- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2009

CERTIFIABLE

There it is, plain as day. “Louis Dobbs, born 24 September 1945, Coast General Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya” - in faded type upon a rumpled birth certificate, waggishly showcased by Media Matters for America.

What? CNN’s Lou Dobbs born in Kenya? The same Lou Dobbs sympathetic to “birthers” who contend President Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible for office?

The document is fake, produced electronically in minutes at www.kenyanbirthcertificategenerator.com - a Web site created by a guy in Kansas who normally sells T-shirts online through a business called Blue Collar Industries.

“I was just driving to the bank on Tuesday and this idea to create a fake Kenyan birth certificate came to me,” proprietor Burton Parker tells Inside the Beltway. “My computer guy Joey Nelson went to work on it, and the site was ready in about eight hours.”

On the first day, the site got 100,000 hits. More than 40,000 fake birth certificates have since been created, Mr. Parker says. One simply visits the site, fills in the blanks, and voila.

“This is proof of how easily these things can get faked by ‘birthers’ or anyone else. It’s also amazing how quickly it got picked up. We thought it would just get Twittered. But Gawker, Talking Points Memo — they got it right away,” Mr. Parker continues.

Columnist Eric Boehlert, who posted the fake Dobbs document at Media Matters, said he was tipped off to it via Twitter.

“Political debate can be clever and articulate and witty — this definitely caught something. Like good satire, it makes a point. This idea that an uncovered ‘Kenyan birth certificate’ is the smoking gun is just laughable. This proves that anyone can create anything online,” Mr. Boehlert tells Beltway.

SUPREME EMOTIONS

Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation as Supreme Court justice has provided a convenient way for opinion makers to emote. Among the wave of emotions:

Soto-happy: “The Supreme Court is a better place today. … The fact that she is Latina is simply a bonus for a court that has, for too long, reflected only a portion of the American landscape.” - Rep. Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania Democrat.

Soto-sad: “Congratulations to the 31 Republican senators who stood on principle against Judge Sotomayors unsound vision of the judicial role and against her deceptive testimony.” - Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

SCREEN GEMS

George has bested David. For the first time in a decade, ABC News has wrested first place from NBC News in the Sunday morning political talk derby. “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos drew more viewers Aug. 2 than “Meet the Press” with David Gregory.

ABC had 2.8 million viewers, NBC had 2,770,000. In the coveted 25- to 54-year-old group, ABC drew 980,000 and NBC had 910,000.

“I’m going to savor the moment. We’ve been working a long time, inching up, week by week. It feels good to go over the top,” Mr. Stephanopoulous tells Beltway.

RATHER NOT

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather recently called upon President Obama to “establish a White House commission on public media” to discourage “sleazy” journalism, preserve a free press and protect “the red beating heart of democracy and freedom.”

The notion does not appeal to Americans, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. A quarter of the respondents favored the White House commission to bolster journalism; 55 percent opposed it.

“As far as the public is concerned, the embattled U.S. news media is on its own,” the findings said. The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Aug. 2-3.

CLUNKER FUNK

Metal scrap dealers are happy about extended “cash for clunkers” legislation. It means there will be more old Ford Explorers for their larders. Toyota is happy too. Corollas are the most popular replacement for discarded gas guzzlers.

The folks at Kelley Blue Book are not so happy. The $2 billion extension will take a half-million used cars off the market, says senior analyst Alex Gutierrez. Anticipating low stock but high demand, dealers are stocking up on the oldies. A massive clunker price “bubble” is in the works, he predicts.

“Dealerships have reported increased foot traffic, creating a false sense of automotive market recovery,” Mr. Gutierrez says. “If this bubble comes to pass, dealerships will end up with excess inventory and be forced to offer deep discounts, driving values down. Ultimately, there will be the possibility of a severe contraction in auto sales as soon as the cash for clunkers program runs out of funding.”

POLL DU JOUR

50 percent of Americans say immigration levels should be decreased, up from 39 percent in 2008.

32 percent say the levels should be kept the same, down from 39 percent last year.

14 percent say they should be increased, down from 18 percent last year.

36 percent say immigration is a “bad thing,” up from 30 percent in 2008.

Source: Gallup Poll of 1,018 adults conducted July 10-12.

Tales, outcry or mumbles to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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