As the press has been hitting the Obama birth certificate pretty hard lately (hey, welcome to the show!), several concerned citizens and bloggers have noticed that the press may be over-doing their hand just a wee bit too much.
Yesterday, CNN/US President Jon Klein sent an email to Lou Dobb’s staff regarding performing research on a hard (physical) copy of the original, 1961 birth certificate (via MediaBistro.com; more story at the link):
—– Original Message —–
From: Klein, Jon (CNN)
Sent: Thu Jul 23 19:00:44 2009
Subject: Important re birth certificate
I asked the political researchers to dig into the question “why couldn’t Obama produce the ORIGINAL birth certificate?”
This is what they forwarded. It seems to definitively answer the question. Since the show’s mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonite. And then it seems this story is dead – because anyone who still is not convinced doesn’t really have a legitimate beef.
*In 2001 – the state of Hawaii Health Department went paperless.*Paper documents were discarded*The official record of Obama’s birth is now an official ELECTRONIC record Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Health Department told the Honolulu Star Bulletin, “At that time, all information for births from 1908 (on) was put into electronic files for consistent reporting,” she said.
Transcript from Lou Dobbs Tonight – 07.23.09
DOBBS: ….And a number of Americans are asking, why not? The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question. Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii says it can’t release a paper copy of the president’s original birth certificate because they say the state government discarded the original document when the health department records went electronic some eight years ago.
That explanation, however, has not satisfied some critics. Joining me now, Roland Martin. He’s CNN contributor, syndicated columnist. And joining us as well, Congressman Ted Poe.
In fact, HotAir.com also reported on this development (excerpted):
Bad idea. I sympathize with him wanting to protect CNN from negative press but the surest way to feed a conspiracy theory, needless to say, is to try to suppress it. This is like Roger Ailes issuing a communique ordering Fox News not to cover 9/11 Truth. What is he hiding? …
Dave Weigel, who’s been tracking the Birther phenomenon for months, floats a new story today about Team McCain having investigated the rumors last year and found nothing to them. Possible lines of Birther attack: McCain’s vetters were too dumb to find the smoking gun; even if they found the smoking gun, McCain’s eligibility was also in question at one point due to his being born in Panama so he couldn’t use it; McCain’s a RINO and wanted to lose so even if he did find the smoking gun, he probably destroyed it to help Obama out.
Whoa, stop the presses! The Hawaii Department of Health actually destroyed vital records? What else does “discarded” mean? How did that happen and by what authority?
Not only that, but now we’re supposed to be believing what’s being posted on the Internet, e.g.: the certification of live birth? And all this time I thought the press promoted the notion that you can’t trust what you find on the Internet!
Artwork courtesy TheBirthers.org
Sheesh! Don’t we have more than enough leading conclusions being bandied about the conventional press-o-sphere, much less the blosophere, to last until at least 2012? Speaking as someone who has been questioning the then would-be President’s eligibility since late October, 2008, I can say that this is a definite issue with the press.
Recently, a concerned citizen forwarded me a link to the blog WesternJournalism.com which recently posted what they’re saying is an intelligence investigator’s report:
Editors Note: In December ‘08 a retired CIA officer commissioned an investigator to look into the Barack Obama birth certificate and eligibility issue. On July 21, 2009 westernjournalism.com obtained a copy of the investigator’s report. Here is an unedited version of the report.
June 10, 2009 Report, updated July 18, 2009 [emphasis original]
The posting goes on for several pages to further consider the birth certificate aspect of eligibility.
Nevertheless, what the press is forgetting — or intentionally overlooking, as the case appears to be — is that Mr. Obama’s original 1961 birth certificate is but one part of the story.
Consider the following points of interest:
- There is currently no definitive definition regarding the concept of “natural born citizen” with direct respect to presidential eligibility;
- There is currently no law that requires any candidate for any office to substantiate their eligibility. Instead, as the Candidate > Qualifications category of my site shows from many months back (as well as YourFellowCitizen.com), major political parties merely require the candidate to sign a self-ascribing document wherein they certify themselves eligible;
- Since there is no law requiring any candidate to substantiate their eligibility, there is, by definition, no law that establishes the degree to which one must substantiate one’s eligibility. In other words, nobody has ever claimed that a birth certificate presentment would be enough to substantiate eligibility. Everyone presumes that providing a birth certificate is “good enough;”
And if those three points weren’t enough, as attorney Leo Donofrio pointed out and as I reported back on November 20, 2008 in my posting, “Could FactCheck.org be Plainly Stating Obama’s Biggest Citizenship Problem?“:
Therefore, as someone who has been rather intimate with this story long before the press opened their recent brouhaha over the birth certificate, there is more to the story than simply a piece of paper. As such, I think it’s important to remind the media that they shouldn’t be overplaying their hand and, even more importantly, they shouldn’t be shunning those of us who continue to question by presenting endless diatribes of leading conclusions.
Not that I have a problem with the press finally coming on board the discussion; the water is plenty warm and I invite anyone to jump in. It simply sounds to me like folks at CNN — and perhaps other outlets (notice that FoxNews has been the one to stay away from the debate) — are attempting to circumvent the bigger issue of eligibility by trying to justify that no original birth certificate exists.
