WHOSE ARE THE “BIG LIES?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 27, 2015) — On Monday evening, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly opened his “No Spin Zone” show by stating that “A few years ago some people were saying Barack Obama was not born in the USA.” O’Reilly punctuated his opening statement by labeling the claim “big lies.”
“‘The Factor’ investigated and found birth announcements in both Honolulu newspapers. It would have been impossible for anyone to forge that; thus, it became clear to us the president was born here. The allegation that he was not is a big lie. However, that lie is insignificant; it has no effect on anyone’s life…” O’Reilly concluded his opening statement before segueing into the first “news” segment of the broadcast.
On June 12, 2008, an image said to be “Obama’s birth certificate” was posted at The Daily KOS website, followed by others in the coming days and weeks. Obama’s now-defunct campaign website, FighttheSmears, also posted the image as apparent proof that he was born in Hawaii. The page, now found in the Wayback Machine, claimed it a “lie” that Obama did not meet the Article II, Section 1, clause 5 requirement of “natural born Citizen” but relied on the wording of the 14th Amendment to “prove” his eligibility.
Since Obama took office, O’Reilly has staunchly defended him against speculation that his claimed birthplace in Hawaii and cited background are false. On his April 13, 2011 show, O’Reilly went so far as to say that the reason Obama’s purported Social Security number appeared to have been issued by the state of Connecticut was that his father had lived in Connecticut for “several years,” an allegation not supported by any publicly-distributed information on Barack Obama Sr., Obama’s purported father.
Three days after that broadcast, WND reported that O’Reilly’s explanation for Obama’s alleged Social Security number did not appear on a “Fox News website podcast of the episode purchased, downloaded and audited by WND.”
Obama’s biography on the White House website states that he had a “mother from Kansas” and a “father from Kenya” without naming either person. The opening paragraphs read:
His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.
With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.
According to Obama’s Wikipedia entry, “‘Obama was born on August 4, 1961, at Kapiʻolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital (now Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children) in Honolulu, Hawaii, and would become the first President to have been born in Hawaii. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, born in Wichita, Kansas, was of mostly English ancestry. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya. Obama’s parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where his father was a foreign student on scholarship. The couple married in Wailuku on Maui on February 2, 1961, and separated when, in late August 1961, Obama’s mother moved with their newborn son to attend the University of Washington in Seattle for a year. During that time, Obama, Sr. completed his undergraduate economics degree in Hawaii in June 1962, then left to attend graduate school at Harvard University on a scholarship. Obama’s parents divorced in March 1964. Obama Sr. returned to Kenya in 1964 where he remarried; he visited Barack in Hawaii only once, in 1971. He died in an automobile accident in 1982, his son being 21 years old at that time.“
Stanley Ann Dunham is said to have remarried another University of Hawaii student, Lolo Soetoro, in 1965. She and her six-year-old son reportedly relocated with Soetoro to his home country of Indonesia in 1967.
The most frequently-told life narrative states that the young Obama, known as “Barry Soetoro” in Indonesia, was sent back to Hawaii at age ten to be raised by his maternal grandparents. Dunham reportedly returned to Hawaii for three years with his half-sister to complete her Master’s degree in Anthropology, then went back to Indonesia in 1975 and divorced Soetoro in 1980.
The White House biography states that the above is “the American story…”
On the morning of April 27, 2011, the White House released an image touted to be a certified, scanned copy of Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) containing more details than the “short-form” Certification of Live Birth released in 2008. In a press conference Obama gave immediately afterward, he claimed that he was born at “Kapiolani Hospital” in Honolulu, a statement hospital spokespersons will not confirm.
During his remarks, Obama said that “We do not have time for this kind of silliness…” and that Americans should not “pretend that facts are not facts.”
The “long-form” image contains the purported signatures of his mother and the delivery doctor, both of whom are deceased. It was almost immediately said to be a forgery by a number of graphics and computer professionals.
Multiple news pieces in both broadcast and print formats about Obama’s purported birthplace were issued during the two-week period leading up to the White House’s publication of the long-form image.
- On April 11, 2011, NBC News’s Michael Isikoff publisheda purported “rare telephone interview” between former HDOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino and an unnamed “reporter” in which Fukino termed questions about “whether Obama has a legitimate birth certificate” “kind of ludicrous at this point.” Isikoff further stated:
- “The document was distributed to the Obama campaign in 2007 after Obama, at the request of a campaign official, personally signed a Hawaii birth certificate request form downloaded on the Internet, according to a former campaign official who asked for anonymity. (Obama was ‘testy’ when asked to sign the form but did so anyway to put the issue to rest, the former campaign official said. The White House has dismissed all questions about the president’s birth as ‘fictional nonsense.’)”
