(Washington Times) – Detective Michael Zullo is surprised to say the least. He is chief investigator for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse looking into the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate. At a recent press conference, he presented his evidence, which he says points to forgery. He expected the media to follow up with questions about the evidence. What he got was unabashed hostility.
“I really didn’t expect them to come out of the gate attacking us as they did,” Mr. Zullo said.
Nearly a month has passed since a July 17 press conference where Mr. Zullo presented evidence which he says proves that Mr. Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a fraud. “They didn’t pick up on anything. They just don’t want to know about this,” he said. “We presented the most compelling stuff that we know we can prove. That’s the other side of it. We can prove this. This isn’t speculation anymore.”
But Mr. Zullo says the mainstream media have turned to bloggers with names like The Fogbow and Dr. Conspiracy to refute the Arpaio team’s findings. “The media seem to gravitate toward these people as if they are the sound voice in this matter and they are anything but. They will give them special homage as far their technical information, but they will not report on ours with any real accuracy,” he said.
The birth certificate controversy has dogged the president since the 2008 Democratic primaries. Then, when Mr. Obama battled against presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, rumors swirled that he was not a natural-born U.S. citizen. Mr. Obama released his short-form birth certificate to quell the controversy.
But questions persisted as to why he hadn’t released his long-form birth certificate. An August 2010 poll found that a quarter of Americans doubted the president was born in the United States. The controversy was given new life when New York real estate mogul Donald Trump publicly expressed his own doubts about Mr. Obama’s origins in 2011. Sensing the “birther movement” was becoming a dangerous distraction, the Obama administration released the long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011.
The administration had reason to believe it had disposed of the issue. At the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner a few days later, the president poked fun at the “birther” issue. A music video before his speech featured a song, “I Am a Real American,” as the long-form birth certificate flashed on the screen. The president told the audience he would, for good measure, now show them his “official birth video.” The crowd laughed as the birth scene from Disney’s animated film “The Lion King” was played. The movie is set in Africa. “Oh, well,” said the president at the clip’s conclusion, “Back to square one.”
While it might have seemed that the “birther” matter was well and truly behind the president, the issue was given new life when Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio ordered his Cold Case Posse, a group of volunteers, many with a background in law enforcement, to look into the matter. On March 1, after a six-month investigation, Mr. Arpaio held a press conference in which he said there was “probable cause” to believe that Mr. Obama’s long-form birth certificate was fraudulent.
The Obama campaign’s press secretary treated it as a joke, tweeting a link to the Arpaio press conference which directed people to the theme song to “The X-Files,” a conspiracy-minded show from the 1990s. Reports on the event had a “one-and-done” quality to them. Even the conservative National Review felt enough was enough. In a March 7 op-ed, “Conspiracy, Again,” the editors wrote:
“Republicans who have chosen to associate with the birthers have done their party and their country a disservice. And as Sheriff Arpaio settles comfortably into that political mental ward, the same must be said of those Republicans who choose to associate themselves with him more broadly. Those who cannot distinguish between the birthers’ flim-flam and the critical questions that face our nation in 2012 will not win and do not deserve to.”
What was left out by the media was any attempt to report on the evidence that had been presented by Mr. Arpaio’s team, so that it could be subject to analysis by others.
The media’s approach to the topic could be seen in action during a second press conference Mr. Arpaio held July 17, in which his Cold Case Posse took its allegations a step further. It was no longer a matter of “probable cause,” Chief Investigator Zullo said, “As far as we’re concerned, our analysis of the digital portion of this document is finished. We are fully persuaded that we could prove that this document has been manipulated.”
After a nearly one-hour presentation, the sheriff opened the floor to questions. Although the event was well-attended, the questions from the mainstream press didn’t focus on the evidence, but rather on Mr. Zullo’s credentials and whether he was making money off the controversy. One reporter asked about 500 child sex crimes that Mr. Arpaio’s department allegedly didn’t investigate.
“You’re trying to go after the messenger. This is an official investigation,” Mr. Arpaio said. “Look at the facts, what we came up with.”