Whatever Happened to Fact-Checking?

OR IS IT IMPOSSIBLE WITH OBAMA?

by Sharon Rondeau

Obama at his victory speech on November 4, 2008 in Grant Park, Chicago

(Jan. 13, 2016) — On November 6, 2008, CBS News ran a story taken from Columbia Daily Spectator, an independent newspaper reporting on the events in and around Columbia University in New York City.

The article was properly attributed to “Betsy Morais, Columbia Daily Spectator” and announced the victory declared by the Obama campaign in the November 4 presidential election.

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Morais titled her column “Obama Wins Presidency:  Barack Obama, CC ’83, Is First Columbia College Alum Elected” and described the feeling of euphoria among Obama’s supporters who had gathered in Chicago’s Grant Park to celebrate the “change” that Obama had promised during the campaign.

In recounting Obama’s alleged history, Morais wrote that “His father—also named Barack—immigrated to the U.S. from a small village in Kenya.”

According to documents reportedly released by the U.S. State Department in 2010, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. did not “immigrate” to the United States; he appears to have studied at the University of Hawaii and Harvard University on a student visa which ultimately was non-renewed in July 1964 after Harvard administration documented what they viewed as inappropriate behavior on his part.

On Monday, Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders also described Obama’s father as “an immigrant,” comparing him to Sanders’s father, who reportedly came to the U.S. from Poland and presumably was eventually given permanent status.

A student visa does not award “immigrant” status to an individual from a foreign country.

CBS’s reprint of Morais’s article lacked necessary punctuation, which Morais had included, and contained some words which ran together.

Obama’s mother was reportedly Stanley Ann Dunham, originally from Kansas and reportedly born in 1942.

Obama reports that he was born at the Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, HI on August 4, 1961, but a biography issued by his then-literary agent said that he was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”  When the discrepancy was made public by Breitbart News, the agent explained it as a “fact checking error” on her part.

Morais wrote that Obama’s parents’ “marriage lasted six years before his father left to return to Kenya.”  However, it has been reported that Obama’s parents divorced when he was “two years old, and his father left Hawaii to enter Harvard University to earn a Ph.D. in economics.”

Other accounts say that they divorced in 1964, the last year that Obama Sr. was in the U.S.

In May 2012, ABC News reported that Obama’s parents were married for four years.  ABC also contended that Obama’s parents’ wedding ceremony was “so discrete that her son never uncovered any records of the event, according to Scott’s biography of Dunham, “A Singular Woman.”

However, last summer Hawaii Department of Health Registrar Dr. Alvin Onaka provided The Post & Email with a redacted receipt which he said was submitted by Obama or his designee in 2007 and showed that both a birth certificate and marriage certificate had been provided by the Health Department.  Obama and Michelle were married in Chicago; therefore, the request would not have been for his own marriage certificate.

However, a researcher who traveled to the Hawaii Department of Health in 2010 took photos of Stanley Ann Dunham’s name entered in the “Bride” section of the Marriage Indices for the years 1961, when she reportedly married Barack Obama Sr., and 1965, when she reportedly married Lolo Soetoro.

Dunham and Obama’s marriage has been reported as both February 2, 1961 and February 21, 1961.

The same ABC article states that “By the time Obama was a year old, his father, Barack Obama Sr., had moved from Hawaii to Massachusetts to get a masters degree from Harvard.”

Morais reported that although Obama is a Columbia College alumnus, he had “spoken little of his college days.”  She wrote in 2008 that certain “classmates” recalled Obama “to have often arrived to class early, donning a red backpack” between the years 1981 and 1983, when Obama reportedly graduated.

Obama is mentioned nowhere in the Columbia Daily Spectator’s archives, although The Post & Email neither could find any mention of Wayne Allyn Root, who reports having graduated from Columbia as a political science major, the same course of study as Obama, in 1983.

On June 4, 2013, Root wrote, “I just returned from New York, where I attended my 30th Columbia University reunion. I celebrated with my esteemed classmates. Everyone except Barack Obama. As usual- he wasn’t there. Not even a video greeting. Not a personalized letter to his classmates. Nothing. But worse, no one at our 30th reunion ever met him. The President of the United States is the ghost of Columbia University.”

Eric Holder, a 1973 Columbia College graduate and 1976 Columbia Law School graduate, is mentioned several times in the archives as a football player between 1971 and 1973.

Root has publicly speculated that Obama never attended Columbia, citing a long-time professor who said that if Obama majored in political science, he would have known him.

ABC reported that Obama’s mother passed away “a few weeks short of her 53rd birthday, of uterine and ovarian cancer, two years before her son was elected to the Illinois state senate,” but Obama was elected to the Illinois state senate in November 1996.

Obama’s public life story states that he entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988; Morais stated that he “migrated to the East Coast (from Chicago) to pursue his law degree at Harvard in 1991.”  Law school requires three years full-time, which, if Obama began in 1988, would have made 1991 his graduation year.

Morais reported that Obama announced his presidential run on “February 20, 2007,” but the correct date is February 10, 2007.

On December 25, 2015, The Washington Post reported that the “address listed on Obama’s birth certificate” of 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu was a “tiny, abandoned lot” which is “state-owned,” while public property records show that it is owned privately.  While an adjoining neighborhood Board chairman told The Post & Email that The Washington Post’s story contained inaccuracies, the story remains unchanged.

The name of a “Michael Barron,” who was reportedly Obama’s “senior seminar professor,” in Morais’s article and duplicated by CBS, does not appear a second time in the Spectator’s archives.  Barron is said to have graduated from “GSAS,” which stands for “Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.”

The Post did not report at all that Obama’s long-form birth certificate, posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011, was determined by a criminal investigation to be a “computer-generated forgery” which Obama claimed as his own during a press conference on the day of its release.

On Wednesday, The Post & Email attempted to discover whether or not Morais is still writing for the Spectator but received no response to our inquiry as of press time.  Having combed through the Spectator’s archives, we found that she wrote for the Spectator between 2007 and 2011 and was pursuing a Master’s Degree in Anthropology.

Her last article written for the university publication appears to have been published on April 27, 2011.

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One Response to "Whatever Happened to Fact-Checking?"

  1. Pingback: Exclusive: The Post & Email Obtains Ted Cruz’s Texas Bar Registration Card | The Post & Email

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