Rachel Maddow of MSNBC Should Be Ethically Sanctioned for Intentionally Misstating to the American Public the Birthers’ Position On Whether Obama Is A "Natural Born Citizen"
By: Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
August 6, 2011
Readers should view MSNBC's Rachel Maddow’s news reporting on August 4, 2011, to the U.S. national viewing audience in which she presents what she claims it means to be a "Birther." The video can be viewed at http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2011/08/rachel-maddow-schooled-on-obamas.html. She gives the most extreme, distorted, biased, inaccurate, and ridiculous statement of what "birtherism" is (e.g., she says that “birthers” believe that Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. concocted a grand plan to make a “terror baby” in 1961 who would secretly become President of the United States). Her explanation is replete with insolence, ridicule, misstatements, and ad hominem attacks. She then follows up her diatribe with audio clips of political leaders who question Obama’s eligibility, implying without any evidence that they also ascribe to the ridiculous explanation that she just presented on what it means to be a birther. Clearly, her insidious purpose is to ridicule the entire “birther” movement and any public person who would dare ascribe to any of its ideas.
What Maddow has presented on the critically important national security issue of whether Obama is constitutionally eligibility to be president is not unbiased, objective, and informative journalism. Her story is all about sensationalism wrapped with smugness, arrogance, and ridicule. Not once in her attack does she mention the real legal debate which is whether putative President, Barack Obama, is an Article II “natural born Citizen.” Not once do we hear her talk about the debate regarding the constitutional definition of an Article II "natural born Citizen."
Maddow mocks and ridicules the “birthers” for what she says are their conspiracy theories about Obama’s origins and eligibility to be President. But the issue of whether Obama is an Article II “natural born Citizen” is not a conspiracy. Rather, it is a straightforward constitutional issue which not only Maddow, but the entire mainstream media continue to avoid reporting to the American people. Rather, their scheme is to talk about ridiculous conspiracy theories (the hatching of presidential “terror babies”), crack a lot of jokes about them and the people they falsely accuse of following them, give us their phony smiles, and hide the real issue. But people like Maddow can get on public television all they want and put on their little carnival act under the plastic cover of television, but they will not be able to hide the facts and the law from the American people.
Under binding U.S. Supreme Court case law, an Article II “natural born Citizen” is a child born in the country to U.S. citizen parents. See Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162, 167 (1875), which held:
“The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.” Id. at 167-68.
This U.S. Supreme Court’s definition was stated in 1758 by Emer de Vattel, the Founders’ and Framers’ favorite writer on natural law and the law of nations, in his, The Law of Nations, Sections 212-217 (London 1797) (1st ed. Neuchatel 1758) where he said the “natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.” The virtually unanimous documented view that prevailed during the Founding, as confirmed by the views of the Founders and Framers, text and structure of the Constitution, and federal and state case law, was that the law of nations was considered universal common law that was binding on the people, the President, Congress, and the nation, and “part of the laws of the United States within the symmetric ambit of Article II, Section 3, III, Section 2, and VI, clause 2 of the United States Constitution.” As to this conclusion, see the exhaustive research paper of Jordan J. Paust, In Their Own Words: Affirmations of the Founders, Framers, and Early Judiciary Concerning the Binding Nature of the Customary Law of Nations University of Houston Public Law and Legal Theory Series 2009-A-27, which can be downloaded without charge at The University of Houston Accepted Paper Series Index.
Moreover, Vattel’s and Minor’s definition was also acknowledged by U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), the seminal case on U.S. citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment, which clarified and established the meaning of a Fourteenth Amendment “born” “citizen” and again confirmed the meaning of an Article II “natural born” citizen, and by doing so informed that there are two birthright citizenships under the Constitution, one under Article II (“natural born”) and the other under the Fourteenth Amendment (“born” in the United States and “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”). Under Article II of our Constitution, only a “natural born” citizen is eligible to be President, for only a “natural born” citizen is born within the full and complete allegiance and jurisdiction of the United States which means being born with sole and absolute loyalty, attachment, and allegiance to the United States and none to any foreign power. The Founders and Framers wanted to assure that the new constitutional republic would be lead both civilly and militarily by a person who from the moment of birth had sole and absolute loyalty, attachment, and allegiance to the United States. It is only by being born in the United States (or its jurisdictional equivalent) to a U.S. citizen father and mother that no foreign allegiance, jurisdiction, and citizenship attach to the child at the moment of birth or as Vattel put it, “if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.” Id. at Sec. 212. It is therefore inconceivable that the Founders and Framers, who went to great lengths to insulate the new republic from foreign influence and monarchial rule, would have countenanced a person born after the adoption of the Constitution to be eligible for the office of President and Commander in Chief of the Military who did not meet the law of nations definition of a “natural born Citizen.”
If Obama was born in Hawaii (a fact that he has yet to conclusively prove) and if his parents are Barack H. Hussein and Stanley Ann Dunham (it is reported that these are his parents), he can be a Fourteenth Amendment and 8 U.S.C. Section 1401(a) “born” “citizen of the United States,” but he cannot be an Article II “natural born Citizen” which is the constitutional standard that he must meet to be eligible to be President and Commander in Chief of the Military. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was a “citizen of the United States” at the time of Obama’s birth. But his father, being born in 1934 or 1936 in what was then the British colony of Kenya, was under the British Nationality Act of 1948, a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (“CUKC”). Obama himself by right of decent from his father under the same Act was also born a CUKC. Hence, because Obama was not born in the United States to United States citizen parents, he was not born under the sole and undivided allegiance and jurisdiction of the United States. Obama was not born with sole citizenship in the United States. Consequently, he was not born with unity of allegiance to and citizenship in the United States. Obama, therefore, cannot be an Article II “natural born Citizen” and is not eligible under Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 to be President and Commander in Chief of the Military.
Media watch dog groups such as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and Media Matters for America (MMFA), and the Project for Excellence in Journalism have been suspiciously missing from commenting on the mainstream media’s news reporting on this Obama eligibility debate. Such absence is more suspect when we consider what lengths such watch groups and others have gone to attack Fox News Channel for what they contend is biased news reporting. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News_Channel_controversies#cite_note-15.
The Preamble to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics provides:
“Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.” http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp.
See also the professional electronic journalists’ code of ethics at http://www.rtdna.org/pages/media_items/code-of-ethics-and-professional-conduct48.php.
“Media makers and journalists carry a lot of responsibility when covering important news events. Journalists should follow a set of ethic standards to ensure fair, accurate and honest reporting. In the profession and study of journalism, a code of ethics has been set as a standard for reporters to follow. Often, journalists deal with sensitive issues and must tell stories while facing a number of ethical dilemmas such as privacy, conflict of interest, journalist-source relationships and the role of journalists in society.” Read more: Code of Ethics in MediaeHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_6521911_code-ethics-media.html#ixzz1UGymorNh. Indeed, the pillars of a journalist ethical code are ethics, privacy, truth, fairness, accountablility, and independence.
So, what ever happened to enforcing journalist standards and protecting the greater good from corruption and abuse, whether it comes from government or from our own national media? The public having fair, balanced, and accurate news information is critical to the survival of republican government. Then why have we allowed our news media to become a propaganda machine that is politicized, untrustworthy, and, as we can witness not only from Maddow’s presidential “terror baby” presentation but from that of so many other news reporters, nothing more than a vicious joke factory? We should be very sensitive to the protections that the First Amendment gives us. But when will our news industry police itself and hold the Maddows of news reporting accountable from a journalistic standpoint for the potential harm that they do to their profession and our nation?
Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
August 6, 2011
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Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
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