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Media find eligibility billboard campaign irresistible
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 05/26/2009 @ 10:17 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
WASHINGTON – When WND Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah launched his billboard campaign focusing attention on Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility for office, he predicted the effort would attract media curiosity – perhaps even more than the central issue of whether the president is truly a “natural born citizen.”
Less than a week after the billboard campaign began, media have already begun showing interest – even though, so far, only one billboard, an electronic one, is up and running as a result of the more than $50,000 raised so far.
Over the weekend, the London Times found it an interesting business story, reporting, “A right-wing website has collected more than $10,000 so far to help to fund a series of billboards to be erected around America questioning Barack Obama’s credentials for holding office. ‘Where’s The Birth Certificate?’ the posters will demand.”
“The buzz is starting,” promised Farah. “Directly investigating why Obama steadfastly refuses to show his birth certificate is considered bad form by most of my colleagues. But they don’t mind beating around the edges of this story – especially if involves poking fun at the one news service that is out of step with the rest.”
As the campaign grows, Farah says, so will “the buzz.”
Beginning yesterday, WND placed a permanent image of a billboard on the front page for visitors curious to find out what the campaign is all about. It directs readers to a description of the billboard campaign, the petition for accountability on the eligibility issue that now sports nearly 400,000 electronic “signatories,” a directory of dozens of WND stories on the issue and and a place to purchase “Where’s the birth certificate?” magnetized bumper stickers.
Several months ago, Farah launched a petition campaign on the question of eligibility. It has now collected nearly 400,000 names demanding proof from Obama. Just last week, he announced the billboard campaign, which has already raised more than $50,000 in donations from the public.
Both efforts are part of what Farah calls an independent “the truth and transparency campaign.”
The first sign to be posted under the 7-day-old campaign, a digital, electronic one, is up and online on Highway 165 in Ball, La. In addition, based on the heavy volume of financial donations in the first two days of the campaign, WND was able to commit to leasing two more standard billboards – one in Los Angeles and the other in Pennsylvania. It will take several weeks to get those billboards up because of the vinyl printing and shipping involved.
Birth certificate question being raised in Ball, La.
The “Certification of Live Birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information like the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
“I know now, because of the sensational response to this idea from WND viewers, that this national campaign is going to be big and long-lasting,” said Farah. “I want to thank all of those who have pitched in and contributed – with either cash donations or, in some cases, space donations. But the need for money continues.”
While the campaign is off to a great start, many viewers have asked why Obama’s name is not included in the billboard. Farah said the matter was carefully considered.
“There are several reasons we chose the message: ‘Where’s the birth certificate?’” he explained. “There is only one birth certificate controversy in this country today – despite the near-total absence of this issue from coverage in the non-WND media. This is a grass-roots issue that resonates around the country, as our own online petition with nearly 400,000 signers suggests. In addition, I like the simplicity of the message. I like the fact that the message will cause some people to ask themselves or others about the meaning of the message. It will stir curiosity. It will create a buzz. I’m assuming when these billboards are springing up all over the country, it might even make some in the news media curious. And there’s one more factor that persuaded me this was the way to go.
“Come 2012, campaign laws will pose restrictions on political advertising mentioning the names of presidential candidates. This one clearly doesn’t. I would like to see the federal government make the case that this is somehow a political ad,” he said.
Farah said the campaign was born of frustration with timid elected officials in Washington, corrupt judges around the country and a news media that show a stunning lack of curiosity about the most basic facts of Obama’s background – especially how it relates to constitutional eligibility for the highest office in the land.
“As Obama transforms this country from self-governing constitutional republic to one governed by a central ruling elite, the simple fact remains that no controlling legal authority has established that he is indeed a ‘natural born citizen’ as the Constitution requires,” Farah said. “Obama’s promises of transparency have become a bad joke as he continues to hide simple, innocuous documents like his birth certificate and his student records.”
The idea behind the billboard campaign is to make sure Obama cannot avoid this question any longer. He must be asked to produce it at every turn, Farah says. Billboard space is currently being hunted in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Sacramento, San Francisco, New York-New Jersey, DesMoines, Seattle and other metro areas.
Farah said another early target for the campaign would be billboards in Honolulu – allegedly Obama’s birthplace. However, that city has very few billboards.
“Is it unusual for a news agency to launch such a campaign?” asks Farah. “Yes it is. But we live in very unusual times. The founding fathers built special protections into the First Amendment for the free press. The reason they did that is because they understood a vibrant ‘Fourth Estate’ was necessary as an independent watchdog on government. It is in that tradition that WND assumes this role – since nobody else in the press will do it.”
WND previously launched a petition campaign that has collected more than 375,000 names demanding Obama’s eligibility be verified and demonstrated publicly. That campaign continues. That list has been shared with members of the Electoral College and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I wish such a campaign were not absolutely necessary,” said Farah. “I wish there were checks and balances in our political and electoral systems to ensure that constitutional eligibility of presidential candidates was established before politicians could assume the highest office in the land. I wish my colleagues in the news media believed the Constitution really means what it says and pressed this issue as hard as we have pressed it at WND. I wish radio talk-show hosts were bold enough to ask this question. But wishing is not enough. It’s time to raise the visibility of this issue vital to the rule of law in America. I ask everyone to pitch in and help WND make a simple yet profound statement: The Constitution still matters.”
Your donation – from as little as $5 to as much as $1,000 – can be made online at the WND SuperStore. (Donations are not tax-deductible. Donations of amounts greater than $1,000 can be arranged by calling either 541-474-1776 or 1-800-4WND.COM. If you would prefer to mail in your contributions, they should be directed to WND, P.O. Box 1627, Medford, Oregon, 97501. Be sure to specify the purpose of the donation by writing “billboard” on the check. In addition, donations of billboard space will be accepted, as will significant contributions specifically targeted for geographic locations.)
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Joseph Farah about this campaign, e-mail WND.
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