Hannity gleefully promotes Birther soldier's get-out-of-service scam as legitimate
For two consecutive evenings this week, Sean Hannity has featured brief reports on the case of Maj. Stefan Cook, beloved as well by Lou Dobbs, as John just noted.
The involvement of Orly Taitz, as John says, is a dead giveaway. This is a woman with an online "Ph.D." and who is notorious for promoting far-right scams. As David Weigel at the Washington Independent reported, Cook is a Freeper who apparently cooked up this scheme with Taitz some months ago.
Indeed, this whole story that Hannity is promoting is a scam. Yet here's how he reported it last night:
Hannity: Now we told you yesterday about and Army Reserve soldier who challenged his deployment orders on the grounds that president Obama has not proven that he is a U.S. citizen. Now that soldier, Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, who was supposed to deploy to Afghanistan in the coming days, has now had his orders revoked. According to his lawyer, quote, "They just said order revoked. No explanation, no reasons, just revoked."
Now, Major Cook and his lawyers expressed joy at this outcome, and they took it as an admission on the part of the military that the president is not, in fact, a legitimate citizen by birth.
Notice how Hannity gave the segment over entirely to promoting Orly Taitz's claims. But all you have to do is read the actual news accounts to realize that she's lying: The Army in fact gives a clear reason for his orders being revoked -- it's that Cook always had the option of requesting not to go on this duty.
U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, the reserve soldier who says he shouldn't have to go to Afghanistan because he believes Barack Obama was never eligible to be president, has had his deployment orders revoked, Army officials said.
Lt. Col. Maria Quon, U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army Human Resources Command-St. Louis, said Tuesday evening, Cook was no longer expected to report Wednesday to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida for mobilization to active duty.
... Earlier today, Quon said Cook submitted a formal written request to Human Resources Command-St. Louis on May 8, 2009 volunteering to serve one year in Afghanistan with Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Central Command, beginning July 15, 2009. The soldier's orders were issued on June 9, Quon said.
"A reserve soldier who volunteers for an active duty tour may ask for a revocation of orders up until the day he is scheduled to report for active duty," Quon said.
As the "milblog" Mudville Gazette notes:
In short - Cook never had to go in the first place. Unlike most soldiers who deploy as part of a unit, Cook - a reservist - had volunteered to go as an individual augmentee. The Army generally seeks volunteers to fill such assignments first - if no one does so then a non-volunteer is tapped.
... Even without going to court, the Army says - essentially - hey, no problem. You were the one who wanted to go in the first place.
Actually, there is one "Major" problem. Because Cook waited to the last minute to take this action, either someone is going to get a very short notice non-volunteer assignment, or else the unit in Afghanistan will have to get by without one soldier for a while. Since that soldier would be a field grade officer, it's likely that the position will be of some significance.
But hey, at least he got his name in the papers.
Yet over at the wingnut military site Military.Com, there was Taitz being treated as a credible source too:
"Do you know what this means?" Taitz asked in a telephone interview with Military.com Tuesday, about an hour after hearing from Maj. Stefan Cook, the officer fighting his deployment to Afghanistan. "It means the Obama administration has blinked. They have no cards to play with. The moment I filed a lawsuit, they didn't even fight!"
Then again, this is a website where 51 percent of the readers, when polled online about the Cook case, answer: "I'd need to see the long-form birth certificate before I followed any of Obama's orders too."
You have to wonder if Sean Hannity's audience polls about the same.