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Dobbs Joins ‘Birthers,’ But CNN Pushes Back

By Sonia Scherr on July 21, 2009 - 4:50 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

CNN’s Lou Dobbs rarely lets the facts get in the way of defaming immigrants, so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that he has also jumped on the “birther” bandwagon by suggesting that President Barack Obama has yet to prove he’s a U.S. citizen.

“The first thing is to determine whether or not his birth certificate is valid,” Dobbs said on the July 15 edition of his radio show. “And what I don’t understand is why that has not been released and given over to the public record.”

That wasn’t a throwaway comment, either. As Media Matters for America documented, Dobbs repeatedly questioned the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate last week on both his radio show and television program. In doing so, he aligned himself with a far-right fringe movement that claims Obama hasn’t shown he is eligible to serve as president. The so-called birthers have filed numerous (thus far unsuccessful) lawsuits questioning Obama’s citizenship.

Problem is, Dobbs’ own colleagues at CNN have refused to give credence to the suggestion that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii. called it a “debunked theory” in a June 11 report, and CNN contributor Dana Milbank mocked it during the Dec. 8 edition of CNN’s Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull, according to Media Matters. And, on Dec. 5, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called the questions about Obama’s eligibility “total bull.”

They’re not the only ones. On July 17, CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim thoroughly knocked down the birth certificate myth in an appropriate setting — while sitting in as guest host of Lou Dobbs Tonight. Questions about Obama’s place of birth “have been asked and answered many times,” Pilgrim said in her report. She continued: “CNN has fully investigated the issue, found no basis for the questions about the president’s birthplace, but the controversy lives on, especially on the Internet.” She went on to recite a litany of evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii, including an investigation by the nonpartisan Annenberg Political Fact Check, a statement by Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, (a Republican and a McCain supporter) and a letter from the director of the Hawaii Department of Health.

Maybe this time Dobbs needs to heed the words he once uttered during a 60 Minutes interview: “If we reported it, it’s a fact.”

  • Dan

    FYI: In the state of Mississippi, one can order their birth certificate from the Bureau of Vital Statistics; $10 for a Certificate of Live Birth – OR – $17 for the Certified copy – a copy of the original. I believe most states have the same option.

  • JV

    A black man becomes president and transparently, shamelessly racist yahoos question the authenticity of his birth certificate. Amazing. They have no rational argument and have resorted to myth-making and fear-mongering. Would they really prefer he fail just to prove a point? Would they cut off the finger to spite the hand?

    Health care costs are debilitating businesses and the economy in general (have been for a while). All of a sudden a “grass-roots movement” pops up and wants us to stand up for the mega-insurance companies and drug companies that are a major source of the problem?

    Without addressing the debilitating impact of medical costs for businesses and individuals, we can never really tackle our economic problems. No, we don’t have to become socialist to solve these problems, just rachet-down the greed a bit. A five dollar pill shouldn’t cost $50, so some smuck can have a million dollar bonus! Obama is absolutely right: Enough!

  • Loretta

    I can hardly stand to hear or read anything Lou Dobbs comments on. I know a great deal of people are blaming this stuff on the religious right, not necessarily true. I am a born again Christian and do not go along with hardly anything Lou Dobbs says. I do not understand why CNN keeps him on the air, I do not think Christ would.

  • Snorlax

    “…his certification of live birth from the state of Hawaii, which is a document that offers a summarized version of the birth certificate.”

    In other words, Obama was born in Hawaii. This document is sufficient proof. Case closed.

  • Snorlax

    “…CNN IS cable news and not bound by the same rules of accuracy as the REAL networks…”

    Actually, no. There is only one journalistic code of ethics for ALL news media. Even the internet.

    Either you’re an ethical journalist or you aren’t. There’s no seperate, looser code of ethics for CNN, MSNBC or FOX News.

    Lou Dobbs may have been a good journalist back in the day, but he isn’t anymore.

