4 Dumbest Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories ... Involving Photoshop
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After the inane birth certificate conspiracies refused to abate for another several years -- which eventually focused on alleging that the short-form certificate posted by the Obama campaign in 2008 was either phony or insufficient proof of the president's birth in Hawaii -- the president released the "long-form" version of his birth certificate in April 2011. Once again, conservatives set to work attempting to discredit the document.
A few hours after President Obama released the long-form, Eric Bolling invited Geller on his now-defunct Fox Business program to assess a poster-sized version of the document with the help of a laser-pointer. During the conversation, Geller announced that the document was "actually not a birth certificate," and Bolling declared that the "green border" on the certificate "had to be Photoshopped in":
Attempting to label the long-form certificate a forgery has since become one of the conservative blogosphere's favorite hobbies. Jerome Corsi has posted numerous articles on the subject at WorldNetDaily, apparently convinced that whoever the Obama administration supposedly hired to conduct the forgery left a series of Da Vinci Code-style clues (which Corsi has dubbed "The Obama Code") behind in the document.
Among the anomalies in the long-form certificate highlighted by Corsi were the "distinct form of a smiley face" allegedly present in the signature of the Hawaii Registrar of Vital Statistics as well as a misspelling (clearly just smudged stamp ink) of the word "The" on the registrar stamp:
A few weeks before Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate, conservative writer Jack Cashill posted a column at WorldNetDaily claiming President Obama had been "conspicuously photoshopped" into this picture of his grandparents sitting on a park bench in New York City:
Cashill embedded a YouTube video that purported to have found the "real" version of the photo. In the "real" version, most of the young President Obama is absent, save for his disembodied right leg:
And that might not even rank as the most bizarre instance of conservative writers claiming pictures of a younger Obama with various family members were manipulated.
In one of several articles he wrote promoting a "documentary" positing President Obama is actually the lovechild of communist writer Frank Marshall Davis, Jerome Corsi highlighted the movie's conclusion that President Obama's mother was Photoshopped into this picture posted on the president's Facebook page:
According to the article, "The black hand under Obama's right armpit doesn't match Ann Dunham's right arm... The hand appears to be a remnant from a black male before it was airbrushed." As explained by Corsi and the filmmaker, Joel Gilbert, this black male could very well have been Frank Marshall Davis, a conclusion reached thanks to the following "comparison":
In May 2012, graphic artist Mara Zebest -- who was reportedly "working closely" with Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's quest to prove Obama's birth certificate a forgery -- posted articles at American Thinker claiming that two famous photographs taken in the Situation Room on the day of the Bin Laden raid had been Photoshopped in order to create "The Illusion of Obama's Bin Laden Situation Room Leadership."
Some of Zebest's analysis confusingly hinged on President Obama wearing a jacket featuring fabric panels that looked suspiciously like pants, even though Zebest herself eventually concludes that they are part of his jacket:
Zebest also wondered why Obama had "an abrupt chunk" missing from his ear, as well as a "transparent neck edge":
Most embarrassingly, Zebest wondered why a document in one of the Situation Room photos had been blurred, while a separate document featuring the phrase "Codeword: NOFORN" on a binder in front of Secretary Clinton was left untouched.