WASHINGTON – The issue of Barack Obama's eligibility to be president took center stage at the National Press Club today, with even portions of the "establishment media" taking note of the heating dispute.
Holding a news conference regarding a new lawsuit against Esquire magazine over its faked "report" that falsely claimed a New York Times best-selling book, "Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President," had been pulled from shelves and recalled were its publisher, WND CEO and founder Joseph Farah, and book author Jerome Corsi, Ph.D.
The first part of the news conference:
Thrown in as an added bonus was an expert on computer software and author of dozens of books on the subject who asserted to reporters at the briefing that the image that the White House released in April as a copy of Obama's original birth documentation is a fake.
Mara Zebest, who has completed an analysis of the image Obama released three years after telling reporters that it wasn't available, said, "This is not only a fake document, it is an obvious fake document."
Her statement was pertinent to the news conference about the lawsuit, because Obama's release of his purported birth certificate has left literally
tens of millions of Americans unconvinced that he's telling the truth. A recent poll showed that half of Americans want Congress to investigate Obama's eligibility to be president, including more than one in four Democrats.
Corsi explained that he had been warned more than two months before Obama's document was unveiled that a forgery was in the works. Corsi said a document had been added to the state Health Department's log book purporting to be Obama's birth record in a position where none had existed earlier.
He said Obama's role in releasing the document means that his future now depends on the authenticity of the document, which has been described as a forgery by numerous computer document experts already.
In addition, state officials in Hawaii, when Obama released the copy, refused to confirm for WND that the image that was released was an accurate representation of their original records.
"Now the president is in the chain of evidence," Corsi said. "It's no longer possible [for him] to say one of my subordinates produced [it]."
Among those who reported on the issue was Adweek, which noted that Corsi's "Where's The Birth Certificate" book was at No. 6 on the New York Times best-sellers list for hardcover nonfiction "despite its having been released not long after Obama released his birth certificate."
Most of the media coverage regarded the Esquire story as satire, but attorney Larry Klayman, who is handling the action, said the story "was obviously calculated with malice to destroy not just the book and its sales, but the reputations of Mr. Corsi and Mr. Farah."
"There were only three reporters present to hear Zebest's explanation – and that, in itself, is key to understanding why WND has decided to file suit over the Esquire article," Adweek reported. "Before Obama released his birth certificate, back when [Donald] Trump was working the media into a frenzy over the birther issue, Wednesday's press conference would have been a real draw for a (sic) reporters. But now the issue is all but dead."
Mediabistro reported that the Esquire article author, Mark Warren, "pokes fun at the book, which had its premise plainly disproven before it was even released."
The report was typical of the coverage. Yet while Obama has claimed his document is valid, many others say it's a fraud, and the original has yet to be seen.
At Forbes, Jeff Bercovici wrote that "as often happens with satire on the internet, the article was received my (sic) many readers (or non-reading reTweeters) as straight news."
He said Esquire was forced "to add an update 'for those who didn't figure it out yet.'"
He noted Esquire said it had not yet seen the complaint but the "blog post spoke for itself."
"It was satire, an age-old and completely legitimate form of expression," he quoted Esquire saying.
At TPMMuckraker, it was reported, "The lawsuit claims that unnamed stores started to take copies of the WND-published book 'Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is no Eligible to be President' off the shelves after Esquire published a satirical story that said Farah was recalling the book."
TPM continued, "Both plaintiffs are also upset over a comment Warren gave to the Daily Caller, calling Farah and Corsi 'execrable piece of sh--.'"
At the Atlantic, Elspeth Reeve said, "The article – noting that President Obama had released his long-form birth certificate and thus resolved the question of where he was born – was a joke, but some readers took it at face value."
Faked report by Esquire
Defendants named in the case include Esquire Magazine Inc., parent company the Hearst Corp., and Warren, the author of the false article.
"You can't just make up words and put them in people's mouths, deliberately misleading the public, deliberately defaming others and deliberately lying to inhibit commerce," Farah said. "Media institutions such as Esquire magazine and its parent, the Hearst Corporation, for which I was employed for nearly a decade, should know better. And they will as a result of this lawsuit."
"We are reacting to one of the most egregious abuses of freedom of the press that I have ever witnessed in my 30-plus year career in journalism," he said. "We are taking this action not because we desire to restrict First Amendment-guaranteed protections, but because we want to police them and guard them."
"Just as Plaintiff's book was released, Defendants, each and every one of them, caused to be published and did publish at a minimum on the Internet, nationally and internationally, and specifically in the District of Columbia, an article entitled 'Breaking: Jerome Corsi's Birther Book Pulled from Shelves?,' about Plaintiffs' book," the lawsuit explains.
