OR DO THEY FEAR THE TRUTH?
by Sharon Rondeau
At 2:39 in the video feed from the presser, Arpaio stated that the investigation did not seek to determine Obama’s birthplace. “To this day, I stated that I did not care where the president was born. It had nothing to do with that. But we were going to investigate a possible government forged document. I hope you get that straight; I’ve been saying that since Day One, since 2011,” Arpaio said.
In the scant news coverage following the 66-minute press conference in which it was revealed that two professional document examiners concluded that the image could not be authentic, various media outlets turned the focus to what it has termed the “birther” controversy, or the questioning of Obama’s birthplace.
At various times, Obama’s place of birth has been to be Kenya, Indonesia and Hawaii. Some narratives state that he went to Indonesia to live with his mother and stepfather at age two, while others say he was six years old when he left the U.S.
The website LawNews, which provided an arguably more detailed account of the presser than many other outlets, nevertheless reported that “The sheriff is among the last high-profile ‘birthers’ left, who question whether the President was born in the United States. Former birther President-elect Donald Trump held his own presser during his campaign, where he acknowledged that President Obama was indeed born in this country, and that he indeed had a legitimate birth certificate.”
While Trump said at the conclusion of a September 15 endorsement rally in Washington, DC that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” he did not say that Obama “indeed had a legitimate birth certificate.”
In early April 2011, it was Donald Trump who, during a meeting with citizens and limited media at Trump Tower in New York, said that he predicted that a forgery would be released by the White House in response to his own urging that Obama prove that he was born in the United States and was presumably eligible to hold the office of president.
The media is aware that Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires the president and commander-in-chief to be a “natural born Citizen.” Most Americans interpret the phrase to mean “born in the United States.”
However, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz argued during the 2016 campaign cycle that he, too, qualifies as a natural born Citizen, despite his birth in Canada, because of his U.S.-citizen mother.
Like Cruz, Obama claims a father who was a citizen of another country when he was born. However, Cruz’s father became a U.S. citizen decades later, while Obama’s did not.
Historically, citizenship was passed down from father to child, regardless of where the child was born.
While the media was eager to discuss Cruz’s eligibility or lack thereof, the subject of Obama’s eligibility has been taboo since he declared himself a presidential candidate on February 10, 2007. Also lacking in the mainstream media is curiosity as to why a forgery of Obama’s birth record would have been created.
Last Friday, Megan Cassidy of The Arizona Republic wrote an article also published at USA Today titled, “Sheriff Joe Arpaio renews birther claims about Obama’s birth certificate” which misled the public by stating that at the two 2012 press conferences given by Arpaio and lead investigator Mike Zullo, “no one explicitly claimed the birth certificate was a fake. They were instead fueled by innuendo, the suspicions of volunteers, and a throng of impassioned ‘tea party’ supporters.”
At the March 1, 2012 press conference, Arpaio and Zullo declared that there was probable cause to believe that the birth certificate image, as well as Obama’s Selective Service registration form, was a forgery. In July of that year, they revealed that further evidence gathered showed that the standard of probable cause in the forgery of the birth certificate image had been overcome and called upon Congress and the media to launch its own investigations.
In its reportage of the second press conference, the media ridiculed the messengers and then fell virtually silent on the matter, showing no curiosity as to how or why the image was manufactured.
On Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times headlined an article with, “On the heels of electoral defeat, Sheriff Joe Arpaio attempts to revive debate over Obama’s birth certificate,” referring to Arpaio’s loss of his November 8 bid for a seventh consecutive term.
However, the presser did not involve “debate,” and no questions were taken from reporters or attendees upon its conclusion.
The Los Angeles Times’s Nigel Duara wrote, “Even as most celebrities and politicians — including President-elect Donald Trump — have abandoned the thoroughly debunked idea that Obama was born somewhere other than the U.S., Arpaio has only dug in harder, with Zullo at his side.”
A widely-circulated article by Jacques Billeaud of the AP incorrectly reported that Arpaio “became one of the nation’s leading voices on the debunked controversy over Obama’s birthplace” and that he “took up the ‘birther’ mantle” without even mentioning the “nine points of forgery” featured in a video shown twice during the press conference compiled from the two forensic document analysts’ reports.
While acknowledging Arpaio’s declaration of probable cause from 2012, Billeaud then wrote, “The facts say otherwise. Hawaii officials repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship, and the courts rebuffed a series of lawsuits.”
The day after the press conference, the International Business Times reported that “Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio resurrected the birther controversy Thursday, presenting what he said was evidence President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was forged.” The article then displayed a photo identified as “
The IBT article continued, “The so-called birther controversy arose during the 2008 presidential campaign, asserting Obama had not been born in the United States as required by Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution, making him ineligible to be president. Subscribers to the conspiracy theory say Obama actually was born in Kenya, not Hawaii.”
It was Obama’s own literary agent, as well as the Associated Press, who stated that Obama was born in Kenya long before Obama sought the presidency in 2007. Michelle Obama has also referred to Kenya as “Barack’s home country.”
One of the points Zullo made during Thursday’s press conference was that a document purported by NBC News’s Savannah Guthrie to be a copy of the Obama birth certificate containing a raised seal was actually just a photograph taken by the Associated Press superimposed on a piece of paper.
Zullo had previously told Alan Jones of 1776channel that the posse’s investigation had found no raised seal on the image. “We don’t know what she felt,” Zullo told Jones of Guthrie’s claim to have “felt the raised seal.”
An article at The Denver Channel states that “the White House has backed the validity of Obama’s birth certificate for the past eight years,” although the image was released less than six years ago. A link from the article referring to the conclusions of the two forensic document experts leads to Cassidy’s article at The Arizona Republic.
KGUN Channel 9 showed video footage from the presser and correctly stated Arpaio’s position that the investigation did not deal with Obama’s birthplace.
Since the final presser last Thursday, no media outlet has announced that it will itself investigate the posse’s findings, which Arpaio stated will be turned over to “federal authorities” and Congress.
Both Arpaio and Zullo said that they have sought “the truth” about the image. But does the media share that objective?