Brendan Nyhan still isn't credible (Obama, "Birthers", "science", CNN)
Brendan Nyhan shows yet again why he isn't a credible source and how he's simply an establishment toady with "Why conspiracy theories die hard" . His article is something that would have been right at home in totalitarian regimes where those who disagreed with the regime's leaders were declared insane.
His article is also highly ironic:
[In a study he conducted] undergraduate participants were given news articles in which a political figure made a misleading claim. In some cases, this claim was followed by a correction that set the record straight. Disturbingly, we found that corrective information in news articles often fails to reduce misperceptions among the ideological or partisan group that is most vulnerable to the false belief.
The irony is that every mainstream media article about the Obama citizenship issue has contained one or more lies or misleading statements about the indisputable facts of the issue. In some cases they've just made things up. Nyhan would fault the American public for not believing articles that lie to them and that smear millions of Americans. A "Brendan Nyhanovich" would have faulted Russians for not believing that grain production grew 43% last quarter as Comrade Stalin said.
For an example of how Obama supporters - whether media reporters or minor academics - can't be trusted, Nyhan writes:
In this case, the birther movement has grown to its current prominence despite the release of a certification of live birth and the discovery of contemporaneous announcements of Obama's birth in two Honolulu newspapers.
Obama never "released" a certification of live birth ("COLB"). He posted on his website a picture of what he claimed was his COLB. The state of Hawaii never officially verified that it matched what they had on file. As for the announcements, they are not now and never were proof. No one has ever provided any evidence beyond the flimsiest that they'd only indicate a Hawaiian birth. The supposed long-form birth certificate has raised even more questions than the COLB, such as exactly how the image itself was composed. None of that means that Obama was born outside the U.S., but he also hasn't proven he was born there either. There's an excellent chance that he was in fact born there, but the fact is that - when examined in a scientific or legal manner - this issue is not closed. Anyone who says it's closed is basing their determination not on facts but on faith: faith in Obama. If his supporters would simply admit that a component of their determinations was based on faith in Obama, then I wouldn't have an issue. The issue arises when they confuse facts with faith.
To compound the problems, Nyhan has advice:
The best hope for killing this myth -- or any similar one -- is to create a bipartisan consensus that it is false. If conservative elites speak out aggressively against it, Republicans who are distrustful of Obama and the mainstream media might change their minds. Unfortunately, this seems unlikely -- the political incentives to pander to birthers are still too strong (as Donald Trump has recently demonstrated).
Memo to the GOP: do not take advice from an establishment hack who can't distinguish between faith and fact. Conservative leaders have spoken out against the "Birthers" issue countless times, and their base isn't buying it. Those leaders are in effect enabling smears originating in the White House and the Democratic Party instead of fighting against those smears.
If Nyhan wants to end this myth, he should follow those four finger pointing back his way and demand that the establishment finally tell the absolute truth about this issue instead of trying to paper over their lies with smears.