't know. A journalist needs to be able to identify fraudulent information (fake birth certificate) if we are really going to trust it. Stories and journalists pick up each others articles and repeat. We constantly hear how information was misreported and multiple organizations have to update. Stories aren't fact checked no matter how much the industry wants us to think. If we can't even rely on someone to fact check information how can we trust the news. They are merely repeating what they've been told. Wrong or right. Just because multiple sources report the same thing if that information is from one source (the government) it is going to be the same. And this is often where journalists get info from. Government (even when unofficial under the table leaks occur) is being reported from some politicians perspective. A bunch of lairs. What would be interesting is how much of the major events have been reportedly truthfully. I'm talking about events like 9/11 (was the US aware and just intentionally ignoring the hijackers actions so to use it as an excuse for war with other nations, oil, etc?), pearl harbor (which we have pretty good info was misreported- we were notified by Japan of the coming attack. The only question is was our reaction intentional or an actual mistake.), amongst lots of others. We have frequently used minor attacks as an excuse to go to war even when little or no evidence existed. Claims were almost certainly made knowingly that Iraq was unlikely to have weapons of mass destruction for instance and yet the president still used it as a reason for us to invade.

William Miller (3, Insightful)

mathfeel (937008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008480)

Since TFA cites the example of Miller, may I remind everyone that the rapture is happening this month: http://www.ebiblefellowship.com/may21/ [ebiblefellowship.com] and I predict a recalculation on May 22nd.

Not new at all (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008496)

Over where I come from we have 3 main Tv channels. One is run by an independant group, and two others are run by different political parties.

If you watch the three news programs in series, you'll go from a country which is collapsing due to corruption and bad stuff the PM is doing, a country which is perfect because of what the PM is doing, to something in the middle.

So yeah, this is pretty much the case everything has been in for years.

The trust died when it became "The Media" (1, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008500)

If the media would do a better job releasing the "news" to us then maybe the public would be more likely to believe what they were told.

The release of the "long form" birth certificate is a perfect example. In a day in age when someone says "Show me what you have" and then you take 3 years to release the info" when the correct response should have been, "hold on give me a second to scan it." People are justified in being skeptical of your motives and your message over something that should have been "news" for no more than 24 hours.

So they finally scan the damn thing and release it. People take one look at it and realize the thing looks like shit and justifiably immediately say "THAT LOOKS FAKE!"

They are justified because of all the hair pulling and stalling and name calling and the simple fact that which ever idiot flunky scanned the damn thing used a PDF file generator and had the compression settings set way too high. So to the untrained eye the thing looks wrong. (Even to the trained eye it looks fishy.)

Again the media and the politicians could have fixed the problem immediately by rescanning it and releasing it as a high resolution uncompressed TIFF or other file type. Something that would have taken only hours to do. This would have helped most of the general public understand easier and would have taken away most if not all the doubt, .

But that is not what we get. Again what we get is the media and the politicians wagging their fingers at us calling us names and calling everyone paranoid and racists when it was they who failed to communicate the information on both ocassions in a timely and clear manner.

People are fed up with this crap, so why should they trust them any more when they have repeatedly proven themselves to be at best incompetent much less trust worthy?

Wikileaks (2)

biodata (1981610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008542)

The internet has a lot more potential to distribute unbiased news than 'the media', and it's not just Wikileaks, the very proliferation of news sources makes it much more likely that accurate news information will be free. We all still have to do what only we can which is to call bullshit when we see it.

Openleaks (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008604)

Openleaks is better than Wikileaks because it does not rely on any centralized authority, or have any single place from which to target. It's a general purpose technology (a lot like linux) which can be adapted to any news organization or any organization in general which needs to receive reports or leaks from anonymous sources.

reality overtaking 'established' phony media.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008550)

that takes care of that. back to disarming. that's real. like staying alive, is real. stand-up routine hypenosys talknicians are not real, or even an amusing alternative to the truth, despite exhibiting dramatic arrogance.

still only one version of the truth available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008648)

calling somethings facts, or "alternative" (non?) 'facts' , just shows how manipulated we have become.

ALTERNATIVE reality (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008580)

Alternate verb: to switch between states or options in a regular manner.

Alternative noun: something different, another option.

This is not advanced English.

Facts vs. Ignorance. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008582)

"...If you don't like the facts presented on the sites of established news organizations, you simply keep clicking until you find one whose "facts" accord with your beliefs.'"

