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PROVIDES NO REASONABLE BASIS TO DOUBT REPORT
News commentary by John Charlton
(Nov. 21, 2009) — Shortly before it was reported that The Post & Email and other sites received harassing blog comments from an IP number just a few miles from the registered address of the domain name, “Snopes.com,” Snopes.com published a critique of The Post & Email’s report on the AP 2004 Story which named Obama “Kenyan-born”.
Though Snopes.com decided to publish a commentary on The Post & Email’s report, it did not attribute the citation it contained of our story to The Post & Email, even after it was brought to their attention. Perhaps, they chose not to give a link or citation to The Post & Email, lest their own readers be led to the original story. The Post & Email does not fear facts, so you can read the Snopes.com commentary at their own site.
But since a good number of individuals have asked us to respond to the Snopes.com article, we will do so.
Snopes.com’s Critique founded on a childish flaw in their method of historical analysis
First of all, the Snopes.com article provides no documentation to prove their interpretation of the historical document: the East African Standard’s Sunday Edition Report, which cited the AP as its source. They simply open their puerile analysis with the word “False” in disproportionately large bold-faced letters, and they argue, that since the current version of the AP article available from the AP does not call Obama “Kenyan-born,” therefore, the AP original story never contained this adjective and that the African newspaper added it on their own authority, and that erroneously.
It should be obvious to highschool students that you cannot use the current version of an article at AP, which does not claim to be the original version or the unedited version, to argue that an article published by the East African Standard from 2004 introduced “Kenyan-born” into the AP story on its own authority: there is a disparity of historical consistency. One must use documents which are known to have existed in June 2004 to argue or dispute facts claimed in other documents from that same month. AP could have published different versions of their story, included keywords, or redacted the version after the 2008 election. There is a lack of documentation in their critique of The Post & Email report, to prove what Snopes.com claims actually happened. Their dismissal of the East African Standard’s report, therefore, is unfounded, unproven, uncertain, and gratuitous. Indeed, if one supposes that the African paper added a sentence to the AP story, then one can equally suppose that any other news agency, including the AP could subtract a sentence.
Facts can only be disputed with facts
What is known, is that a newspaper in Kenya in 2004 said Obama was Kenyan-born, in a report attributed to Associated Press International. At least 4 other African news outlets reported the same attributions for the next 4 years, and still make this claim. Snopes.com has no answer for that, because according to the ancient adage, “Against a fact there is no argument!“
The Post & Email speaks with Press Corps informant
The Post & Email asks how is it that the East African Standard knew of Obama’s senatorial race in 2004?
We asked a retired member of the national press corps, and he explained that syndicated news stories are sold with keywords or summaries; news agencies which subscribe to their services purchase rights to republish stories according to these keywords. If that practice prevailed in 2004, it would explain how a paper in Kenya heard of Obama, only if they had purchased notifications regarding the key word “Kenya” or “Kenyan”. Otherwise, it does not seem reasonable to conclude that a Kenyan paper watches senatorial races in Illinois. Nor, that they read through all the syndicated AP stories, to find one in which the word “Kenyan” or “Kenyan-born” never existed.
The facts allow a reasonable person to conlude that the AP reporters and/or editors may have put the “Kenyan-born” phrase in the original report, or in the text used to index it for syndication. Otherwise, how did that story get come to the attention of the Kenyan paper?
Other ways Kenyan paper could have heard of Obama
Another possibility is that the Kenyan newspaper was informed about the news of Obama’s candidacy, and chose to feature an AP story which they subsequently published. We will never know the paper trail on why the Kenyan newspaper did this, or what they did, because the supporters of Obama’s cousin, Odinga, made a point to burn the Kenyan newspaper’s HQ down in 2006, destroying all records of their communications.
Did an overly zealous Kenyan in Chicago telephone or email back home and alert them to the story? Did the newspaper get a phone call from Odinga suggesting that they run this story? Did the Obama campaign get a phone call from the Newspaper prior to the publishing of the AP story in their paper, and convey to the East African Standard reporter that Obama was “Kenyan-born,” as a sort of fact to prove that their mulatto candidate had true African credentials?
Just how did the Kenyan newspaper hear of Obama? Until that question is asked and answered, one cannot have recourse, as Snopes.com does, to the hypothesis that the Kenyan Standard added this attribution, “Kenyan-born”, to the story on its own authority. If one has no evidence that the newspaper heard of the claim of Obama being “Kenyan-born” from sources other than the AP story, the conclusion is that the AP itself in some manner, at one time, claimed Obama was “Kenyan-born.”
Even if Snopes.com were to prove that only the Kenyan paper named Obama “Kenyan-born” — being that the latter is located in Kenya and can request verification of births or interview locals who knew Obama’s family — its use of the term “Kenyan-born” would be, nonetheless, authoritative.
To illustrate this, let us take the example of a famous individual, Adolf Hitler. If American newspapers called him “German-born,” and one newspaper in Vienna, Austria, said he was “Austrian-born,” would it be sufficient to say that the Austrian paper was wrong, simply because the American newspapers all say differently? No; a reasonable and impartial observer would say, “If his family is Austrian, as his relatives claim, certainly the newspaper in Vienna would know who is Austrian and who is not, after all Vienna is the capital of Austria!”
For this reason Snopes.com’s attempt to disprove the story by claiming the African paper alone named Obama “Kenyan-born” is itself illogical. The contrary would be true, it would give weight to the truth of the statement.
In summary, Snope.com’s entire argument is merely a gratuitous assertion, posing as a substantive refutation.
The Post & Email remains vindicated
Snopes.com’s facile and puerile rejection of the facts shows that they are not a reliable site, either for information or for reasoning. The Post & Email’s story, which as of today has been read by more than 43,000 individuals at our site, was republished worldwide on the Internet without our urging, and has been read by millions of internet users. As of today no member of the press corp has contacted us to dispute the report. Nor have the original authors of the report denied the attribution of “Kenyan-born” in the East African Standard’s republication of the AP article.
According to the ancient dictum, “He who remains silent, consents,” it must be concluded that there was some basis to the story and some motive for it. The Post & Email rightly attributed this to the Obama Campaign’s action or inaction: because if the Obama Campaign did not contact these news outlets for 5 years, asking them to correct their reports, it is only because they wanted Obama to be seen as “Kenyan-born.” At no time did The Post & Email claim in its report, that Obama was born in Kenya: it confined itself to the reports published by news agencies, which reports are now historical documents.
Only now, do some extremely far-left supporters of Obama, find it embarrassing that his Campaign has acted as it has done. Is this because they recognize that the facts prove Obama ineligible to be President, or at least worthy of impeachment? If the 2004 AP story did not frighten Obama’s supporters, Snopes.com would not be attempting to debunk it, even if they only manifested their lack of impartiality and right reason in their failure to debunk The Post & Email’s coverage of the story. The facts remain, 5 African news organizations published stories from 2004-2008 in which the “Kenyan-born” attribution is given to Obama; and in each story, they cite the AP as their source. For Snopes.com to attack The Post & Email’s reporting of this historical fact, only manifests their desperation. For them to dismiss it without evidence, shows that their reputation as an information source is very shaky.
However, one final slant of the Snopes.com lingers in the reader’s mind: namely, that while seeking to defend Obama, who self-admits to having a black father, they seem to implicitly hold that African newspapers, written by Blacks, are somehow less reliable than 1 American news agency, run by whites; even if 5 of the former disagree with none of the latter.
For the record, The Post & Email holds, that “all men are created equal,” as it says in the Declaration of Independence.