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Where Do They Find These Charlatans?

David Freddoso appeared on MSNBC Friday to discuss the birther controversy, set afire anew by a DailyKos’ Research 2000 poll that revealed fewer than ½ of Republicans believe Barack Obama was born in the United States and is Constitutionally eligible to serve as President.

Freddoso writes:

But before liberals begin to smirk, here’s a poll from 2007, in which 35 percent of Democrats said that President Bush knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks, and 26 percent were not sure.

So if 58 percent of Republicans are living in a delusional fantasy world because they are out of power, then 61 percent of Democrats were doing the same thing until just recently (perhaps they still are). It’s a clean, apples-to-apples comparison with a clear lesson: People get a bit kooky when they’re out of power, Democrats about 3 points kookier — which is probably within the margin of error.

I clicked through to the poll and this is what I found:

Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure.

Of the Democrats that said Bush did know or that they weren’t sure if he knew, how many of them were relying on testimony elicited from Condi Rice at the 9/11 hearings?  You know, the part where she admitted presenting a Presidential Daily Brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States” to President Bush in August, 2001?  I haven’t found the exact text of the question Rasmussen used in his poll, but I am certain that Condi was also caught in a lie when she said nobody had ever contemplated the idea of terrorists using planes as missiles.  If there was any ambiguity to the question, there are plausible, non-“kooky” reasons at least some Democrats may have answered the way they did. Anyway, I’m not trying to say there were no conspiracy-minded Democrats answering the poll; instead I’m saying that this isn’t a “clean, apples to apples” comparison. 

Moreover, comparing an event like 9/11 – a wound on the psyche of America that has left lasting scars – to a non-event like the provenance of Barack Obama’s birth-certificate, is pretty stupid too.  After 9/11, who wasn’t looking for answers?  The fact that many folks took detours into rabbit holes shouldn’t surprise any of us.  On the other hand, let’s face it:  the only people looking for answers after Barack Obama’s election are those that felt traumatized by the election of a black man.  I mean, c’mon…  These same folks accused Michelle Obama of being a militant black woman that hates America…  they believe Barack Obama is a secret Muslim and was educated at a Madrassa…  I’ve even seen one prominent blogger – Pamela, from Atlas Shrugs – suggest that Obama’s father was Malcolm X (as if that would be something to be ashamed of).

Anyway, the truth is that I probably wouldn’t be responding to Freddoso’s wingnut inanity if it weren’t for the claims he’s made both on television and in writing:

I was also asked about a video shot by the thoroughly disreputable Mike Stark, whose selective editing and misidentification of members of Congress contributes to the appearance, at least, that a significant number of Republican members of Congress are "Birthers" — or at least that they won’t say they’re not Birthers.

Freddoso collects wingnut welfare from the Washington propaganda rag he writes for (I won’t link to it) and has the temerity to call me “disreputable”.  He goes on to suggest that I’ve selectively edited my videos to, I guess, paint an “at least” exaggerated story.

Look…  I’ve released the full context of every clip we’ve used.  Freddoso links to another intellectual lightweight that suggests I abused Congressman Reichert by selectively editing an interview with the Congressman for use in a montage.  Funny…  if either of these irresponsible hacks had contacted me, I could have set the record straight for them.  With regards to Reichert, it is true – I haven’t released every second of footage I’ve shot.  Why?  Because the first time we caught up with the Congressman, he was on his way to make a vote.  The exchange wasn’t exactly pretty.  I know it wasn’t Reichert’s best moment, because we caught up with him again on the way back to his office after he finished voting.  That’s when we did the longer interview.  What happened in between is what is interesting.

While we (Brett Vaughn, the documentarian) and I were waiting for the Representatives to emerge from the Capitol after casting their votes, a young woman approached us and asked us if we had been filming Dave Reichert.  After we said yes, she identified herself as communications staff for Reichert, said she didn’t want to be filmed, and asked us what we were up to.  We told her that we were asking Republicans if they believed Obama was born in the United States because we thought their answers would be the truest measure of how bat-shit insane the GOP has become.  We went on to say that we had some footage of her boss that kinda sucked for him, but if he was willing to come on camera and talk about birtherism, we’d promise that our first encounter would land on the cutting room floor forever.

And that’s the way it ended up.  Reichert came out of the Capitol, we interviewed him on the spot about birtherism  – and nobody has seen the first interview.  Today we enjoy a quality working relationship with the Congressman; he’s approachable and willing to speak with us because he knows he can trust us not to engage in exactly the kind of underhanded smears that the rag for which Freddoso works publishes regularly.

Freddoso continues:

Stark, you may recall, is the man who made a scene during a 2006 Senate race by shouting repeatedly while cameras were rolling in order to start an unsubstantiated rumor that then-Sen. George Allen, R-Va., spat on his first wife.

Uhm…  Dave?  I didn’t start the rumor.  I asked about the common-knowledge that circulates throughout Charlottesville.  Just like I asked about the common-knowledge regarding Allen’s racist past.  Moreover, I’ve gone out of my way to affirmatively state the spousal abuse allegations as a matter of fact.  Why?  Because such allegations are actionable in court.  And I’ve got a standing invitation to George Allen:  if I’m lying, sue me.  We’ll open up your divorce records, retrieve the emergency room records from Charlottesville (where his wife was treated) and we’ll sort all of this out.  If I’m wrong…  well, I’ve graduated UVa law school and expect to do quite well for myself.   Allen may be able to retire with the windfall judgment he’d win against me.  After all, his political career has been destroyed.  The damages must be huge!

Anyway, there’s plenty more I could write about this Freddeso character and his handmaidens at the propaganda sheet he works for…  But bloody ‘ell…  I’m too tired to bother.

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Mike Stark

Mike Stark