Whoopi Wrongly Insists Fox Pushed Birtherism; the Network Actually Debunked It

On Monday's The View on ABC, as the group discussed Ted Koppel's recent interview with Sean Hannity in which he accused the conservative FNC host of being bad for the country, liberal co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin, and Joy Behar all wrongly accused Fox News of promoting birtherism conspiracy theories against President Barack Obama. Right-leaning co-host and former FNC contributor Jedediah Bila was alone in defending her former employer as she shared the stage with four liberals.

Ironically, a Nexis search reveals many examples of FNC anchors over the years disputing the conspiracy theories that Obama was born in Kenya, as they repeatedly made known their belief that he was born in Hawaii and that those who claimed otherwise were misguided. In fact, the news network's most high-profile host, Bill O'Reilly, debated Trump on the subject in March 2011, and on a number of other occasions derided birtherism, using such words as "nonsense," "nutty," "dopey," "bogus," and "patently absurd."

Also of note, former The View co-host Rosie O'Donnell had a history of promoting 9/11 truther conspiracy theories, and even suggested former Mayor Rudy Giuliani had steel wreckage shipped out of the country to prevent it from being examined.

Back to Monday's The View, after Goldberg recounted the Koppel interview with Hannity, she soon accused the FNC host of not using "facts" on his show as she turned to Bila and posed: "But does it bother you that they don't -- does it not bother you that he has really not used very many facts when he's sort of reporting stuff?"

After Bila denied the claim, Goldberg a bit later renewed her assertion that Fox News is lacking in "facts," and accused the network of questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S. Goldberg: "I find it interesting because facts are hard to find on Fox. I'm not going to lie. Because, you know, for years, they pretended they didn't know where President Obama was born. They pretended they --"

As Bila jumped in to repeatedly respond, "That's not true," Goldberg insisted, "I'm sorry, yes, it is. Oh, it absolutely is," as the two went back and forth.

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Hostin could be heard in the background adding: "Sean Hannity did it. Bill O'Reilly did it."

Goldberg then continued:

Which is, when you don't say, "Hey, listen, I know we have a specific thing here, but this is not true. He was born in Hawaii. That's where he comes from." Four, five years of that, people still believe because they didn't hear it from these guys whose obligation it is even when you're an opinion show. It's your obligation to at least get a fact (inaudible) --

Behar injected: "They keep repeating the lie. They repeat the lie. That's the problem."

Bila responded:

There were a lot of people there, though, that were -- I was there. There were a lot of people who were saying that. I can't attest to everyone. All I'm saying is, within every news network, I think there are people you can count on for fact and people you can't, and people you know are opinionated.

Hostin injected: "But the line is very blurred at Fox News. It is very blurred."

After Bila retorted, "It's not blurred at MSNBC and CNN?" Hostin was unfazed as she continued: "Very blurred, very blurred."

Bila added: "It's blurred at MSNBC, too."

A bit later, Behar asked Bila if she remembered anyone trying to discredit Donald Trump's claims about Obama's birth certificate when she used to be there:

BEHAR: When you were there -- when you were there -- do you remember anybody questioning Trump when he said that Obama was not born in this country? Did anyone? Do you remember?

BILA: Yeah, I do. I do. I mean, I was doing it. I was there. I was saying, "This is ridiculous. We have to move on."

BEHAR: No, besides you. Besides you.

BILA: There were a lot of commentators that were doing it.

Behar then responded: "But I don't remember ever seeing it."

A bit later, Goldberg tried to claim that The View is a source of accurate information in spite of the show's history of peddling misinformation about issues like school textbook reform in Texas and the Arizona law that tried to enforce immigration laws against illegal immigrants. Goldberg:

We talk about our opinions. We will check stuff and make sure that we're not passing false information. And if we do, we say, 'Hey, I was wrong.' Fox does not do that --"

After Bila recalled that Fox News hosts recently disputed FNC analyst Andrew Napolitano's claim that Britain had conducted surveillance against Trump at Obama's request, Goldberg continued:

And so I said they don't do it very often. And it's important to know that people need a fact. And you're absolutely right because if your President is going to be watching, and getting all of his information, and making policy based on what he sees. And if it's wrong, what do you do? So I understand what Ted Koppel is saying. I think it isn't good for America not to demand a fact. Get the facts!

But O'Reilly investigated the birth certificate issue early on and repeatedly recalled that he had ruled out the possibility that Obama was not born Hawaii. For example, in July 2009, O'Reilly recalled: "Some people believe the President was born in Africa. Well, 'The Factor' has investigated, and it's bogus. The President was born in Hawaii, and there's no question about it."

