Liberal blogger Mike Stark filmed an online video that portrayed eleven Republican members of Congress as being evasive when asked whether or not they believe President Obama is an American citizen. In it, Stark attempted to prove that Republican politicians are held hostage by conservative conspiracy theorists who believe Obama's certificate of birth is invalid, and is thus unqualified to be President. The video received wide attention, and was seen as a smoking gun by critics who relish in ridiculing what they have titled the "birther" conspiracy movement.
A closer look at the video reveals that much of the seemingly incriminating footage is the result of selective video editing, falsification of identities, and outright mischaracterization.
For example, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Was.) was put in the video for 25 seconds, giving an unclear answer to the question posed by Stark as to whether or not Obama is a citizen.
"If we're in America and we are free, and we allow people to say - I mean, people stand on the sidewalk, and this gentleman gets to show" - Reichert gestured towards a protester on the sidewalk where the filming was taking place - "gets to stand for what he believes in in the way he decides to, because we're in America."
However, Stark's unedited interview with Reichert lasted almost 5 minutes, during which he gave a definitive answer as to whether or not he believes Obama is a citizen: "I believe he is, because I haven't seen any proof that says that he's not."
Evidence provided by those who do question Obama's citizenship is scanty at best. Their vigilant attitude has been compared to the "9/11 truther" theorists and to those who question Trig Palin's true parentage. Stark's video characterizes Republican Members of Congress as buying into "birther" theories because the Members do seemingly do not deny their frivolous claims outright.
But nearly all of the Members who were characterized as siding with the "birthers" by Stark said they actually do not agree with them.
"He was running to catch a vote, not to get away from this guy," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who was filmed jogging up the Capitol steps as Stark accosted him.