Obama’s birth was announced in two local newspapers, and his campaign released a short form of his birth certificate when he ran for office. But the long form of the document remained under wraps in a vault until the president dispatched a lawyer last week to retrieve it.
Guthrie argued that the document Obama produced on Wednesday is not a birth certificate but merely a “certificate of live birth,” which she considers something different.
Said Farah of WorldNetDaily: “I think we should do due diligence there and examine it before we jump to conclusions that, because a government official handed something out, it is legit.”
He said that even if the document is real, it raises questions about Obama’s eligibility to be president. Farah contended that, because Obama’s father was from Africa, the president may have had “dual citizenship” and therefore may not meet the definition of a “natural-born” citizen, the eligibility requirement in the Constitution. He suggested that it is necessary to revisit the intentions of the Framers.
He added: “This has never been an issue exclusively about where Barack Obama was born.”
But it was certainly the major issue. Obama critic Jerome Corsi has written a book, slated for a May 17 release, titled “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President.” Corsi, who also writes for WorldNetDaily, will not be giving interviews until the book is on shelves, according to a spokesman for the Web site.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Wednesday night that the birthers use “coded and covert rhetoric to stir up racial fears,” as part of a broader attempt to delegitimize Obama and push back against civil rights and equal rights.
“It’s a code word: ‘He’s not one of us,’ ” Jackson said, giving his view of the birther mind-set. “ ‘He wasn’t born here. He’s not a Christian. He’s a Muslim, we don’t worship the same god.’ It’s a very coded designation to try undermine his legitimacy.”
Jackson added: “ ‘Birther’ is a kind label for a much deeper and toxic movement.”
The birther controversy has elements common to many other conspiracy theories in recent decades, such as the belief that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were an inside job facilitated by the U.S. government, and the theory that the government has been covering up the presence of extraterrestrial visitors.
These theories do not always find a purchase on one distinct portion of the ideological spectrum. What they have in common is the emotional investment of the believers: The theory becomes not merely a hunch or a notion but rather a core belief that is part of the believer’s identity. The person isn’t going to abandon the faith simply because a piece of paper surfaces that would seem — to others who are not so invested in the theory — to refute the central notion.
“It’s easier psychologically to come up with a rationalization than it is to admit that you were wrong,” said Ronald Lindsay, president of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y., publisher of the myth-debunking magazine the Skeptical Inquirer.
“If you have a pre-commitment to a certain point of view, and that point of view is important for your identity — if you are emotionally attached to it — your emotion is going to shape your reasoning process. You’ll be presented with facts, but you’ll find some way to minimize the significance of those fact,” Lindsay said.
People not so invested in the birther point of view may be swayed by the White House’s production of the birth certificate. Recent polling suggests that, before Wednesday, large chunks of the electorate were unconvinced that Obama was born in the United States.
A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week showed broad, continued uncertainty about where Obama was born. Fully 45 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of independents in the poll said he was born in another country, with the percentage of Republicans saying that 13 percentage points higher than it was a year ago.