When a pre-recorded interview with Trump was aired on the March 30, 2011, The O'Reilly Factor, host O'Reilly was shown arguing that he had already disproven birtherism through his own investigation, as he and the then-presidential candidate went back and forth on the subject. The FNC host ended up charging: "I don't think you believe that either. I think it's provocative. You get a lot of attention raising the question. But I don't think you believe it either." (More of the birtherism debate between O'Reilly and Trump can be seen in the transcripts section below.)

Recurring FNC guest Ann Coulter also derided birthers as she called them "nuts" and "cranks," and, in April 2011, asserted that Trump had gone after Obama in "kind of a stupid way" by raising the birth certificate issue.

And recurring FNC guest Michelle Malkin called some of the birther conspiracy theories "far-fetched."

Then-FNC host Glenn Beck stated that the issue "makes people look ridiculous," called it "nonsense" and a "circus," and worried that it was a distraction from substantive issues; and FNC analyst Karl Rove called the birther conspiracy theories "nuttiness" and the "nutty right."

Greta Van Susteren was another FNC host who debated Trump on the issue in April 2011, as she cited then Hawaii Republican Governor Linda Lingle as attesting to the existence of Obama's birth certificate as the FNC host declared: "I don't agree with you on this whole birther issue."

Hannity repeatedly made known his belief that Obama was born in Hawaii, but also recommended that the President release the long form of his birth certificate because so many people were asking to see it. Notably, even MSNBC liberal and Obama fanboy Chris Matthews, while declaring himself an "enemy of the birthers," pushed for Obama to find a way to release his original birth certificate. In December 2010, citing a New York Times poll which found that more than 40 percent of Americans had doubts about whether President Obama was born in the U.S., Matthews fretted:

Don't we want to know if he can find it? And I don't understand why the governor doesn't just say, "Snap it up, whoever is over there in the department of records, send me a copy right now"? And why doesn't the President just say, "Send me a copy right now"? Why don't Gibbs and Axelrod say "Let's just get this crappy story dead"? Why not do it? He doesn't care that 43 percent of the country isn't sure that he's an American?

(...)

But the department out there just said the other day that there is such a thing. it exists. The original document of his birth is available in storage. They have it in storage, they say. If it exists, why not put it out? I'm just asking the obvious question: Why not -- will there be any harm done by releasing the original document?

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Monday, March 27, The View on ABC, followed by some of the relevant quotes about birtherism by some Fox News personalities and MSNBC's Chris Matthews, in reverse chronological order:

#From the March 27, 2017 The View:

JEDEDIAH BILA: I want to hear the more opinions the better. And that doesn't mean that I'm going to watch him and that I'm going to agree or that I'm going to form my opinion based on what he said.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: But does it bother you that they don't -- does it not bother you that he has really not used very many facts when he's sort of reporting stuff?

BILA: I don't agree with that. I used to do his show a lot -- there was a lot of fact-based reporting. And what I like about his show and many others --

SUNNY HOSTIN: He's not a journalist, Jedediah, I mean, that's the bottom line.

SARA HAINES: I don't think people know the difference.

GOLDBERG: I don't either.

HOSTIN: I think what I liked about -- they don't know the difference.

(...)

GOLDBERG: I find it interesting because facts are hard to find on Fox. I'm not going to lie. Because, you know, for years, they pretended they didn't know where President Obama was born. They pretended they --

BILA: That's not true.

GOLDBERG: I'm sorry, yes, it is. 

BILA: That's not true.

GOLDBERG: Oh, it absolutely is.

BILA: That's not true. If you look at a lot of the reporting --

GOLDBERG: You know what, they went along --

BILA: I was there. I worked there. I promise you it's not true. 

GOLDBERG: You know, I'm telling you.

HOSTIN: Sean Hannity did it. Bill O'Reilly did it.

BILA: But you can hand pick anyone. That's what I'm saying.

GOLDBERG: If you let me finish what I'm trying to say, and you might understand my point.

BILA: Go ahead. Go ahead.

GOLDBERG: Which is, when you don't say, "Hey, listen, I know we have a specific thing here, but this is not true. He was born in Hawaii. That's where he comes from." Four, five years of that, people still believe because they didn't hear it from these guys whose obligation it is even when you're an opinion show. It's your obligation to at least get a fact (inaudible) --

BILA: There were a lot of -- all I'm saying is, I agree with you --

BEHAR: They keep repeating the lie. They repeat the lie. That's the problem.