"This article published on or about 10 a.m. on May 18, 2011, set forth false and misleading facts about the Plaintiffs' book and stated in pertinent part: 'In a stunning development one day after the release of 'Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Hussein Obama is Not Eligible to be President,' by Dr. Jerome Corsi, World Net Daily Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah has announced plans to recall and pulp the entire 200,000 first printing run of the book, as well as announcing an offer to refund the purchase price to anyone who has already bought either a hard copy or electronic download of the book. In an exclusive interview, a reflective Farah, who wrote the book's foreword and also published Corsi's earlier best selling work, 'Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak out Against John Kerry' and 'Capricorn One: NASA, JFK, and the Great 'Moon Landing' Cover-Up,' said that after much serious reflection, he could not go forward with the project. 'I believe with all my heart that Barack Obama is destroying this country, and I will continue to stand against his administration at every turn, but in light of recent events, this book has become problematic, and contains what I now believe to be factual inaccuracies,' he said this morning. 'I cannot in good conscience publish it and expect anyone to believe it.' When asked if he had any plans to publish a corrected version of the book, he said cryptically, 'There is no book.' Farah declined to comment on his discussions of the matter with Corsi. A source at WND, who requested that his name be withheld, said that Farah was 'rip sh--' when on April 27, President Obama took the extraordinary step of personally releasing his 'long-form' birth certificate, thus resolving the matter of Obama’s legitimacy for 'anybody with a brain.' 'He called upon Corsi and really tore him a new one,' says the source. 'I mean, we'll do anything to hurt Obama, and erase his memory, but we don't want to look like f---ing idiots, you know? Look, at the end of the day, bullsh-- is bullsh--.' Corsi, who graduated from Harvard and is a professional journalist, could not be reached for comment."
The complaint explains when the "report" appeared, news organizations, readers, purchasers and distributors began contacting Farah, and consumers requested refunds.
"Only when Plaintiff Farah on behalf of himself and the other Plaintiffs issued a statement saying that he was exploring legal options against Esquire and Warren did they purport to issue a disclaimer," the claim says.
"However, this so-called disclaimer was as false, misleading and legally actionable as the initial story that was published by the Defendants. Adding 'insult to injury,' it represented later that day on the Internet, nationally and internationally, including the District of Columbia, the following false, misleading and disparaging information: '… for those who didn't figure it out yet, and the many on Twitter for whom it took a while: We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication. Are its author and publisher chastened? Well no. They double down, and accuse the President of the United States of perpetrating a fraud on the world by having released a forged birth certificate. Not because this claim is in any way based on reality, but to hold their terribly gullible audience captive to their lies, and to sell books. This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule. That's why we committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book. Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all."
"Contrary to the false, misleading and otherwise actionable statements of Defendants, Plaintiffs never contemplated, much less offered, to pull the book from shelves, refund purchases to consumers and believed at all material times that the contents of the book are accurate and newsworthy. However, the representations of the Defendants, each and every one of them, resulted in books being pulled from the shelves by booksellers, harmed sales and damaged the goodwill and reputation of Plaintiffs among the buying and consuming public, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere. Defendants' stated malicious purpose in harming Plaintiff, through their actions, succeeded as planned."
The lawsuit contains allegations of defamation, false light, interference with business relations, invasion of privacy and others.
That the faked report had an impact seems apparent. A clerk at a Borders bookstore in California told customers that the hot-selling "Where's the Birth Certificate?" had been withdrawn from the market by the publisher, based on the fraudulent story published by Esquire.
The issue was noticed by a WND reader, who reported calling the Borders store in Northridge, Calif., seeking the book. He said in an e-mail:
I called the store and asked if they had the book, "Where's the Birth Certificate?" by Jerome Corsi and the guy laughed at me and said he wasn't sure but he would look for me. He went on to say isn't that outdated being Obama just released his birth certificate and shouldn't they at least rename it. So, I played with him a bit and said the book was far beyond just the birth certificate issue and told him maybe it should be renamed "Where's the Real Birth Certificate?" and he said, why is it fake? I said many people that have examined the online image have stated it was indeed a manipulated document. He said well they must be right, in a smart-a-- tone. Anyway, after that he put me on a hold for a few minutes and then came back on and said he searched and they do not carry the book and said he was just told the publisher pulled the book."
A subsequent telephone call to the store by WND confirmed the conversation, as a clerk said, "I think they pulled it."
"We had it, but I'm almost certain the publisher pulled it," he continued. "They didn't figure anyone would buy the book once the birth certificate was disclosed."
"There's no story here," said a spokeswoman for the Borders corporate headquarters, Mary Davis. "The bookseller saw the headline on the Esquire article below and mistakenly took it as truth. The book was coincidentally out of stock at the store and the bookseller mistakenly attributed that to this headline. Totally innocent on his part."