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3/22/2005

You are not a Nobel nominee, you jackass

Conservatives who wish to forestall Terri Schiavo's death have been citing the supposed expertise of one Dr. William Hammesfahr, a neurologist who claims that Terri's condition is not hopeless. Adding extra weight to Dr. Hammesfahr's credibility is conservatives' repeated invoking of the fact that the man was nominated for a Nobel Prize. Media Matters counted Sean Hannity as mentioning this a total of eight times during a single show.

Bloggers, too, have made much of Dr. Hammesfahr's prestige: My View of the World, Myopic Zeal, Red Meat, Sailor in the Desert, Right from Left, Black Kettle, among many others, have all repeated the fact that Dr. Hammy was nominated for a Nobel prize.

But the word from Media Matters, which comes via Oliver Willis, is that this "fact" is actually, well, not a fact:

[Hammesfahr's] claim to be a Nobel nominee is based on a letter written by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) recommending him for the prize. But Bilirakis is not qualified to make a valid nomination under the Nobel rules. According to the process posted on the Nobel Prize website, the Nobel Assembly sends out invitations to approximately 3,000 people who are allowed to propose candidates. The 3,000 are "mainly members of the Nobel Assembly, previous prize winners, and a selection of professors at universities around the world."


Needless to say, Rep. Bilirakis is not one of these 3,000.

So, basically, the guy's friend wrote a letter recommending him to win a Nobel prize. This, brothers and sisters, does not give him license to go around calling himself a Nobel nominee (in case you wondering, he does indeed make this claim himself). Just because some jackass writes a letter doesn't mean you were "up for the Nobel prize," as Hannity put it.

Oh, and on top of this particular fraudulence, Dr. Hammy has also been disciplined by the Florida Board of Medicine for charging patients for services that he didn't perform.

So I'd say the guy's credibility regarding Terri Schiavo is down to about nothing.

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