BILA: There were a lot of people there, though, that were -- I was there. There were a lot of people who were saying that. I can't attest to everyone. All I'm saying is, within every news network, I think there are people you can count on for fact and people you can't, and people you know are opinionated.

HOSTIN: But the line is very blurred at Fox News. It is very blurred.

BILA: It's not blurred at MSNBC and CNN?

HOSTIN: Very blurred, very blurred.

BILA: It's blurred at MSNBC, too.

(...)

BEHAR: When you were there -- when you were there -- do you remember anybody questioning Trump when he said that Obama was not born in this country? Did anyone? Do you remember?

BILA: Yeah, I do. I do. I mean, I was doing it. I was there. I was saying, "This is ridiculous. We have to move on."

BEHAR: No, besides you. Besides you.

BILA: There were a lot of commentators that were doing it.

BEHAR: But I don't remember ever seeing it.

(...)

GOLDBERG: We talk about our opinions. We will check stuff and make sure that we're not passing false information. And if we do, we say, "Hey, I was wrong." Fox does not do that --

BILA: They just did it. (referring to FNC hosts recently disagreeing with FNC's Andrew Napolitano)

GOLDBERG: -- very often

BILA: They just did it.

GOLDBERG: Did you hear what I said?

BILA: I did. I did.

GOLDBERG: And so I said they don't do it very often. And it's important to know that people need a fact. And you're absolutely right because if your President is going to be watching, and getting all of his information, and making policy based on what he sees. And if it's wrong, what do you do? So I understand what Ted Koppel is saying. I think it isn't good for America not to demand a fact. Get the facts!

#From Fox News Channel:and MSNBC:

May 30, 2011
The O'Reilly Factor

BILL O'REILLY: Now that the birther nonsense has been put to rest, Donald Trump seems to have found another conspiracy theory.

April 27, 2011
Hannity

MICHELLE MALKIN: And I've been very cautious and I've been very clear in my warning that you got to pick and choose your battles. And I said two years ago that I believed Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. I believe that this long form birth certificate is bona fide. A lot of the questions that are being raised now about photo shop and illustrators and blah, blah, blah, I think are very far-fetched. And in the meantime, grassroots conservatives who have been in the fight for a long time, long before Johnny-come-latelys and Tea Party opportunists like Trump came along have a lot of work to do. We've had a lot of work to do to undo the damage that this man has done in office. And that's where I've chosen to invest my time and energy.

SEAN HANNITY: The only thing, this wasn't my issue either. But as time went on and Donald Trump brought up the issue, it just seemed to me, just release it and it is over. It is now released. And unless anyone comes up with this big smoking gun, it is not an issue. We've got to focus on serious 

April 27, 2011
The O'Reilly Factor

O'REILLY: If Mr. Obama continues to do things that are inexplicable, he will lose the upcoming election. Hopefully with the nutty stuff put to bed today, Americans can focus on what's really important.

(...)

O'REILLY: The birth certificate issue, as dopey as it is -- and I hope you guys understand I tried to put this to bed years ago -- galvanized the whole country. 

(...)

ANN COULTER: Obama had produced his birth certificate. It was only the birther nuts who were saying "No, we want the long form." Well, the long form isn't the birth certificate. He produced the birth certificate. We didn't need all of that. The one good thing about what Trump did was -- and I hope it's illustrative to Republicans -- and that is by talking tough against Obama, which no one, very few in the mainstream media will do, I mean, it's a joke. Suddenly he becomes very popular by going after Obama in a tough way, though in kind of a stupid way.


April 26, 2011
Hannity

HANNITY: What do you think of this whole issue that we've gotten to this point? Certificate of live birth exists. The announcement from his family eight days later exists. So I think that's in the President's favor.

(...)

By the way, for the record, I think he's probably born in the United States. Otherwise, that birth announcement wouldn't be there, but it is odd --


April 26, 2011
GLENN BECK: This is all a distraction. I mean, the President loves the birth certificate, loves the birth certificate argument. Loves it. It's a poke in the eye, and it just makes people look ridiculous. It really does.


April 15, 2011
On the Record

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN:  This whole birther issue he has raised. I don't agree with Donald Trump on this -- I'll say it right from the get-go. But does this hurt the Republican party?

KARL ROVE: Well, it hurts donald Trump, and it removes -- he was an interesting candidate who had a business background and could have contributed to the dialogue. But his full embrace of the birther issue means that he's off there in the nutty right and is now an inconsequential candidate.

(...) 