- On April 12, 2011, O’Reilly gave his responses to allegations about Obama’s background which O’Reilly termed “internet propaganda,” including the claim that “no birth certificate has been made public.” After O’Reilly declared that to be “true,” he added, “But the state of Hawaii has once again said that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate is on file. A certificate of live birth has been released. A ‘Factor’ investigation also showed Mr. Obama was born in a Honolulu hospital, and we stand by our reporting.”
- On April 20, 2011, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos interviewed then-Rep. Michele Bachmann after she had said on Fox News the night before that “All he had to do is just answer some questions and show his [long-form birth] document and then have people do an attestation that this in fact is a legal document and it’s over, it’s done. And I think the president has neglected to focus on answering that question for people, and that’s why a lot of people still have it lingering in their minds. None of us can prove, none of us can do attestation. Only the president and someone who is legally tasked with attesting to the validity of that document can do that, and I think that’s what the president should do.” On Good Morning America the following day, Stephanopoulos showed Bachmann what he purported was Obama’s “birth certificate.” The camera showed only the back side of the document, which contained no folds, then switched to a depiction of a document containing folds credited to “Factcheck.org.” The face of that document was not shown clearly.
- On April 25, 2011, CNN’s Anderson Cooper anchored the first of a two-part series in which reporter Gary Tuchmann, on location in Honolulu, spoke with former HDOH director Dr. Chiyome Fukino, who affirmed on camera that Obama was born in Hawaii. The second part of the series has been removed from the web.
On October 10, The Post & Email sent a message to Stephanopoulos through an ABC News “contact” portal for his current show, “This Week,” to ask if the document he held that day was the same document shown by the camera credited to Factcheck.org but received no response.
Regarding a request form referred to by Isikoff in his article allegedly submitted in 2007 by Obama or a campaign staffer, Hawaii Registrar of Vital Statistics Dr. Alvin Onaka told The Post & Email in response to an August 31, 2015 open records request that the department possesses no form or letter submitted by Obama or his designee requesting his birth record. Rather, a purported copy of a receipt issued May 30, 2007 was issued to us in response to our request, with all of the identifiers completely redacted.
Former White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog on the day the long-form image was released that the short-form birth certificate was requested in 2008, not 2007.
An “investigation” O’Reilly claimed in 2009 to have carried out “more than a year ago” reportedly yielded “the documents” to prove O’Reilly’s claim that “President Obama was born in Hawaii.” The video of that broadcast has been removed from the web.
As Fukino and others have repeatedly stated, Hawaii law precludes the release of vital statistics records to anyone without a “direct and tangible interest in the record.”
In his Monday night comments, O’Reilly failed to mention that a criminal investigation into the long-form birth certificate image and Obama’s Selective Service registration form declared both to be “computer-generated forgeries” at a press conference on March 1, 2012. Further investigation yielded a second press conference on July 17, 2012, during which Maricopa County Cold Case Posse lead investigator Mike Zullo and Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio stated that the standard of probable cause in the forgery of the birth certificate image had been surpassed.
Zullo subsequently said that he was not sure that Obama’s parents are those who have been publicly identified. Zullo reported that regarding Obama, “there never was a birth in Hawaii” and there is no evidence he was ever in Hawaii before the age of five.
An Associated Press report from early Tuesday morning showed a photograph of Arpaio and Zullo with a “March 1, 2012” date in the caption but no mention of it as the day of the first press conference in which the findings of forgery were first announced to the public. The article concerned a civil contempt trial stemming from a lawsuit naming Arpaio, his chief deputy and other staff, and Maricopa County as defendants. Although the author, Jacques Billeaud, mentioned the investigation of confidential informant Dennis Montgomery and Zullo’s familiarity with it, he did not include Zullo’s lead role in the investigation of Obama’s only publicly-proffered documentation found to be fraudulent.
The investigation into the “birth certificate” arose briefly in April during hearings in the case, which is presided over by U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow.
While the mainstream media issued print reports on the internet of both 2012 press conferences, it apparently was not sufficiently curious into the findings of forgery to launch its own investigations or made a decision not to do so for some other reason.
During the first press conference, Zullo stated that he had in his possession a number of statements from members of the media to the effect that threats were issued for their having demonstrated interest in Obama’s birthplace or background. Other media personalities, including Glenn Beck, Michael Medved, Chris Matthews, and Mark Levin, have ridiculed anyone questioning Obama’s proffered life narrative.