There is a difference between a fact and an opinion, and those who go click-hunting for the "facts" they want to see aren't looking for news. They're simply too stupid or blinded by ignorance to see that.

The internet isn't the only thing that is a mere shadow of it's former self.

Is there anything new here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008586)

People remain convinced that GMO is harmful.

People remain convinced that high fructose corn syrup is more harmful than cane sugar.

I keep seeing the debunked table of 'IQ by state and how they voted' be posted.

Plenty of people think Bush claimed there were WMD in Iraq when he knew there were none.

I was keen to see the birth certificate myself, because why wouldn't I be? If the US constitution said that someone who owned more than 20% of a national TV station could not be president, and Donald Trump was voted in, and there was the least bit of doubt whether he breached the rules, Democrats would launch an inquisition. Sure, deny that, but that's the case. I am now satisfied with what was presented (although surprised it wasn't presented earlier to avoid all of this controversy building up in the first place) but it shouldn't be surprising that many people don't accept it.

And mythology works both ways. There are people who believe in "the spirit of the planet". These would probably vote for any green/left oriented party. Even though the 'spirit of the planet' can be debunked over and over.

That is how the world works. Obama isn't a special case or a groundbreaking new discovery. Mythology works both ways.
 

Distrust in U.S. Media Edges Up to Record High (3, Informative)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008592)

"Distrust in U.S. Media Edges Up to Record High"

For the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. The 57% who now say this is a record high by one percentage point.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/143267/distrust-media-edges-record-high.aspx [gallup.com]

Nothing new, it's a fishing expedition (4, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008616)

This is yet another story about something we've heard a million times over, but they put "Internet!" in the title and treat it as though it's novel.

"Birtherism" isn't new, nor limited to black presidents. There was a long argument over whether McCain was native born, there were even debates about whether George W Bush was native born, and have been about presidents going way back. Even recently there was a huge amount of discussion over whether Sarah Palin was really Trig's mother. Even after multiple journalists reported that they had seen her pregnant belly, other equally prominent journalists were still Just Asking Questions.

And birtherism is loopy, but nothing compared to trutherism. About one third of Democrats believed that the government intentionally killed its own citizens to start a wars or, at least, that Bush knew about 9/11 and let it happen. Most Democrats also still claim that W was AWOL from his guard duty, and many prominent figures demanded explanations. CBS's Dan Rather, a 40 year veteran reporter, completely destroyed his career trying to pass off some forged documents. To this day, the guy insists that those forgeries were "fake but accurate". And, of course, there are long standing conspiracy theories about the Bush family's involvement with Nazis and such.

This gets play because "ooh, look, the Internet!" but if you look at what various conspiracies have in common, they're all old fashioned fishing expeditions. After Obama presented the long form, Trump *instantly* went to demanding his college records. The weird Palin birthers want all sorts of hospital records. The AWOL Bush people had huge lists of demands.

All these demands seek to scrutinize every possible second of a person's life. What happens when it's put into practice is the unbounded, independent prosecutor. Ken Starr, for instance, started out by investigating serious claims of corruption by the Clintons. When that turned up nothing, it morphed into a fishing expedition that turned up Lewinsky, Jones and Flowers. Incidentally, there are Clinton obsessives who are still Just Asking Questions, I won't link to it, but do a search for the "Clinton Death List" if you're curious to see some real crazy.

us news is unique (5, Insightful)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008622)

I occasionally get a glimpse of US news shows (clips and some cnn), the contrast with bbc or al jazeera is pretty striking:

The most important piece of information is always the name of the host, which is repeated every 5 seconds.
The hosts seem to be picked up straight from plastic surgery, complemented by exaggerated facial expressions.
Its roughly 5 minutes of program then 5 minutes of commercials.
If there are 2 hosts they spend half the time demonstrating their "chemistry" for eachother, its painful to watch.
The graphics remind me of old arcade cabinets, classy like las vegas.
Interviews are rude and annoying, the object seems to be that noone should speak a complete sentence.

I dont think its odd americans dont trust news, theres nothing trustworthy about it.

Re:us news is unique (1)

davide marney (231845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008672)

Mod parent up!

