If Atlanta’s Fox Five News reporter Chris Shaw thought that painting crackpot birther Orly Taitz as a legitimate lawsuit plaintiff would get him noticed at GOP News HQ, aka Fox News, he did a fine job on Friday (1/27/12). Shaw’s biased, unbalanced reporting about a hearing in one of Taitz' numerous lawsuits earned him a place on FoxNews.com’s “Featured Videos.” Check out all the subtle but unmistakable cues that Shaw used to impart credibility to the widely discredited Taitz and cast doubt on President Obama’s legitimacy. Sadly, some of the same tactics were later used by Bret Baier on Special Report.
Shaw began by suggesting that President Obama and/or his attorneys had shirked their duty by not showing up at a hearing:
Every seat in this Fulton County courtroom was taken this morning except the one where President Obama’s lawyers were supposed to be sitting. They called this hearing baseless and didn’t see the need to show up.
Saying that the lawyers “were supposed to be sitting” in the hearing but they “didn’t see the need to show up” implied there was a need they just didn’t see.
The report then showed a clip of a man arguing, “He (presumably Obama) is not Constitutionally qualified to hold office. It is not a statement about his ability. It’s a statement about his Constitutional qualifications.”
The arguments, for three different lawsuits, were made before Fulton County administrative judge Michael Malihi and the main point behind each one is the claim that President Obama’s father was never a U.S. citizen. These attorneys then argued, based on court precedent, that a person can only be a natural-born citizen if both parents were citizens.
Shaw failed to mention that the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Instead, he presented the issue as a he said/she said:
In a letter to Georgia Secretary of State, an Obama lawyers wrote, “The State of Hawaii produced official records documenting birth there; the President made documents available to the general public by placing them on his website.”
Then Shaw immediately cast doubt on that:
But witnesses testified that birth certificate and even the President’s Social Security number are fakes.
Somehow Shaw didn’t think it worthwhile to point out that impartial, fact-checking experts have carefully examined the birth certificate and ruled it valid. Nor that the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a previous case challenging Obama’s birth certificate.
Nor did Shaw bother to mention the mountain of evidence discrediting Taitz, including the fact that she was previously fined $20,000 by a federal court (which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block) for filing frivolous lawsuits challenging Obama’s citizenship.
Instead, Taitz was shown saying,
Anybody who has half a brain in his head listening to what all of those witnesses were saying can see that there is a reasonable doubt. You’ve seen an immigration officer saying, “This man is using a social security number from the state of Connecticut where he never resided.”
”Objective” Bret Baier made the same omissions and similar insinuations during his brief report on the hearing during the “Grapevine” segment of Special Report. Baier avoided using the words "birther" or "birth certificate" and instead described the lawsuit in far more credible-sounding terms.
President Obama and his attorney were both no-shows today in an Atlanta courtroom challenging President Obama’s citizenship and qualification to be on the March primary ballot there. After listening to hours of detailed arguments, the judge did not set a timeline for ruling. The president’s attorney had written to the Georgia Secretary of State imploring him to “bring an end to this baseless, costly and unproductive hearing.” The Secretary of State responded with a warning that if they failed to appear, “you do so at your own peril.” The Obama campaign has said, “As courts around the country have ruled time and again, these claims have no merit.”
As Baier spoke a graphic showed a face of Obama with “NO RULING” written underneath, as if the issue were up in the air.