Jon Meacham

251 W 57th St.,
New York, NY 10019

Dear Mr. Meacham:

I am taking the unusual step of making a retraction demand public at the same time I am sending it to you through the mail.

On Friday, Feb. 12, your magazine published an article titled “Guide to Conspiracy Theories” by a Newsweek editorial intern by the name of David Graham. The first item on this list of “today’s trendiest, hippest, and least likely fringe beliefs” was the following item:

Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

It’s not clear where he must have been born instead: some say Indonesia; some say Kenya (initial suggestions that Hawaiian natives weren’t citizens when he was born in Honolulu in 1961 were quickly dismissed). The point, so-called birthers say, is that he wasn’t born in the good old US of A, hence isn’t a natural-born citizen and therefore cannot legally be president.

Proponents: Chief birther and Beverly Hills dentist and attorney Orly Taitz, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), former presidential and Senate candidate Alan Keyes, assorted tea partiers.

Kernel of Truth? It’s fully debunked. Forged Kenyan birth certificates have been exposed, and – despite protestations to the contrary – Obama’s birth certificate has been certified by the state of Hawaii, and images have been shown on national television. And that’s leaving aside plenty of circumstantial proof, like birth announcements in both major Hawaiian papers from August 1961.

You will note that I am one of those identified by Newsweek as a proponent of this “conspiracy theory.”

That statement is categorically untrue.

While I have written tens of thousands of words about the subject of Barack Obama’s eligibility and talked for dozens of hours on the public airwaves and given hundreds of interviews on this subject, never have I stated that Obama was not born in the United States.

Therefore, I demand an immediate apology and retraction.

The public record is clear on what I have said and written on this matter.

I have been outspoken in calling for Obama to release his original birth certificate. Without that document, Americans can never be sure about his constitutional eligibility. Public opinion surveys show close to 50 percent of Americans either have deep suspicions about his ineligibility or, like me, want to see him release documents that can put those concerns to rest.

Calling for public officials to release personal documents, especially when they are critical to establishing constitutional eligibility to serve, is not akin to fostering conspiracy theories. It is called good citizenship.

The same Constitution that prohibits the federal government from encroaching on free press rights requires presidents to establish their eligibility for office. They are hardly onerous requirements – being at least 35 years of age, a natural born citizen and a resident of the United States for at least the last 14 years.

It’s dangerous business assigning an inexperienced editorial intern to hurl accusations that reflect negatively on people’s careers and professionalism. With some 35 years of professional journalism experience behind me, I’m stunned that a magazine of Newsweek’s repute would allow an intern to make a blatantly defamatory statement about a seasoned journalist without making a call and without any fact-checking. Perhaps this is why Newsweek is suffering precipitous circulation declines.

I note that this article has been widely disseminated on the Internet. While the damage to my reputation can scarcely be mitigated by an apology and a retraction, I recognize that demanding that action is a requirement of most jurisdictions that might adjudicate a case of this kind.

However, I reserve all legal rights to pursue adjudication of this matter should you fail to comply with this demand.

Copies of this demand letter are being mailed to you and to my legal counsel.


Joseph Farah

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