Birther madness: Sherr was more at fault!


Because he was asked: Why did Rick Perry discuss Obama’s birth certificate with Parade magazine last week?

All in all, we can’t tell you.

On cable “news” in the past two nights, you have seen the usual stooges speculating about Perry’s strategy and motives. In this morning’s Washington Post, Ruth Marcus did a bit of the same, then voiced some sensible thoughts:
MARCUS (10/26/11): The matter of Obama’s birth certificate should be a closed case. It is astonishing that a sitting governor, no less a serious candidate for president, would stoop to playing this game.


The country is facing serious problems. This will be a fateful election. Voters deserve better than scare tactics and drivel.
We agree that this should be a closed case. We agree that voters deserve something better than this tired old drivel.

Is it astonishing that a governor would stoop to discussing this drivel? If so, the same is true of a major "journalist." With that in mind, let us be the first to criticize Parade’s inane Lynn Sherr.

Why did Perry discuss the birth certificate with Parade? Let us be the first to tell you: In part or in whole, because he was asked! In part or in whole, because Lynn Sherr wasted everybody’s time—and lowered everybody’s IQ—by raising this stupid old topic.

According to the full Parade transcript, it was Sherr, not Perry, who brought this drivel up.

Everyone has whacked Perry for answering. Isn’t it time that sensible people whacked Sherr for asking? Or would that break guild rules?

Let us be the first to tell you: The Q-and-A’s about the birth certificate weren't included in Sunday’s hard-copy Parade. If you read your entire Parade magazine, you didn’t see a single word about this stupid topic.

You have to go the longer, unedited interview to access the now-famous exchange about the birth certificate. And it’s Sherr, not Perry, who raises the topic in that transcript (click here).

No one, including Marcus, has asked why Sherr re-introduced that drivel into the conversation. So let us be the first to ask: As a nation, why do we tolerate hacks like Sherr? Hacks who stage these stupid charades? Hacks who play these low-IQ games? Hacks who pretend to be journalists?

Perry has continued to discuss this topic—for example, when asked about it by John Harwood. He has been criticized for taking a semi-joking approach. But in the full interview with Sherr, it’s clear that he was giving joking answers to earlier questions on other topics.

Why did he talk about the birth certificate? In part or in whole, because he was asked! Because he was asked about this drivel by a journalist who ought to apologize and admit she’s been playing the fool.

Here at THE HOWLER, we’re tired of “journalists” like Sherr. We’re also tired of people like Marcus, who wouldn’t criticize the Sherrs if their lives were at stake. Between Candidate Perry and Journalist Sherr, we would say Sherr was more at fault in the return of this stupid old drivel. But in the press corps, you don’t criticize your peers.

Darlings! It just isn’t done!

Marcus also wastes everyone’s time in her column with remarks about Herman Cain’s on-line ad. But then, everyone in the cable “news” world started with these same topics last night. They’re silly and stupid and fun to discuss. They're perfect for very dumb, disengaged posers, the kind you find on cable.

We live in a downward-spiraling, low-IQ world. The dumbness is putting your nation in peril.

“Journalists” have been mired in this drivel every dumb step of the way.


  1. Thanks for being, as far as I know, the only person with a platform who bothered to notice that Perry didn't bring this up, Sherr did.

    That said, if Perry didn't want to go there, he didn't have to. So he's not exactly blameless. He was baited, and he willingly rose to the bait.

    My guess is he really doesn't care about it, hasn't followed it and genuinely has no idea the whole thing has been utterly debunked. And he had Donald Trump bellowing at him about it the day before.

  2. Seeing as how an early front-runner for the Republican nomination became front-runner by raising the birther and grades questions, its undeniable that this is an issue that interests if not consumes some republican voters.

    Just look at the polls concerning Obama's citizenship and religion of the past couple of years.

    Who are the people in poll after poll that believe Obama is a muslim foreigner?

    They certainly aren't Independents or Democrats!!

    If I recall one CNN poll correctly over 40% of republicans believed Obama "definitely" or "probably" was not born here.

    It would be a grave disservice to NOT raise this question when interviewing a possible Republican nominee since its an issue of importance to Republican voters, if no one else.

    You might as well not ask if raising revenue by any means is off the table!!

  3. I don't think that Sherr is a hack. She's playing the game that expects them to be hacks. And Perry could have given a decent answer.

