A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Berg Gets Sunk

Readers have been champing at the bit to know our view of the lawsuit brought against Obama by a Philadelphia Hillary supporter, which alleges that the candidate is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. (We know —this again?) Of course only a judge is qualified to legally determine the validity of a suit, so we’ve held off on opining, though we’ve certainly put forth our findings on various aspects of the claim. But we stress that there are no such qualification requirements to bring a suit.

Obama’s Citizenship and the Survival of the Fittest

Yesterday we posted something about the evolution of rumors. Here’s a postscript: Sometimes in addition to developing new eyespots or camouflage, they actually engage in a little adaptive development — rumors that aren’t working mutate into slightly altered versions that haven’t been debunked yet.
A case in point: First there was the canard that Obama didn’t have a valid U.S. birth certificate. We were able to help put that one to bed. (Never mind the additional rumor it spawned due to the erroneous date stamp on our photos of the document,

Life Cycle of a Rumor

One thing we’ve noticed at FactCheck is that e-mail rumors tend to circulate, get debunked (ideally), go dormant for a while, and then flare up again. Think of it as a horde of zombies — they come at you, you kill them, you breathe a sigh of relief, and then there’s an extreme closeup and a finger twitches and you realize they’re not really dead. That’s what it looks like from our end.
Different stories have different life cycles —

Born in the U.S.A.

Summary
In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document’s authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is “fake.”
We beg to differ. FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate.

Obama’s Birth Certificate

Q: Has Obama’s birth certificate been disclosed?
A: Yes. His campaign made a copy public after speculation by conservative bloggers that he might not be a “natural-born citizen.”