Jonathan Strong gets facts wrong about Obama certificate and "Birthers"

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Jonathan Strong of the Daily Caller offers "Earth to birthers: the facts about Obama’s birth certificate" (link). A supposed reporter offering "facts" about the Obama citizenship issue designed to put that issue to rest and finally quell the concerns of the great unwashed is a certain guarantee that they'll get their facts wrong, and Strong is no different.

1. Strong claims that "[t]he evidence shows Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961" and that "[w]e know Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961".

In fact, the most that we can say at the present time is that the evidence strongly indicates that he was born in Hawaii. All the evidence presented so far is full of holes for the reasons outlined in the posts on the Obama citizenship page. If it were already proved then the evidence presented would be irrefutable and Obama's many supporters in the mainstream media and politics wouldn't have to run around lying and misleading on his behalf about the basic, indisputable facts of this matter.

2. Strong writes:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama released a “Certification of Live Birth,” a document produced by the state of Hawaii certifying the state holds records that a person was born there.

Give him credit for - unlike dozens of other reporters - getting the name of the document right. However, it's not correct to state that Obama "released" a Certification of Live Birth ("COLB"). He posted on his website a picture of a COLB. As anyone knows, sometimes a supposed picture of an item and the item itself are different. While it's very unlikely that Obama would have edited that picture in some way, it can't be ruled out. Especially since the state of Hawaii refuses to authenticate that picture. If everything were proven as Strong would have us believe, then Hawaii would have authenticated that picture or Obama would have released the original paper copy of whatever he received to an impartial panel for them to verify. (The pictures from FactCheck are questionable for the reasons outlined at that link.)

3. Strong states:

Further, two Hawaiian newspaper announcements from 1961 tell of Obama's birth. Janice Okubo, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Health, told the Honolulu Advertiser in July 2009 that such newspaper announcements were based on notifications from the Health Department, which received information directly from hospitals.

That's a reference to [1]. Those announcements aren't proof. And, relying on the thoughts of Janice Okubo is a risky endeavor indeed. In the past she's contradicted herself in the same article and in a telephone conversation I had with her she indicated that she's just a spokeswoman and doesn't directly deal with the certificates. It's also doubtful whether she was even born in 1961. Yet, here she is trying to tell us how things were done five decades ago? Walk into any government office and ask a supervisor to tell you how things were done there in the 60s and see if they have any clue.

The truth about how such announcements were handled would only come from the testimony of those who handled such announcements at the time, from contemporaneous policy manuals and other documentation, and so on. Not from someone who probably wasn't even born then and who's more or less just a confused PR flack.

4. Strong states:

The certification of live birth Obama released is legally sufficient documentation to apply for a U.S. passport, but it’s not the same thing as a “long form” birth certificate, called a “Certificate of Live Birth” in Hawaii. That document is issued by hospitals and includes additional information not on the certification.

Here's a test: put a picture of your birth certificate on a website somewhere, then take your laptop in to the State Department and ask for a passport using that web picture. That's not going to work, wouldn't you agree? While the original paper copy of a COLB might be enough to apply for a passport, all we've seen so far is a picture on a website of a supposed COLB.

5. Strong states:

Though Obama has not released the long form birth certificate, a state official in Hawaii says she has personally viewed it... July 27, 2009, the then-director of the Hawaii Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, stated she had personally viewed the long-form birth certificate. “I…have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai‘i and is a natural-born American citizen,” she said in a written statement.

Strong is, at the least, jumping to conclusions. On October 31, 2008, Fukino stated that she had seen Obama's "original birth certificate". In the statement that Strong references, she only said she'd seen his "original vital records". Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie only referenced a "recording of the birth" that was "written down".

We certainly could be like Jonathan Strong and *assume* that those are references to a long-form birth certificate such as we've seen, but making such assumptions is generally not a good idea. They could be referring to something else.

While it's highly likely that Obama was born in Hawaii, he still hasn't definitively proven it despite what those like Jonathan Strong would have you believe. This issue is vitally important from that perspective: we can't allow the media to strongarm their version of the truth on the U.S. The mainstream media has consistently lied and misled about this issue and has waged a smear campaign ("Birther!") against anyone who has questions in order to paper over their lies. That's extremely dangerous for the U.S. and it emboldens the media to lie about other issues.

See also:

* Did Hawaii gov Abercrombie lie about seeing baby Obama?
* The highly incompetent response to this issue by the GOP and their leading supporters.
* FactCheck
* Politifact
* Snopes
* The long list of others who've lied and misled about this issue on the Obama citizenship page.

[1] From July 28, 2009's "Hawaii officials confirm Obama’s original birth certificate still exists" from Dan Nakaso, a reporter who's lied about the facts of this matter before (link):

Birthers wave off those birth announcements, saying that Obama family members 48 years ago could have phoned in false information to both newspapers.

Such vital statistics, however, were not sent to the newspapers by the general public but by the Health Department, which received the information directly from hospitals, Okubo said.

Birth announcements from the public ran elsewhere in both papers and usually included information such as the newborn's name, weight and time of birth.

"Take a second and think about that," wrote Robert Farley of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times' Pulitzer Prize winning Web site on July 1. "In order to phony those notices up, it would have required the complicity of the state Health Department and two independent newspapers — on the off chance this unnamed child might want to one day be president of the United States.

On a sidenote, Robert Farley misled about this issue.