That's not a bug, it's a feature (0, Troll)

davide marney (231845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008636)

"Until very recently, if every professional news organization in the nation examined a charge and found it baseless, it was — for all intents and purposes — dropped. "

Yes, until very recently, a few mass media companies controlled the news, and if they collectively decided something wasn't news-worthy anymore, it was dropped. Happily, we have the internet now, and can talk among ourselves without being told what to pay attention to and what to ignore.

By the way, has any "professional news organization" actually dug into the latest birth certificate and examined it, professionally? I've read countless stories like this one about how crazy and all alternate-reality those Birthers are, but actual investigations by electronic document specialists? None that I've seen.

I think anyone who downloads and inspects the long-form certificate PDF [whitehouse.gov] from the whitehouse web site will be struck as I was by its many peculiarities. Not being a PDF expert, I have no idea how to interpret what I'm seeing, but it certainly doesn't look like any other PDF I've seen.

Re:That's not a bug, it's a feature (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008698)

but it certainly doesn't look like any other PDF I've seen.

Its the pixels and you having seen quite a few PDFs in your time.

Re:That's not a bug, it's a feature (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008726)

it's a low rez scan.
so it looks odd.

electronic document experts would be useless because it's just a scan and if you're going to forge a document you might as well forge with physical paper and then scan it.

Re:That's not a bug, it's a feature (3, Informative)

BarryDavis (1401371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008738)

http://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index.php?/archives/428-After-Birth.html [hackerfactor.com] This is an analysis of Obama's long form birth certificate by an image analysis expert. Check his previous posts for details of his experience. He concludes that it is genuine.

Or rather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008652)

The internet has shown people how much bias, propaganda and misleading information the media is spreading on behalf of governments and corporations.

Fracture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008662)

It's a bad trend. With diversity comes fracture. People join and hang out on there own groups e.g slashdot, and all news is given heavy spin. They meet people with the same views no matter how far from the normal. Is becomes obvious that everyone else must be insane to believe anything else. From this misunderstanding comes rage from all sides. It's like the right left thing, and being brought up in different families, but now I can surround myself with anything no matter how extreme. This is one thing China has a point on.

Perhaps the US Media could boost their credibility (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008664)

Perhaps the US Media could boost their credibility by extending the coverage of the British royal wedding by another week of page to page non stop coverage. We clearly were under informed about something so critical to our daily lives and country.

Media is the holders of truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008670)

'Until very recently, if every professional news organization in the nation examined a charge and found it baseless, it was â" for all intents and purposes â" dropped,'
It claims, that only the media as the holders of truth. So if they declare something as true, HOW DARE YOU QUESTION!
Are we all so blinded by partisanship that we cannot see this glaring and problematic arrogance?
It used to be our media presented information, now they decide what is truth. It feels so Orwellian.

Too much importance given to POTUS. (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008710)

The real problem with this is that US citizens give too much importance to the POTUS. In most cases, he does what his consultants tell him to do, and they can serve a wide variety of interests.

The BC issue is very useful to the PTB, actually. While people focus on the BC, they lose sight of the real issues. For example, there is little fuss made about the REAL ID entered through the back door (i.e. via the driving license).

Of course, Rutten is a journalist (2)

medcalf (68293) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008718)

So I suppose he can be forgiven as a matter of self-interest for omitting Rathergate, CNN's deliberate reporting of Saddam's propaganda in order to retain access, NBC rigging pickups to explode to get an "exposé" and the like. Or maybe not, since they directly implicate the real responsible party for the loss of trust in the news media: the constant lies of commission and omission of the news media themselves.

Noise from a dying institution (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36008724)

Oh, boo hoo! Another hack writer whose livelihood is threatened by the rise of alternative media. Here's what I see going on: Alternative media exposes the myth that the big news organizations are "reputable". Anybody remember Dan Rather? Someone gave him an obviously counterfeit letter about George W. Bush, and day after day he defended the letter as truth. Finally it became obvious that good ol' Dan was nothing more than a Democrat political operative, and everything he'd ever said became suspect. His career died, and rightly so. I'm guessing there are a lot of other "reputable" news employees that are scared to death by that. This is just their latest outburst.

True Believers (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36008728)

I don't think that Tim Rutten has ever read The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer. Sure, it's an "old" book, but its contents are still perfectly relevant. Both Tim and everyone else should get it and read it. At least then you'll comprehend this bizarre behavior even if you can't enjoy or condone it.

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