  • http://yahoo Bryant

    Law is law is law. If he was checked out when all of this started, fine. Leave it alone and quit trying to stir stuff up. I am sick of media period. I didn’t see or hear anybody whining but Palin over the way the media treated her.

    People and the media both need to realize, total freedom of speech and press can be a double edged sword. I would encourage people and media to think about what it is they’re doing to human beings before they start harping and whining and smearing whomever it is they’re targeting. Are you really doing the American people together as a whole any good?

    Have facts, cold hard facts before you start smearing. Not what you think, or what you’ve heard, or what you hope or wish, but cold hard facts. That way, the only stirring of the pot will be facts that are true and you’re not trying to divide a house against itself.

    When the media does some of the stuff that it does, all it does is create division, not unity!

    So Robert Cohen can whine about Lou Dobbs, but until media realizes as a whole what they do to individuals and people who lead our country, we will always have division.

  • Allen

    Hmmmmm. That’s a good idea. Why don’t we ask Lou Dobbs and his ilk, “By your own standards, can YOU prove you were born in the US?”

  • Allen


    You are so right. This is a non-issue. However, when Clinton, right-wing conspiracy nuts were looking anywhere they could to find a way to remove him from office; they still haven’t gotten it through their thick heads that it is almost impossible to legally remove a sitting President. We know, it was proven that Bush stole both the 2000 and 2004 elections and we still couldn’t get rid of the SOB. How much more difficult is it going to be to unseat a legally elected and popular President? Yet, people buy into this BS because they want to prove he is from Mars, etc, etc, and they waste time and money that would be better spent solving REAL problems.

    When you encounter these people, ask them, “By your standards, can you prove that YOU were born in the US?”

  • mountaingirl08

    Rudy, that is just plain dumb. Why are so many rt. wingnuts obsessed about Obama’s birthplace? What is their problem? Do they have too much time on their hands or what? Why would wingnuts have some sort of secret knowledge that Obama is from Mars or somewhere? Thie issue, in fact, is a NONISSUE. There’s no multimillion $ conspiracy to keep his birthplace under wraps. When a man is elected Pres. he is thoroughty investigated and not by some little old lady w. a pen and a phone bk. or whatever. It’s a number of people who ck. him (or her) out. The info. would be found out. All this brouhaha over nothing. Get real.

  • Mae238

    Hawaii has gone paperless – destroying all original birth, death, marriage certificates that are on file.

    CNN researchers to dug into the question of why Obama couldn’t produce the original birth certificate: The Hawaii Health Dept. confirmed that paper documents were discarded in 2001 when the department went paperless. This would include President Obama’s original birth certificate, along with everyone else born in Hawaii.

    The truth about the president’s birth has been verified by, among many other serious news organizations, and his official birth documents have been made public. CNN itself has repeatedly reported on the falsity of the claims of the “birthers,” and the network’s esteemed legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, recently called those claims “a joke.”

    I was born in California. I needed a copy of my birth certificate to obtain a passport. All they sent me was a “certificate of live birth.” Do some of you think I am not a citizen because I cannot produce a “birth certificate”? My family settled in this country in 1742 and several of my ggggg grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War! But I cannot produce a “birth certificate”!

    I think the birthers’ real complaint is that a black man with an African name won the presidency –so they are trying to find a way to tear him down. I know this to be the case because there are several birthers in my own family. There is no talking sense to them.

    Since, unlike Clinton, Obama is a faithful husband, and since they tried but could not make the “he is friends with terrorists” stick, they are trying to say that he isn’t really an American citizen. And the stupid masses who hate having a black president follow the groupthink of the wingnut herd, including some very bigoted members of my own extended family.

  • Allen

    I’ve heard a lot of persons in this topic try to explain Barack Obama’s win of the Presidency; because he was black, because he was lucky and charismatic. Not once have I heard anyone say that he won because the American people are smart enough to select the right man for the job. And that’s the reason why our founders gave us a democratic republic, because they had enough faith in the intelligence of the American public that we could elect our own government and separate the wheat from the chaffe. And that’s why I feel patriotic about being American, because I still believe, despite the sad state of our public school system, that we have the smartest people in the world. Sure, there are a few idiots out there who make themselves look like a majority by yelling loudly, but they are really a puny minority.