    Another thing is, Parade has a very long lead time for submissions. I'd be curious as to when this was done. A month ago? Six weeks? A long time ago, before Perry went down in the polls.

  4. Sherr began a question by asking, "Many believe global warming caused the wildfires in your state." That's not so.

    There's little controversy that the globe has warmed over the last 100 or 200 years. And, there's little controversy that it hasn't warmed during the last decade or so. But, it's by no means widely believed that the long-term warming caused the Texas droughts. Droughts like this have been not uncommon over the years.

    BTW I liked Perry's sense of humor. When asked if he had seen or read An Inconvenient Truth he responded, "No. I generally don’t watch or read a lot of fiction."

  5. Mr. Somerby writes:

    "Is it astonishing that a governor would stoop to discussing this drivel?"

    This begs the question, "Is it astonishing that a governor and possible major party presidential candidate would stoop to having 'fun' with the answer?"

    We can't say for ourselves but perhaps the large numbers of Republicans who believe Obama was "definitely" or "probably" not born here don't enjoy being the butt of Perry's "fun"!!

  6. Oh, that David in Cal -- global warming continues this year, as it has continued during the last decade or so. The only place where people believe "it hasn't warmed during the last decade or so" must be at Dave's tea parties. Did GW "cause" the Texas drought? Extreme weather events are happening with greater frequency, but there is no demonstrable cause and effect for any specific event. On the other hand, Gov. Perry's prayer-fest doesn't seem to have made things better. Perhaps the Lord is trying to tell him something.

  7. BillNRoe, take a look at actual temperatures. Here's a graph of global temperature on four different bases. It shows a long-term upward trend over the last 35 years. It also shows that most of the last few years were slightly warmer than today, In particular, there's been a significant drop since 1988.

    It's claimed that extreme weather events are happening with greater frequency, but I don't believe that's actually been demonstrated.

    BTW global temperature since 1988 have stayed the same or declined, even though man-made greenhouse gases increased during this period. That's one reason why some of us remain uncertain as to whether man's activity really is the primary cause of the long-term temperature rise.

  8. David in Cal said...

    "That's one reason why some of us remain uncertain as to whether man's activity really is the primary cause of the long-term temperature rise."

    Be honest, for you this is not a scientific question. There is no real debate about the science especially since its recently been rechecked and confirmed.

    For you it's a political question, like everything else.

    As long as you worship at the altar of Grover Nordquist, believe government is an agent of evil, there is no evidence, scientific or otherwise, to convince you.

    Fortunately, we do not have to convince every single person of something before taking action!!

    We've done it before and we'll do it again and leave the minority to spend their time trying to undo progress.

  9. Anonymous, I actually read the scientific output. Although I'm not an expert, I have actually worked with some weather models in the specialized field of hurricane prediction.

    The Berkeley BEST study that you refer to confirmed only that the globe had warmed over the past 200 years. One of BEST's conclusions was that the amount of warming was certain enough not to have been due only to random fluctuation. That's not a big deal. Virtuatlly nobody was disputing that that the earth has warmed, although it's always nice to have in independent study. Another conclusion is that there was substantial warming in the first half of the 19th century.

    But, BEST did not even try verify the cause of the warming. If you think it did, you're misunderstanding the point of that study.

  10. "But, BEST did not even try verify the cause of the warming. If you think it did, you're misunderstanding the point of that study."

    I'm not misunderstanding anything.

    The fall-back position for deniers like yourself, once you can't deny the earth is warming or claim that the field of climate science is corrupt, is to deny that the cause is man-made.

    Its all very predictable once its understood your main objection is political rather than scientific.

  11. [This is a different Anonymous] David in Cal -- That graph you linked to does show a large spike in temperature in 1998, and a much smaller one around 1988, but the trend lines are consistently upward. To me, that means that temperatures have increased over the past 10-20 years, despite one or two outliers. How is that wrong?

  12. David in Cal said...

    "That's one reason why some of us remain uncertain as to whether man's activity really is the primary cause of the long-term temperature rise."

    This can't possibly be based on science since: "Scientific Agreement: While approximately 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and that it is caused primarily by human activities, this high level of scientific agreement is understood by only 44 percent of the Alarmed, 18 percent of the Concerned, 12 percent of theCautious, and 5 percent or fewer of the Disengaged, Doubtful and Dismissive."

