CNN presented a masterful piece of birther TV journalism last night. They sent their own team of investigators to Hawaii to reportΒ from birther ground zero. I haven’t seen the video yet, but I have read the transcript1.
It seemed to me that from the first, the Hawaii Department of Health was unprepared for the onslaught of nit-savvy conspiracy theorists that parsed the Department’s every word, including reading volumes between the lines. They seemed to unsure of what their position was precisely. One of the questions that has sparked endless argument on this blog and elsewhere is whether Hawaii still issues certified copies of long form Certificates of Live Birth (a form used in the past to initiate a birth certificate in Hawaii). From the CNN story we learn three things:
- The Certification of Live Birth, as released by Barack Obama in 2008, is the only legal form of birth certificate issued by the State of Hawaii. CNN found a man named Stig who was born August 5, 1961, the day after Barack Obama, and gave him $7 to get his own birth certificate from the Department of Health. What he received is the same type of form as Obama released.
- CNN showed, with an example of a long-form birth certificate that there is no space on the form to record “Religion” dispelling the rumors that Obama’s certificate said “Muslim.”
- Those with a right to it, may request a copy of their long form Certificate of Live Birth from Hawaii through a freedom of information request. However, what they receive is not a certified copy and not a recognized legal document.
CNN had an on-camera interview with former Director of the Hawaii Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fukino. She reiterated what she has said several times before: she personally has seen Obama’s birth certificate, and he was born in Hawaii.
Donald Trump, also interviewed (perhaps cross-examined is a more accurate term), was extremely evasive about his claims of investigators in Hawaii. Just watching the initial video where Trump first suggested that he had “people” looking into Obama’s origins, it was clear to me that he started making up the story to cover for a slip he made. Since then, he’s dug himself in deeper and deeper. Only CNN, who really did sent investigators to Hawaii, interviewing all the major players, found no one who was contacted by Trump’s “people.” When pressed repeatedly, Trump could not name one person his investigators talked to, nor was unable or unwilling to state a single thing they found out, even though he previously said that his investigators “couldn’t believe what they are finding.”
I ran across people in the business world who would tell a convenient lie to advance their business, and then try to cover it up. It usually worked. The ability to lie off the cuff and bluster one’s way through a bad spot may have served Trump well in his career, but it’s turning into a disaster when the press adds its scrutiny.
Following Trump’s interview segment, is was pointed out that Trump’s claim that Obama spent $2 million hiding his records is not based on fact, but rather by assigning all the post-election Obama campaign’s legal expenses to the three birther lawsuits that were dismissed. CNN commented that the McCain campaign had $1.3 million in post-election legal expenses.
There’s more of CNN’s Hawaii investigation, including the rest of the uncut Donald Trump interview, tonight
1The transcript here has been shortened from last night’s version, including removal of the Trump interview. I’ll have to replace this when the official show transcript is published.