    REAL Americans are SMART!

    I think that Americans elected Barack Obama because they saw him as the right man for the job, and because they are smart enough to see through the smoke-screen put in place by the right-wing spin machine. As for the “birthers”, that is just more of that same spin machine spinning its wheels, but in vain.

  • Schoff

    My Senator wrote to me about Obama’s citizenship, and the response was absolutely ambigous.

  • T WIlson

    Is there any way to save our country from itself? I have not seen as much misinformation and hate since the ’50’s and ’60’s! It is becomming clear to me that the closet racists have found a way to practice racism in the open. Guess racism had to fester after it went underground for so many years. My only hope is that this blatant stupidity will blow over and a better America will result. The only way tho, will be for the hate to become tiresome and burdensome and obviously pointless other than the spread of baseless anger and immoral hate. Truth does rise to the top; it always does…in this case tho, it is too slow for me!

  • Reynolds C. Joens

    Do people REALLY not listen to what state officials in Hawaii say???? THERE ARE NO PAPER COPIES OF THE CERTIFICATE ANYMORE. HAWAII DESTROYED ALL SUCH COPIES OF EVERYONE’S CERTIFICATE SEVERAL YEARS AGO. The governor of Hawaii — a Republican — has announced this — and yet, no one listens. That ANYONE thinks this is a controversy is insane — do you fear that much people?

    I by the way support free speech — but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with extremism — or the type of insanity that allows people to think that the state of Hawaii is in some sort of conspiracy to protect one man. Where did the one million dollar figure come from? Hmmm — show me proof of that (not a Right wing website – actual proof).

    Get over yourselves people. ANYONE can win the presidency with a little luck and some charisma, that’s the idea of the country — sorry you don’t like him, live with it.


    Reynolds Jones

  • John Criswell

    In reply to Allen who wrote,”Not that it makes any difference to our debate, but I’ve heard that same quote before as coming from Abraham Lincoln.”

    I looked it up before posting, The quote I used was from Mark Twain not Abraham Lincoln.

    My point being, know your facts before looking the fool. If in doubt look it up before joining the fool’s chorus of the ill informed

  • David Von Bock

    I agree-Bush did steal the 2000, and maybe even the 2004, elections. I never said otherwise.

    Someone used my usurper phrase and then linked it to the GOP and crack. I used the usurper phrase earlier, bu I am not a Republican, so I am unsure what the reply was suppose to be about-I think when Allen mentioned my phrase, he assumed I was somehow linked to the GOP, which I have never been associated with in any shape or form whatsoever…

    As far ‘tokenism’ is concerned, I am unsure if Colin Powell, or even Alan Keyes, would consider themselves token Republicans.

    But it is true- if a conservative black were suddenly put into the White House, the vast majority of Republicans would be happy.

    Let us not forget: Liberals have there own racial priorities. Many whites and blacks supported Obama for racial reasons. Obama got many of his votes BECAUSE he was black. Ordinarily, a Republican presidential candidate gets about 10-12% of the vote…McCain only got about 5% of the black vote…which means that about 5% of black voters made there choice based along a racial motive.

    Several million whites-esp. the under 30 set- supported Obama, at least in part, BECAUSE he was black. They loved the idea of partly being able to rectify the bad historical legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. If Obama had been white, several million of his supporters would not have been as sympathetic or enthusiastic to his campaign-many of them would have stayed home on election night… But because of who Obama was, they were able to disregard the fact that he voted to renew the Patriot Act, and that he voted to expand warrant less wiretapping of innocent Americans…and they now overlook that every highly placed member of his administration is either a corporate lobbyist, or a huge beneficiary of lobbyist money…He has vastly expanded the war in Afghanistan, and continues to unnecessarily threaten Russia with the eastern Europe missile shield. Obama ran the most secretive campaign in US history (no baptismal record, and no college records were released at all)
    He is almost wholly owned by the New York Federal Reserve, as evidenced by his willingness to give them over a trillion dollars, money that didn’t really exist before…most of which was wired into Hedge Fund accounts and disappeared forever. His seeks the authority to pull the plug on the entire internet (Rockefeller’s Cybersecurty Act)…and he will almost certainly get around to raising taxes on average people. His appointment of various policy Czars is 100% unconstitutional.