He's now embraced full-throated the nuttiness that somehow or another, Obama was born in Kenya and his parents and grandparents arranged to have birth notices printed the next day in the Honolulu newspapers so that 40 some odd years later he'd be eligible to run for President. It's just, you know, I'm sorry to see it happen.

April 11, 2011
Hannity

SEAN HANNITY: All right, what do you think of Donald Trump?

ANN COULTER: Well, I think maybe I've been watching too much Charlie Sheen because Donald Trump seems perfectly sane to me. I don't know where he gets this $2 million Obama has spent to keep his birth certificate. He posted his birth certificate on his webpage. I am glad that Donald Trump is bringing it up so that people who haven't been paying attention and don't know that the American Spectator, Human Events, Fox News, you know, every conservative outlet has already shot down this rumor -- which, by the way, was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Now, they will have a chance to find out this is Donald Trump's Pierre Sallinger moment. You can't believe everything you read on the internet. Obama has produced his birth certificate. There were announcements that ran in two contemporaneous Hawaiian newspapers at that time. The head of the Hawaiian medical records has announced, "I have seen the long form you all want." I don't know why the long form is considered more credible than the short form. They are both from the same office.

The State Department accepts the short form -- or, as we call it, the birth certificate. Hawaii accepts the birth certificate short form. So, I mean, it is a conspiracy theory that won't die on the internet. But every responsible conservative organization to look at it shot it down. Which is why you hear it talked about exclusively on the liberal cable stations.

HANNITY: Yes, but this is a point, and one of the main people demanding it be released interestingly "thrill up the leg" Chris Matthews. Why don't they just release it? I mean, those raise a question, but you bring up good points 


April 11, 2011
On the Record

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, the birther issue, and I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I have heard you say that you are doing something. I don't agree with you on this whole birther issue, plus, I think you're doing a great fundraiser for the Democratic party. But, putting that aside, you have said that you are investigating. What are you doing?

(...)

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you why, I'll tell you, I mean, I've gone through, I've listened to the former Republican governor of Hawaii who says that he was born there. She believes that the head of --

DONALD TRUMP: But do you really believe that the governor of Hawaii was in the hospital room when Obama was born 50 years ago?

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, no, no, no, I don't believe she was there, but I believe --

TRUMP: He took one for the party. He took one for the party.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no,  This is the Republican woman governor, Laura Lingle, who said that she spoke to the head of whoever it was, and that they looked at it. So I'm willing to accept the --

[TRUMP]

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, Donald, I suspect that he does, but he's using this as an enormous fundraising because every time people complain about it, I bet money comes in over the transom of the Democratic party. I don't think that tactically he wants to produce it.

April 5, 2011
Hannity

HANNITY: I think Barack Obama was born in the United States. I think the idea it was in the newspaper is pretty compelling. I have one -- but I have one caveat. It is odd to me. You know, get to showing the stupid birth certificate and move on.

March 30, 2011
The O'Reilly Factor

O'REILLY: Now, when you were on The View and they didn't walk out -- which they should have because they walked out on me and they should have stayed. You were way, way worse than I was on The View. You were hammering the birth certificate. Now, we very early on did an investigation about Barack Obama's birth certificate what the 'The Factor' found out was there were two announcements the week he was born in both Honolulu newspapers saying that he was born. Okay, that is impossible -- it is impossible to make that happen if he had not been born in the hospital.

So, therefore, I just put it to bed. I said he was born in Honolulu. The two newspapers documented it. His mother was a hippy. His father was a guy from Kenya who split. There couldn't have been a sophisticated -- what are you, baby Jesus -- there was a sophisticated to smuggle this baby back into the country. So I just dismissed it, but you made a big deal of it.

(...)

But why is this important to you?

[TRUMP[

Oh, come on, do you really feel this about him?

[TRUMP]

Do you think it's an important subject?

[TRUMP]

Absolutely, but I don't think that's the case.

[TRUMP]

I don't think you believe that either. I think it's provocative. You get a lot of attention raising the question. But I don't think you believe it either.

(...)

March 28, 2011
On the Record

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Here's my thought on it. First of all, I don't know about the article -- whether they had to pay for the article or not. As for the birth certificate, frankly, although I'm not running for President, I haven't seen mine in years. I have a passport, and the President has a passport. Having traveled at one time, I had to surrender a birth certificate. And so I suspect the time when he got his passport, he had to provide a valid birth certificate.

