If you’ve followed the widely-rumored claims that Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a forgery, then you’ve probably heard of Paul Irey.
Mr. Irey is one of the more prominent of the 20 or so experts that WorldNetDaily claims to have at their disposal — all of whom maintain that the document is a clear and proven fake. Irey is described as “a retired professional typographer with 50 years experience.” He is also the past founder/owner of a successful graphics and advertising business in New Jersey (Bergan Graphics), which at its height had 60 employees. Montgomery Ward was one of his clients.
In June, Mr. Irey made the following claim:
“My analysis proves beyond a doubt that it would be impossible for the different letters that appear in the Obama birth certificate to have been typed by one typewriter. Typewriters in 1961 could not change the size and shape of a letter on the fly like that. This document is definitely a forgery.”
Mr. Irey has now confirmed his original analysis with a follow-up, in which he maintains:
“My 50 years in typography, my 25 years composing pages with Macintosh computers, and owning and using nearly every type of reproduction equipment leave me no doubt: the Obama birth certificate is a forgery.”
In my book, I analyzed the birth certificate for real evidence that different typefaces were used; and I also examined Mr. Irey’s work on the issue. I found no good evidence of forgery, and I found serious flaws in Mr. Irey’s examination that completely invalidated his conclusion.
In an online discussion that took place in the comments at the end of his latest article, Paul Irey challenged me to a debate. What he had in mind was an exchange right there in the article comments. That proposal was a good start, but not very interesting for two reasons:
First, the audience is too small. WorldNetDaily has a somewhat limited audience to start with, and the comments areas of past articles quickly go “dead.” We would probably find ourselves talking to a mostly empty room.
Secondly, WorldNetDaily’s audience is composed almost entirely of people who’ve already made their minds up that the document is a forgery. What could there possibly be to attract me to a debate on those terms?
For that matter, what benefit could there be to Paul Irey? I would think he’d rather have the opportunity to make some converts, rather than just preaching to the already converted.
I would therefore like to offer a counter-proposal: I challenge Paul Irey to a public debate in the largest possible venue.
The terms (which I believe to all be reasonable) are as follows:
* The audience should not consist mostly of people who’ve made their minds up, one way or another. This would rule out the normal gathering places for both “birthers” and “anti-birthers.” This does not rule out venues that simply lean in a particular direction politically, whether conservative or liberal.
* Such a debate should be hosted by someone who is reasonably neutral. The host could certainly participate in the discussion, as long as he or she doesn’t “gang up on” Mr. Irey or myself. Neither should he ridicule one side or use terms like “birther nutjobs,” “kook,” or “Obot.” This might tend to rule out some radio talk show hosts such as Neal Boortz, who generally has strong opinions and values the freedom to express them. (Nonetheless, if Mr. Boortz would be interested under the kinds of parameters I’ve outlined, I’d certainly be willing to consider his show.)
The goal is a debate that is structured in a fair manner.
* The debate should be in front of a large audience. In fact, since both Mr. Irey and I are interested in getting our messages out, I think we should aim for the biggest audience possible — or better yet, the best combination we can find of audience size and “fit” regarding the host and show.
The top possibility I have in mind would be a nationally-syndicated radio talk show.
In fact, my number one preferred pick (if he would be willing to host such a show for the purpose of helping clarify this national issue and demonstrating that we as conservatives value the truth) would be the nation’s number 2 radio talk show — Sean Hannity.
Some of the aforementioned undoubtedly wouldn’t be interested or suitable, and there might be some other great shows that would. I leave off Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage as I tend to think neither would be a good fit. (However, if either should think differently, they’re welcome to contact me!)
* A radio debate can be supplemented by additional materials posted online. This would allow listeners to see what we’re talking about, and can be arranged in a simple way so that people can get to such materials easily.
* I don’t want to exclude the possibility of television. I would also be open to a televised debate, and there are probably a number of hosts we could consider there. However, I do not have the budget to travel to some other location unless such expenses could somehow be covered.
* Since the proposed audience would be large, reasonable time should be allowed for preparation. I’m not talking weeks here. More like several days to a week. Given the uncertainties of my own schedule and the fact that I also have a full-time business to run, probably at least 4 days would ensure enough time for adequate preparation.
As far as I can think of right now, those would be the terms. If Mr. Irey agrees to them, then we can start trying to contact some of the shows suggested.
Paul Irey has expressed absolute confidence in his ability to refute anything that I might say. I know he would like to bring the forgery message to a broader audience — and I’d like to give him the chance. If he is willing to accept the challenge, we can start looking for the means to do just that.