    During the recent Gaza war, Obama said nothing, while Israel used an entire region for target practice, wounding over one million Gazan inhabitants…(some Gaza youth were firing glorified bottle rockets across the border…for this, Israel brutally attacked , and Obama kept his mouth shut while phosphorus gas was used on children)

    Given these realties concerning Obama, is it any wonder that some of his opponents seize upon byzantine evidence that he unqualified for the office, and insist that he step down right now?

  • Allen

    to John Criswell,

    Not that it makes any difference to our debate, but I’ve heard that same quote before as coming from Abraham Lincoln.

  • Allen

    Sorry, Von Bock, but we are not impressed with the GOP’s cynical tokenism. And “usurper”? What kind of crack is the GOP on?

    Honestly, I don’t have the time in my day to counter-point all the right-winger’s statements. I have bigger fish to fry. The American people are starting to figure things out about this puny and irrelevent minority that make themselves look big by screaming and cussing loudly to get people’s attention. Oh, and by blowing things up, like they tend to do.

  • Aurelia

    to Van Bonk.

    You say President Obama is a defacto president – you must be kidding! George W. Bush was the defacto president because he stole the election – everyone knows Gore won, but Bush’s buddies in the Supreme Court – Rehnquist, Scalia and that obsequious fool, Thomas, put him in office. Talk about judicial activism – Judge Sotomayor will not come anywhere close to what these idiots did to usurp Democracy.

  • John Criswell

    Jimmy TZ
    Thanks for making my and Mark Twain’s point. The fact you are harping on a non issue dispite physical evidence to the contrary is very telling on you. You have removed all doubt!
    “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Mark Twain
    “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” also Mark Twain.

  • Jane Schiff


    My reason for posting the Newsmax item was tongue in cheek. Are you saying that there is no point in keeping tabs on a far reaching Republican media source? Sorry to say, but I think Republican party – oriented individuals’ opinions are pretty much aligned with Newsmax.

  • David Von Bock

    Uh, not that I care, but Lou Dobbs wife is Mexican.

    …And almost all of the opponents of Obama on the “right” would be glad to trade him for a qualified black conservative or moderate, such as Colin Powell…. the vast majority of Obama opponents are not opposed to him because of race, so you people on the so called “left “need to stop using that argument as a club. Obama may be the de facto president, but he is still a usurper.

    PS- I voted for Nader

  • Steve

    Your a racist, no, your a racist,nosah your a racist,racist, your a racist! YOU Racist.! I like Fish, I dont like parakeets!! oops Im a racist.!! Yeah the Govt ICE agents did a great job with Obama’s Aunt whose been living up in Boston for 6 yrs, after the fact that she was told to leave by a Federal Immigrations Judge?. No one in Hawaii actually remembers him growing up?,
    it would make me skeptic, splc your awesome,lol

  • Walt

    This is all BS – a cerificate of live birth is equal to a birth certificate – that is exactly what I have used to join the military, get a top secret clearance, get a passport and etc. I guess the Hawaiian newspaper announcement from when he was born there was a plant by his Mom who knew he was going to be President 47 years later. All you “birthers” are racists and fascists. Get over it, a “black” man was elected President by the widest margin of victory since Reagan.

  • Allen

    I don’t understand why this is still an issue with some folks. He’s the President. Case closed. Do they think they can get him out of office now that he’s already there? Of course, they can no more do that than we were able to get Bush out of office when it was proven he had lost the election of 2000, because he was already behind the desk! Even if it were true that he’s not a US citizen (which I KNOW he is), it’s a moot point, a dead issue, nothing more can come of it, let’s go flog the next horse to death!