Fox News Goes Full Birther
Following Donald Trump’s lead, Fox News figures have recently embraced or promoted aspects of the birther conspiracy theory by falsely claiming that President Obama has not produced his birth certificate, or by hosting birthers to hype their discredited theories unchallenged.
Hannity Leads The Fox News Birther Charge
Palin Embraces Trump’s Birtherism: “More Power To Him”
Fox News Figures Embrace Hannity And Palin’s Birtherism
Fox Uncritically Hosts Birthers, Promotes Birther Conspiracy Theories
Obama Has Released His Birth Certificate; Did Not Spend $2 Million Preventing Its Release
Hannity Leads The Fox News Birther Charge
Hannity: “Produce The Birth Certificate, It’s Over And Done With.” On the March 24 edition of Fox News’ Hanntity, host Sean Hannity asked: “What’s the deal? Produce the birth certificate, it’s over and done with.” He later again demanded that Obama “[s]how the birth certificate” and asked, “Why won’t they release the birth certificate?” From the March 24 edition of Hannity:
HANNITY: First of all. What’s the deal? Produce the birth certificate, it’s over, done with. Chris Matthews wants it.
McGUIRK (Imus in the Morning Executive Producer): Show the birth certificate–
HANNITY: Show the birth certificate.
McGUIRK: Get it over with.
HANNITY: Get it over with.
HELDMAN: Wait, what does Indonesia have to do with being born in the United States? How is that material to whether or not he was born in the United States? What is the logic?
HANNITY: Why won’t they release the birth certificate?
HELDMAN: What is the logic? What’s the connection?
HANNITY: Why don’t they just release it and get it over with? And, we don’t have to talk about it -
HELDMAN: Because it’s insulting.
EHRLICH: In fact, I’m tired of talking about it now.
HANNITY: So the only reason they don’t release it is because it insults him. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/15/11]
Hannity Jumped Aboard “Trump 2012″ — Birtherism And All. During the April 15 edition of his show, Hannity helped to promote Trump’s birther claims, later airing a graphic promoting a “Trump 2012″ presidential run. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/21/08]
Hawaii Health Dept. Official Certified That She Had Personally Seen Obama’s Birth Certificate. As USA Today reported on July 28, 2009, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, certified that she had personally seen Obama’s birth certificate in the original records maintained by the Hawaii government. In a press release, Fukino stated:
“I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.” [USA Today, 7/28/09; Hawaii Department of Health press release, 7/27/09]
Salon’s Elliot Debunked Claims That Obama Spent $2 Million “To Not Show His Birth Certificate.” Trump repeatedly claims that Obama spent $2 million dollars trying to prevent the release of his birth certificate. This claim appears to have originated from the conservative website WorldNetDaily and has been repeated by numerous right-wing media figures, such as Palin. However, Salon’s Justin Elliot looked into the claim and reported:
While the $2 million figure has now been invoked thousands of times around the Web, it appears to have originated on WorldNetDaily, a right-wing news website that conducts original (and often unreliable) reporting on a variety of conspiracy theories.
Specifically, WND’s Chelsea Schilling wrote a series of articles on the legal bills in 2009. See here, here and here. According to the WND articles, the Obama campaign paid $1.7 million in fees to the law firm Perkins Coie between October 2008 and October 2009.
Perkins Coie’s Bob Bauer, who is now White House counsel, represented Obama in at least one birther lawsuit that WND has also written about. In 2009, Bauer fired off a brief letter to an attorney who brought a case questioning Obama’s eligibility to be president. Bauer warned the attorney that the case was frivolous and asked him to stop pursuing it. (The case is called Hollister v. Soetoro — with Soetoro referring to the name President Obama supposedly used as a child in Indonesia. It was recently appealed to the Supreme Court, which turned it down.)
The implication of the WND stories — though not explicitly stated — is that because Perkins Coie worked on a birther suit, and because the Obama campaign paid Perkins Coie $1.7 million, therefore the campaign paid $1.7 million fighting birther suits. That’s an obvious logical fallacy.
Indeed, just last month Roll Call published a look at the Obama campaign’s post-election legal spending — now totaling $2.8 million, most of it to Perkins Coie. DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan told the paper: “The campaign has incurred ordinary legal expenses related to the wind-down of its operations and other legal services which all campaigns incur and which are proportional to the unprecedented size of this campaign.” Roll Call continued:
Legal costs for presidential campaigns can balloon following Election Day as these organizations face compliance issues and sometimes court cases stemming from the campaign season.
Sevugan said some legal fees were needed to defend the campaign against “unmeritorious” suits, including one challenging Obama’s citizenship.
So, yes, it’s clear that the Obama campaign has spent some money fighting so-called eligibility lawsuits. But the $2 million figure is baseless. [Salon.com, War Room, 4/11/11]