Recently, I’ve blogged about the right-wing smearing of our President and Ira N. Forman wrote, “The Dumbing Down of American Politics” for Talking Points Memo. Today, JTA writes an article reporting how GOP leaders have been repeatedly duped by scurrilous anti-Obama email rumors.
Maybe, Republicans should stop spending so much time desperately looking for ways to smear our President (especially since the best the GOP can come up with are widely and long ago debunked anti-Obama myths). This repeated, and possibly willful, ignorance of reality is inexcusable. Maybe it’s time to for Republicans to try a new tactic - how about real bipartisanship?
An Internet rumor falsely claims that President Obama allowed hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees “with ties to Hamas” to resettle in the United States.
The rumor that Obama signed an executive order authorizing such a move was debunked in mid-February, but it continues to spread online. It also echoes the false Internet rumors that dogged candidate Obama during last year’s campaign.
The rumor’s latest appearance came on March 10 in an article written by Adam Hasner, the Republican majority leader in Florida’s House of Representatives, that appeared on the American Thinker Web site. Hasner, whose column criticized Obama’s Middle East policies on several fronts, told JTA that he must have received 20 e-mails mentioning the refugee order, and more than one lawyer said that he had checked out the documents online and the claim appeared to be true.
Still, Hasner said he had decided to strike the line because he couldn’t be sure as to its veracity—but an error in the editing process led to the passage’s reinsertion into the piece. After the article was published, Hasner heard from a friend and expert in the field, who told him he liked the article but that the sentence about the refugees was incorrect.
It wasn’t the first time a legislator had been misled by the e-mail rumor. The day before Hasner’s piece was published, U.S. Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) withdrew an amendment to a spending bill that would have prohibited any federal money from going to resettle Palestinian refugees from Gaza to the United States. He withdrew the amendment after acknowledging that the impetus for the legislation had been the false e-mail.
According to Snopes.com, a Web site that specializes in debunking, and occasionally verifying, Internet rumors, the e-mail came from a misreading of a presidential determination Obama signed shortly after he took office titled, “Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related To Gaza.” While GOP lawmakers and other Obama critics have played a role in perpetuating the false rumor, Snopes cites the conservative Web site World Net Daily as the first publication to debunk it.
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