Bottom line: We’re supposed to believe that the HI DoH simply “discarded” vital records. Right. And we’re supposed to believe that what’s posted online — e.g.: the certification of live birth — is now what’s supposed to be trusted, even though we have no record of the transaction or the person(s) involved in procuring it. Right.
And yet the press is completely missing the point of what it means to be an at birth natural born citizen. That I believe!
Update: The WashingtonIndependent.com site has an interesting update from Friday afternoon regarding the above email from CNN/US President Jon Kelin, showing that Mr. Klein appears to be backing off some of his original assertions:
Greg Sargent spoke with CNN’s president Jonathan Klein about Lou Dobbs, and the demands from some liberal groups that Dobbs be punished for giving airtime and credibility to birthers.
“Look, Lou’s his own show, and CNN in general has repeatedly and thoroughly reported on the facts behind this situation,” Klein said to me, adding that Lou had merely hosted “a few conversations with people representing a wide range of opinions.”
Klein said that Dobbs has repeatedly stated that he believes that Obama was born in Hawaii, and has simply been examining the “phenomenon that for some people this won’t go away.”
Asked if CNN is concerned that Dobbs’ repeated granting of airtime to theories the network has conclusively debunked amounts to overkill and could harm CNN’s credibility, Klein brushed off the possibility. “We respect our viewers enough to present them the facts and let them make up their own minds,” he said, adding that what Dobbs does is “his editorial decision to make.”
That … sort of walks back Klein’s internal CNN memo about Dobbs earlier today.
Update: From a concerned citizen, the Southern Poverty Law Center has officially rebuked CNN for allowing Mr. Dobbs to talk about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate. From their site, here is there official letter to Jon Klein asking for Mr. Dobb’s removal:
July 24, 2009
1 Time Warner Center
New York, N.Y. 10019-6038
Dear Mr. Klein,
As an important and respected news organization, CNN has a special responsibility to ensure the accuracy of its reporting. We have written to you before about our concern that Lou Dobbs repeatedly fails to live up to this standard in his reporting on immigration. Now, Mr. Dobbs is again trading in falsehoods and racist conspiracy theories, questioning President Obama’s American citizenship.
On the July 15 edition of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Mr. Dobbs questioned the official certificate provided by the president and the State of Hawaii and complained that President Obama has not made public the “original document.” On his radio program, Mr. Dobbs has repeatedly questioned the president’s fitness for office, demanding he “show the documents” and, at one point, jokingly suggesting President Obama may be “undocumented.”
The truth about the president’s birth is not in dispute. It has been verified by Factcheck.org, among many other serious news organizations, and his official birth documents have been made public. CNN itself has repeatedly reported on the falsity of the claims of the “birthers,” and the network’s esteemed legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, recently called those claims “a joke.” As you know, even Mr. Dobbs’ frequent fill-in anchor, Kitty Pilgrim, debunked the birthers on the July 17 edition of Mr. Dobbs’ own CNN show. The fact that Mr. Dobbs suggests otherwise on CNN — while real CNN reporters tell the truth — is both deplorable and an embarrassment to all serious journalists.
As he has in several other instances, Mr. Dobbs, in taking up the birthers’ claims, is adopting an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that originated on the radical racist right. As Gawker.com has reported, this particular conspiracy theory was first developed by an open anti-Semite and circulated by right-wing extremists who cannot accept the fact that a black man has been elected president of the United States. Among its adherents was neo-Nazi James von Brunn, the alleged murderer of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., this June. Von Brunn had helped spread the birthers’ claims on the Internet and attacked the “dishonest & conspiratorial Media” for not taking them up.
This is not the first time Mr. Dobbs has pushed racist conspiracy theories or defamatory falsehoods about immigrants. We wrote you in 2007 to bring to your attention his utterly false claim that 7,000 new cases of leprosy had appeared in the United States in a recent three-year period, due at least in part to immigrants. (The real number, according to official statistics, was about 400. Mr. Dobbs took his spurious information from the late right-wing extremist, Madeleine Cosman.) In addition, Mr. Dobbs has reported as fact the so-called Aztlan conspiracy, which claims that undocumented Mexican immigrants are part of a plot to “reconquer” the American Southwest. He has suggested there is something to a related conspiracy theory that claims the governments of Mexico, the United States and Canada are secretly planning to merge into the “North American Union.” He has falsely claimed that “illegal aliens” fill one third of American prison and jail cells. And Mr. Dobbs has routinely disparaged, on CNN’s air, those who have had the integrity to point out the falsity of these and similar claims.
Respectable news organizations should not employ reporters willing to peddle racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda. It’s time for CNN to remove Mr. Dobbs from the airwaves.
J. Richard Cohen
In short, as I’ve said before to commenters here on my site, the saga has only begun.
See the following links regarding the eligibility saga:
- Obama’s Presidential Eligibility: What You Need to Know
- Obama’s Sealed Background Documentation
- What’s the Difference Between a Birth Certification Versus a Birth Certificate?
- Keyes v. Lingle: Forensic Examiner and IT Expert Disprove Certification of Live Birth
- Obama Citizenship Facts
- The State Department and Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) Natural Born Citizen Resolution (April 10, 2008)
- Citizen Grand Jury Updates and Eligibility Lawsuit Listing
Photo courtesy CNN