A friend who’s not real fond of Barack Obama’s political leanings sent me this today under the subject of “Somebody check this out.” Hate to have to tell him it doesn’t have much chance of having a grain of truth to it, because it really would have made his day — and a lot of other people around here, took, judeing from the turnout at last Friday’s TEA Party Rally. But I also have a lot of fun deconstructing a hoax like this.
Here's the "story":
AP- WASHINGTON D.C. - In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama's qualifications for the presidency, the group "Americans for Freedom of Information" has Released copies of President Obama's college transcripts from Occidental College. Released today, the transcript indicates that under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at the school. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizen ship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama's detractors have been seeking. Along with the evidence that he was first born in Kenya and there is no record of him ever applying for US citizenship, this is looking pretty grim. The news has created a firestorm at the White House as the release casts increasing doubt about Obama's legitimacy and qualification to serve as president. When reached for comment in London, where he has been in meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama smiled but refused comment on the issue. Britain's Daily Mail has also carried the story in a front-page article titled, "Obama Eligibility Questioned," leading some to sp eculate that the story may overshadow economic issues on Obama's first official visit to the U.K.
In a related matter, under growing pressure from several groups, Justice Antonin Scalia announced that the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments concerning Obama's legal eligibility to serve as President in a case brought by Leo Donofrio of New Jersey. This lawsuit claims Obama's dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. Donofrio's case is just one of 18 suits brought by citizens demanding proof of Obama's citizenship or qualification to serve as president.
Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation has released the results of their investigation of Obama's campaign spending. This study estimates that Obama has spent upwards of $950,000 in campaign funds in the past year with eleven law firms in 12 states for legal resources to block disclosure of any of his personal records. Mr. Kreep indicated that the investigation is still ongoing but that the final report will be provided to the U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder. Mr. Holder has refused to comment on the matter.
Apparently it’s a hoax that's been roaming around the Internet for about three months.
There was no date on the story, but I can tell you that a search of the AP's entire archives for the past two weeks turns up no such article.
It's also not properly formatted or written in AP style. Washington AP stories do not start out "AP- WASHINGTON D.C. - ". Instead, the word Washington appears first, and without the D.C., followed by a space and the AP in parentheses. Here's an example from today’s wire:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are accusing senior CIA officials of repeatedly misleading Congress, but Republicans say the allegations are just political maneuvering to protect House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It doesn’t help that the story also had some conjecture and opinion mixed in with its facts. Contrary to popular opinion, AP editors are real sticklers for leaving that kind of stuff to the editorial pages.
I have also found references to this e-mail being sent out on April 1: "A chain email claiming that Occidental College released a transcript indicating as much is an April Fools Day hoax."
I also found this on the website http://amfoi.wordpress.com:
“You know, when a group like ours that does not exist sets out to not-actually release a report containing an utter lack of an Occidental College transcript for Barack Obama, it just amazes me. No, it’s not our utterly fictitious act that is so impressive. Any non-existent entity can not do anything, after all. Or after nothing at all, (not) actually. Sigh. Writing from nonexistence is a bit complicated.
“But to get back on track, what really impresses me is that despite the multiple indications of the non-existence of the “Americans for Freedom of Information” group in gold-standard fact-check sites all over the web, for months on end reminding people that any claims by the “Americans for Freedom of Information” are utterly bogus and without a shred of documented evidence whatsoever, there are still some chumps out there taken in by all this!”
And last but not least, www.snopes.com labels it as false. So yeah, I don't think it's very credible.
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