WASHINGTON – One of the three major media conglomerates that banned display of WND’s “Where’s the birth certificate?” billboards more than a year ago has changed its tune.
CBS recently began wooing WND’s business, with one of its agents explaining that opposition to the campaign has crumbled in light of the deep recession within the outdoor advertising industry.
However the agent also discouraged the idea of any news coverage of CBS Outdoor’s second thoughts.
Birth certification question hits Buda, Texas, on billboard owned by CBS competitor
In response, Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, said he has no interest in taking up CBS on its offer – and neither will he consider any offers from the other two members of what he calls “the billboard cartel” that banned the campaign when he launched it in May 2009.
“CBS, Lamar and Clear Channel all took a position in opposition to this campaign claiming it was somehow deceptive,” reminded Farah. “Since then, and in large part due to this campaign, the eligibility issue has captured the imaginations of a majority of the American people. Therefore, CBS, Lamar and Clear Channel are going to have to live with the consequences of their decision to ban legitimate, constitutionally protected political speech. Until those companies issue a public apology for their inappropriate decision, WND will not entertain any idea of bringing its business to them. We have found we don’t need those companies to get the message out. We would prefer to work with media companies that respect the First Amendment and those that are not intimidated by politically motivated speech regulators in Washington.”
It was just weeks after the billboard campaign was launched that arrangements had been made for the question to be posted on a CBS billboard. The bad news came from a local account executive who reported to WND that the orders to censor the message came from on high.
“We just received an e-mail from CBS Corporate,” he wrote at the time. “They are aware of this campaign and we are not allowed to install it. This came straight from corporate. Sorry!”
Later, similar judgments came from Clear Channel and Lamar Outdoor.
But their refusal to participate hasn’t slowed the message down at all. In fact, Farah reports that the only limitation on the billboards for the question is the number of dollars donated for the project.
The newest billboard appeared just days ago in Buda, Texas, a Hays County city with a population of 7,500 – part of the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metropolitan area. The billboard is on I-35 at Loop 4, right next to the H-E-B Market.
It appeared shortly after the issue was pushed to a new level of attention, with Jay Leno joking things are so bad for Barack Obama these days that even Democrats are asking for his birth certificate and Mike Huckabee suggesting if you want to protect vital national security secrets from WikiLeaks, just put them in the same vault as Obama’s birth certificate.
And Conan O’Brien had this to say: “First, they said Obama’s a socialist. Then they say he’s Muslim. Now they’re saying he wasn’t even born in this country. It’s got me thinking. OK, the guy might not be qualified to be president. But I guess he is qualified to drive a cab in New York.”
The “Where’s the birth certificate?” billboard campaign has been credited with a large part of the change – from barely half the nation even knowing there was a question over his eligibility about the time the campaign started to nearly 6 in 10 now doubting whether Obama, in fact, occupies the Oval Office legitimately, which appeared in a recent poll.
“People often ask me, ‘Why don’t you say more on these billboards?’” Farah says. “For instance, they want to know why I don’t ask, ‘Where’s Obama’s birth certificate?’ The answer is really simple and profound: There is only one man in America who has a birth certificate controversy – and that’s the man sitting in the White House. By the way, that’s the one man in all of America who must actually demonstrate that he is a natural born citizen. It’s ironic – and tragic for the American system of governance.”
More than 50 billboards have been placed by the WND campaign since 2009, thanks to the WND support and donations from the public for the campaign that to date has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The average billboard we place costs about $4,000 a month,” Farah points out. “Yes, we have had some donated. We’ve had some wonderful outdoor advertising companies that have discounted their boards because they like our campaign. But, at the end of the day, we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this campaign – and we need help from the public. We believe it’s the most important way any citizen can make his voice heard on this issue.”
It was a spokesman from Lamar, Hal Kilshaw, who at the time told WND his company was “just not going to accept that copy.”
“We think it’s a settled matter,” he told WND at the time. “We think it’s misleading to indicate there’s any question about the president’s birth certificate. We looked at it and we made the call.”
In addition to the billboard campaign, Farah has:
- produced a
video-documentary primer on the issue called “A Question of Eligibility”;
- produced a 40-page
special report on the subject;
- manufactured yard and
rally signs to bring attention to the topic;
- pledged to donate at
least $15,000 to any hospital in Hawaii or anywhere else that provides proof Obama was
born there and given you an opportunity to raise the amount;
- created a line of
T-shirts you can wear to appearances by the president to raise visibility of the issue;
- created a fund to which
you can donate to further the kind of investigative reporting into this matter only this
company has performed over the last two years;
- launched a line of
postcards you can use to keep the issue alive;
- distributed thousands of
bumper stickers asking, “Where’s the birth certificate?”;
most notably, gathered more than 500,000 names on a petition demanding any and all
controlling legal authorities in this matter take appropriate action to see the
requirements of the Constitution of the United States are followed;
- gathered another
25,000 names on a second petition attempting to rally state officials to make presidential
candidates prove their eligibility before getting on ballots.
“There are all kinds of things we need to do right now to get our country back on
track, but I can think of nothing more important than for us to see that our Constitution
is observed, followed, adhered to and honored, especially when it comes to such simple,
straightforward matters as the eligibility of the president of the United States,”
says Farah. “Please
help me bring this matter to a head right now.”
You can see some of the signs around the country here and a few others have been embedded:
Billboard along I-35 near the Highway 59 exit near Ottawa, Kan.
Billboard near Cabela’s in Hamburg, Pennsylvania
Billboard on Highway 93 near Kingman, Ariz.
Billboard on Long Beach Freeway near Firestone Blvd.
San Antonio billboard
|Billboard in Nashville, Tenn.|
|Billboard near Panama City, Fla.|
Billboard near Navarre, Fla.
Billboard near Talledega, Ala.
Billboard near Bethel, Pa.
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Some of the lawsuits, including those reaching the Supreme Court, question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born. Others argue one cannot be a “natural born” citizen without two citizen parents.