And the other thing, too, is that this is the most incredible -- this doesn't hurt the Democratic party. This is how they're raising funds. They're using all this controversy to say, "Oh, look, please send money because the Republicans are going after him about his birth certificate." So this is a great fundraising device for the President.


December 27, 2010
MSNBC's Hardball

(discussing a NYT poll finding only 58 percent of Americans believed Barack Obama was born in the U.S.)

CHRIS MATTHEWS: So let me ask you gentlemen why don't -- and I am not a birther. I am an enemy of the birthers. This is an actual birth certificate, a long form certificate of live birth in the state of Hawaii. This, on the other hand, is what they release generally to the public -- a thinner form. I'm not sure if it has less information, but it's digital of course, doesn't have signatures on it, and to the birthers is evidence he really ain't one of us. Clarence (Page), is this going to help, if we get more documentation? And second question: Why has the President himself not demanded that they put out the initial documents?

(...) 

Don't we want to know if he can find it? And I don't understand why the governor doesn't just say, "Snap it up, whoever is over there in the department of records, send me a copy right now"? And why doesn't the President just say, "Send me a copy right now"? Why don't Gibbs and Axelrod say "Let's just get this crappy story dead"? Why not do it? He doesn't care that 43 percent of the country isn't sure that he's an American?

(...)

But the department out there just said the other day that there is such a thing. it exists. The original document of his birth is available in storage. They have it in storage, they say. If it exists, why not put it out? I'm just asking the obvious question: Why not -- will there be any harm done by releasing the original document?

August 3, 2009
The O'Reilly Factor

O'Reilly devoted a segment to debating conservatives Christopher Ruddy and Mike Gallagher and argued that Republicans who are pushing the birth certificate issue are undermining themselves.

July 29, 2009
The O'Reilly Factor

O'REILLY: Some people believe the President was born in Africa. Well, "The Factor" has investigated, and it's bogus. The President was born in Hawaii, and there's no question about it.


July 28, 2009
The O'Reilly Factor

O'REILLY: Finally tonight, the mail. ... Martha Peeler -- Greensboro, Florida: "It will be really sweet when Obama is exposed as not an American citizen. Lou Dobbs has a spine, unlike the state-run media and those of you on Fox News who will not investigate."

We have investigated, Madam. We've seen the birth announcements. And just yesterday Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii Health Department, verified the President's birth certificate.

Larry Lee -- New Palestine, Illinois: "I am not convinced Obama is an American."

That is because you don't want to be convinced, Larry.

Jerry Lewis, San Diego: "Obama's grandmother testified he was born in Kenya."

False, sir. In an interview with a guy named Ron McFree, the second wife of Obama's paternal grandfather clearly says on the transcript that he was born in America. By the way, both Honolulu newspapers carried birth announcements for Barack Obama in August 1961. So, what, did they make up the baby? Come on!

(...)


July 27, 2009
The O'Reilly Factor

BILL O'REILLY: "Impact" segment tonight, a call for CNN commentator Lou Dobbs to be fired. All has to do with Mr. Dobbs allowing conversation on his program that alleges President Obama is not a U.S. citizen. Now, that theory has been around for a while. "The Factor" investigated, found out it's bogus. But Mr. Dobbs is still engaged. [LOU DOBBS clip] And again, we found that President Obama was born in Hawaii. We were sent the documents. And what are you going to do? I don't know why it's still around. That was more than a year ago.

(...)

(speaking to Richard Cohen of SPLC) 
O'REILLY: So if he's going to go out there and push a story that is patently absurd. It is -- it's an absurd story. Then, you know, Americans can decide, you know, whether they want to watch or not.

(...)

O'REILLY: As we reported earlier, some folks are angry at Lou Dobbs over the Obama birth certificate deal. Here's what Ann Coulter said.

ANN COULTER: Every conservative publication from, you know, Human Events to Sweetness and Light blog, American Spectator dealt with this because it was raised as an issue --

GERALDO RIVERA: A year ago.

COULTER: -- and said there's nothing to it, you know. It's just a few cranks out there. It's like when networks bring on the three remaining Klanners.

O'REILLY: By the way, as we mentioned, "The Factor" debunked the whole birth certificate deal more than a year ago. It was easy. The state of Hawaii sent us a copy of the document. End of the story.


September 16, 2008
The O'Reilly Factor

O'REILLY: Lots of letters about the "Obama Chronicles." Mel Westerfield -- Brandon, Mississippi: "Bill, your report said Obama was born in Hawaii. It is my understanding he was born in Kenya." Not accurate, sir. He was born in Honolulu. His birth certificate is authentic.

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