TL;DR Summary: HOW IT WORKS: An Internet meme sounds plausible but it is not true at all. The best propaganda usually sounds plausible!
Goal: To encourage doubts about the Obamas. Since it does not call for a specific action by the viewer, this could be considered “pre-propaganda” preparing the target for later messaging and a call to action.
Scorecard: Widely distributed in right wing circles even though it is false.
Sounds “plausible” (typical of propaganda) yet it is false. The creator of this meme has translated “inactive status” to “voluntary surrender” and then created a fantasy story about how this came to be. Illinois has a provision to put one’s license on “inactive status” so that annual license fees are greatly reduced and continued education courses are not required; the license can be re-activated later. Neither needs an Illinois law license in their present roles in Washington DC.
FactCheck.org explains how this poster is false.
This propaganda poster works because it is a simple message that kind of sounds plausible, and, as they hint, it is a story that just is not being told (because it is not actually true, of course).
Text for Search Indexing
President Barack Obama
Former editor of the Harvard Law Review, is no longer a “lawyer”. He surrendered his license back in 2008 in order to escape charges he lied on his bar application. A “Voluntary Surrender” is not something where you decide “Gee, a license is not really something I need anymore, is it?” and forget to renew your license. No, a “Voluntary Surrender” is something you do when you’ve been accused of something, and you “voluntarily surrender” your license five seconds before the state suspends you.
“voluntarily surrendered” her law license in 1993, after a Federal Judge gave her the choice between surrendering her license or standing trial for insurance fraud!