Ah, Barack, Barack, Barack. I keep telling you that responsible leaders don’t inject themselves into local matters and trivial issues, warping attention and priorities, politicizing issues that shouldn’t be political, making things worse. But your learning curve is still, on this as regarding so much else, flatter than a Jeb Bush’s poll numbers. Why? Why?
It is increasingly looking like Ahmed Mohamed didn’t build a clock after all. Whatever he brought with him to school, it shouldn’t have gotten him arrested, and whatever got him arrested, it shouldn’t have gotten him a White House invitation when so many other worse examples of school abuse of kids, some spurred by your own excessive rhetoric about guns, didn’t even cause a momentary hitch in Obama’s golf swing. As it stands now, what may have been a dishonest stunt by a smart Muslim kid has paid off big time, and either the kid is trapped in a lie that keeps getting worse, or enjoying the fact that he is making a lot of people look like fools, including the President of the United States. This is increasingly looking a real life version of the famous Simpsons episode in which Bart’s practical joke involving an imaginary child named “Timmy” who has fallen down a well causes a media frenzy that traps Bart.
Ahmed is a child: his conduct can be forgiven. The adults in the episode, however, shouldn’t be.
Let’s catch up with the narrative, which I last visited here. It always looked like an example of confirmation bias gone wild, with just another example of school administrators showing no judgment and being cruel to students appropriated by Democrats, progressives and the media to serve their agenda of framing legitimate distrust of radical Islam as racism and bigotry. Now, however, it appears that all of them were taken in by a stunt of the sort that most of us, if we think back, can recall from one or more of our own classmates: the faked science project.
On a brief and clear video, Talbot elaborates on the reasons for doubting Ahmed’s story. “If someone had really made a clock, this circuitry would not look like this. First of all, this transformer is for a 120 volt line. People who do ‘maker’ things do not tend to use AC power because it’s a bit more dangerous and there’s no reason to do it. You can use batteries,” Talbot says. Pointing to the circuit boards, he points out: “These are manufactured, printed circuit boards, with printed circuit board circuits with a micro-controller in the middle. Those manufactured boards are used in manufactured products or professional engineer sample runs.”
There is more, Talbot says.
“The ribbon cables in between these are also indicative of a manufactured product. As a matter of fact, commercial clocks tend to have 9-volt battery backup and this even has the 9-volt battery backup. This was put in here to look like a device – with these cables and cords – this was put in here to look like a device that would be suspicious and, I think, intentionally so…I see no evidence that this is any creation whatsoever or that there was any modification or even assembly of anything, to have made things out of a kit for example. This is simply taking a clock out of its case.”
Next, Talbot shows a picture of crude clock he created and tinkered with to show the difference between actual inventions and commercial products, saying…
“It’s on a protoboard, where you can attach wires to a micro-controller. Something like this is much more likely to be something you would see if someone had actually made anything.”
“I’ve worked with kids in contests who have actually built things. I’ve seen 12-year-olds and 14-year-olds make amazing things on their own.Unfortunately, whether it fits your narrative or whatever you want to believe or not, this particular child down in Texas did not make anything. He did not make a clock. He simply took something out of the casing. People should not recognize this as an invention and recognize this child as an inventor for this particular creation when plenty of other kids have invented things…So if you thought this kid made an invention, you’ve been fooled.”
There are other reasons to be suspicious. Appearing on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that he talked to the boy over the telephone, and could hear his sister whispering Ahmed’s answers to Cuban’s questions before he spoke them to Cuban. Ahmed’s father’s background raises red flags too: he’s not exactly Robert Young in “Father Knows Best.” Mohamed Elhassan debated the Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones in 2011, and the Washington Post described him “as a native of the Sudan who is now an American citizen, likes to call himself a sheik….wears a cleric’s flowing white robes and claims hundreds of followers throughout Egypt, Sudan and in the United States.”
Then there’s this.
Meanwhile, this is all working out wonderfully for Ahmed; time will tell if this is like the story about the guy falling off a ten story building who shouts as he’s passing a window on the third floor, “So far, so good!” He’s a sudden media celebrity, he was invited by the President Obama to visitthe White House, he was given a VIP pass to the Google Science Fair, and was praised by an MIT astrophysicist, who gave Ahmed an invitation to tour the university during an MSNBC segment.
As the trainwreck unfolds, the uncurious mainstream media is adamantly refusing to revisit its unprofessional handling of the story, and ignores the growing suspicions, pigeon-holing them as the usual racist Islamophobia and Obama attacks, the usual rantings of “conservative media.” Who knows, they might get lucky. But I doubt it.
What’s going on here?
Hell, I don’t know.
Maybe the kid really did invent a clock. Maybe all the debunking is wrong, Maybe all the suspicious peripheral details are just coincidences.
Or maybe Ahmed tried to make his friends think he had invented a clock, the situation got out of control, spun into directions he couldn’t have anticipated, and he was trapped in a lie, with the President’s help. Maybe his family really thinks he did invent the clock. Or, maybe the father was using his son to manufacture sympathy for American Muslims. Maybe Ahmed was a pawn, like “Balloon Boy.”
Presumably we will eventually find out. I do know this, however:
…The news media disgraced itself by following a political, pro-Muslim, bigoted Texas narrative that fit its own biases rather than investigating the facts thoroughly.
…I know that there is no reason to conclude that Ahmed’s ethnicity and religion played any part at all in his treatment by the school, since schools all over the country have treated kids as badly or worse for less.
…Once again, we are seeing how the internet and bloggers are the saviors of the nation’s perspective and ability to be informed, since the news media is too incompetent, gullible and biased to be trusted.
…A lot of self-important and supposedly smart people may end up looking like dupes, and we will learn a great deal about their character when they do.
…I know that if Ahmed is living a lie with a short fuse, I would not want to be him, now or later,
… President Obama either has complete toadying morons as advisors, or ignores the one or two who aren’t. But I already knew that, and
…I know that the President has once again shown a flat learning curve, blatant bias, an absurd determination to counter rational distrust of Muslims by many American by trusting them beyond all reason himself, and has turned a moderate ethics train wreck into a huge one, while demonstrating his wretched judgment.