Pittsburgh Post-Gazette uncritically quoted audience member at Palin rally repeating discredited birth certificate smear of Obama

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Reporting on a rally Gov. Sarah Palin held in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted an audience member saying of Sen. Barack Obama: "Tell him to go back to Indonesia. Tell him to show his birth certificate." The Post-Gazette did not note that the charge that Obama has not released a valid U.S. birth certificate has been widely debunked.

In an October 24 article about a rally Gov. Sarah Palin held in Beaver, Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted an audience member saying of Sen. Barack Obama: "Tell him to go back to Indonesia. Tell him to show his birth certificate." The Post-Gazette did not note that the charge that Obama has not released a valid U.S. birth certificate has been widely debunked. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, the Obama campaign has posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on its "Fight the Smears" website and reportedly provided the original to FactCheck.org, whose staff concluded in an August 21 post that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." A Hawaii Health Department official also reportedly confirmed to PolitiFact.com that Obama's birth certificate is valid.

As Media Matters noted, on the October 3 broadcast of Clear Channel's The War Room, Pittsburgh-based syndicated radio hosts Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent hosted Pennsylvania attorney Philip J. Berg to discuss his lawsuit, which baselessly alleges that Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. During the interview, Quinn, Tennent, and Berg each repeated the discredited charge that Obama has not released an authentic birth certificate establishing that he was born in the United States, and therefore could be ineligible to run for president. In recent days, conservative radio hosts Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, and WorldNetDaily.com staff writer Jerome Corsi have each suggested or asserted that the true purpose of Obama's current trip to Hawaii is not to visit his ailing grandmother, as Obama claims, but rather to address these same discredited rumors that Obama has failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate.

According to a Nexis* and post-gazette.com search, the Post-Gazette previously wrote one article mentioning Obama's birth certificate. A July 20 article -- which compiled local blog postings -- quoted a Pittsburgh blog noting that, contrary to a Pittsburgh radio host's claim, the Obama campaign has posted his birth certificate on his website. From the article:

As if Barack Obama didn't have enough PR trouble thanks to the New Yorker, Two Political Junkies reported calling into Mike Pintek's "Night Talk" show the other day to address yet another "Obama smear."

"The smear?

"Obama won't release his birth certificate. Only the birth certificate would prove that he was born in the United States. The (not-so) hidden implication is that Sen. Obama isn't born in the United States and so therefore ineligible to be president.

"When I called into the show to let them know that Pintek was mistaken, I was told that he was aware of the controversy surrounding the certificate and that parts were 'whited out.'

"Guess what? The campaign has posted the birth certificate" at fightthesmears.com.

From the October 24 Post-Gazette article:

She cited Mr. Obama's encounter earlier this month with Joe Wurzelbacher, a Toledo, Ohio, plumber who pressed him to explain his tax policies. At the time, Mr. Obama cited his proposal to raise taxes on incomes over $250,000 as an attempt to "spread the wealth."

"Somehow Joe accomplished something none of the rest of us has been able to do. He got our opponent to finally state his intentions in plain language," Ms. Palin said. "Joe the Plumber said it sounded like socialism. Now is not the time to experiment with socialism."

Even before Ms. Palin invoked that term, some in the crowd were shouting it, with one adding, "Tell him to go back to Indonesia. Tell him to show his birth certificate."

Ms. Palin pointed out a man in the audience who carried a sign labeling himself, "Bill the Mechanic."

* SEARCH TERMS: publication (Post-Gazette) AND obama AND birth certificate

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.