May 20, 2007

Debunking The Debunkers

Most of us are familar with informative websites such as Snopes.Com and perhaps to a lesser extent websites like Ask.Com, websites that educate and in the process attempt to dispell any rumors or urban legends that seem to persist on the internet. Many people are predisposed to think that a lot of investigation and research goes into dispelling netlore and rumors and therefore expect that much of what they read on these websites is in fact factual. One might be led to believe that credibility is an issue of paramount importance to websites such as these. But is it?

On the 20th of January 2007 I first translated an Indonesian media report on presidential hopeful Senator Barack Hussein Obama entitled "Tracking Down Obama in Indonesia" , this would be the first of several postings I made on the subject of Barack Hussein Obama's education and childhood during his formative years in Indonesia.

At the time, there were rumors circulating that a young Barack Hussein Obama was educated in a Wabbabist madrasah. While there was some truth in the rumors concerning Obama's childhood, the madrasah rumor was false and on the 23rd of Janauary (here in Southeast Asia) I posted the first "debunking" of this rumor in a post entitled "Tracking Down Obama in Indonesia - Part 2". Keep in mind, that over here in Southeast Asia we are one day ahead of those of you who live in the United States.

The very next day, CNN would report the following story from Indonesia where they claimed to debunk the false reports on Obama.

CNN's reporting from Indonesia was misleading and contained numerous factual inaccuracies of what Obama's previous school is like now and what Obama's education was like during the late 60's and early 70's. On the same day as CNN's report, I posted the following entry entitled CNN Calls The Kettle Black.

I would later post two reports "debunking" CNN's report from Indonesia. If you have not read them, please do. You might ask yourself as I did, what exactly CNN debunked?

This first report focuses of CNN's biased, misleading and deliberately deceptive reporting from Indonesia. How they ignored certain prominent witnesses, friends and teachers of young "Barry Soetero". Even more shocking is how they were seemingly ignorant of recent changes in Indonesia's constitution "that restrict religious freedom by forcing elementary and secondary school students to undergo religious instruction, sometimes in a religion other than their own".

This second report focuses on what CNN didn't tell you about Indonesia in the late 60's and early 70's when a young Barack Hussein Obama would have actually attended school there. Seriously, if you wanted to have an insight into what Obama's education was like in Indonesia during the late 60's and early 70's then why would you make a sophmoric attempt to show what a school is like in the year 2007?

Cited in the link above, is a March 1976 publication by Lambert Kelabora entitled, Religious Instruction Policy in Indonesia followed by a 1979 publication entitled, Assumptions Underlying Religious Instruction in Indonesia both these publications can give the reader a fair assessment of exactly how much religious instruction and Islam did in fact play a prominent role in Indonesia's government and so-called secular schools during the time when a young Barack Hussein Obama would have attended school there.

My reason for reposting this synopsis is because recently my attention has been brought to the fact that two self-proclaimed non-biased websites both who profess to dispell netlore, urban legends and web rumors are in fact promoting just that ~ what they claim to dispell.

Both websites, Ask.Com / About.Com and Snopes.Com seem predisposed to use Barack Hussein Obama's own self-serving books and the notoriously cannibalized CNN's "debunking" as authorities in their bids to dispell what they perceive to be rumors concerning Obama's religious upbringing and his previous education in Indonesia.

Asked if Barack Hussein Obama was ever a Muslim, David Emery with Ask.Com had this to say:

"Once a Muslim? When? Unless I missed it while skimming Obama's two books and sundry interviews, the senator has never mentioned being a Muslim at any point in his life. Yes, he lived in a Muslim country during part of his childhood and briefly attended a Muslim school there, but he certainly wasn't raised a Muslim and has never been, so far as I can determine, a practitioner of that faith...[sic]"

Sorry, Mr. Emery, but you are wrong, and this isn't a "crass, politically-motivated smear" it is the truth.


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