    Wow, 97% of publishing climate scientists say climate change is occurring and the primary cause is man-made.

    You're among the people who either don't understand that or just won't accept it for political reasons.

  13. the earth is warming, the science proves that. that the earth isn't warming in a standard manner doesn't negate the fact that is is warming, period. we still have blizzards and cold temperatures during the winter months. this also doesn't prove that the earth isn't warming, contrary the claims of deniars.

    the scientific evidence proves, with little margin for error, that the bulk of the warming trend is man-caused, the result of huge amounts of co2 pumped into the atmosphere, since the dawn of the industrial age, causing a "greenhouse" effect. just because this truth might adversely affect the financial fortunes of energy companies doesn't make it any less the truth.

    i too noted that ms. sherr was the one to raise the "birther" issue in the interview, a fact not really noted in so many of the stories about it. that said (and if gov. perry was actually joking), the gov. could have gone with it for a moment, as though he were serious, and then blown it off as completely ridiculous. he didn't. he later claimed (as they always do, when caught) that he was joking. he wasn't.

  14. Anonymous, science isn't proved by opinion surveys. Furthermore, real scientific concensus doesn't have disagrement from 3% of publishing scientists in that field. You won't find 3% of physicists disputiong the law of gravity, for example.

    If you like surveys, FWIW a very recent study showed that "On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones." See

    I suspect I'm more scientifically literate and numerate than you are, Anonymous, so it's ususal that I'm less concerned about climate change than you are. This survey shows that the more you know the less you see climate change as a serious threat.

    On another subject, I had written to the New York Times regarding their confusing chart of Perry's tax plan. I just received the following response from the Public Editor:

    Thanks for your note. I'll make sure the appropriate person sees your email to see if any revisions to the chart are necessary. We appreciate the feedback.

    Joseph Burgess
    Office of the Public Editor
    The New York Times

  15. In terms of any argument that denialists have, the answer to their silly claims can easily be found here.

    But that isn't the problem. For someone like David in Cal it isn't even really political or ideological. it's an issue of cognitive bias. He is virtually incapable of changing his mind - it would destroy his self-worth. There is as much evidence and science regarding this as there is regarding global warming.

    Confronting irrational thought and behavior is an exceedingly challenging and difficult subject. One thing is certain though. You can post links and argue til you wear out your keyboard. You won't convince him in the comment section of a blog.

  16. bh, you may be good at politics, but you're a dud as a mind-reader. My questioning of various aspects of global warming is informed by my reading of scientific matters. Several of the leading skeptical blogs have discussion boards populated mostly by scientists. E.g., Judith Curry, who has been head of the Physics Dept. at Georgia State has an excellent blog, Climate, Etc. Her posts tend to be scientific with scientific discussions. Other blogs with high level scientific discussions are and Another good blog by a noted scientist, but without comments, is

    bh, I would encourage you to read posts and reader discussions on these blogs. If you have enough scientific background, you'll understand why various aspects of global warming theory are questioned. And, even if you can't follow all the science, these blogs should at least show you that questions remain in the minds of serious scientists.

  17. David in Cal:

    You might be interested in these:

  18. Also of interest:


  19. ABC News:

    '“You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change,” Obama told donors referring to Perry.'

  20. Funny you should mention Judith Curry:

    "Climate skeptics have seized on Curry’s statements to cast doubt on the basic science of climate change. So it is important to emphasize that nothing she encountered led her to question the science; she still has no doubt that the planet is warming, that human-generated greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are in large part to blame, or that the plausible worst-case scenario could be catastrophic. She does not believe that the Climategate e-mails are evidence of fraud or that the IPCC is some kind of grand international conspiracy. What she does believe is that the mainstream climate science community has moved beyond the ivory tower into a type of fortress mentality, in which insiders can do no wrong and outsiders are forbidden entry."

    She's very critical of IPCC and individual climate scientists, not the science nor the conclusion that a large portion of climate change has man-made causes.

  21. hardlindr -- Skeptical Science says 2005 was warmer than 1998. The actual temperature chart shows otherwise. Who are you going to believe, Skeptical Science or your lying eyes?

  22. David in Cal:

    The chart that you showed doesn't show what I think you think it does. It shows a general warming trend continuing from the late 1990s into the 2000s (all the fit lines are gong up towards the left). Even if it was cooler in 2005 than in 1998, that would not mean that there is no warming occurring.