Where's the Birth Certificate?

Where's the Birth Certificate?: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President is a book by Jerome Corsi which promotes the false claim that then U.S. president Barack Obama was not a natural-born citizen of the United States and was thus constitutionally unqualified to hold the office. The book was released on May 17, 2011, and reached No. 6 on the New York Times list of best-selling hardcover non-fiction books. It has been publicized in politically conservative venues.

Where's the Birth Certificate?
Where's the Birth Certificate.jpg
AuthorJerome R. Corsi
CountryUnited States
SubjectObama, Barack--Genealogy.
PublishedMay 17, 2011
PublisherWND Books
Media typeHardcover
Preceded byThe Obama Nation 

The book alleges inconsistencies and fabrications in Obama's life story as well as a conspiracy and cover-up by Obama and the White House Press Office. The book says, among other things, that Obama cannot be a natural-born citizen because, as a boy, he was registered in school as a Muslim and a citizen of Indonesia. The book also alleges that Obama spent millions in legal fees to avoid having to provide a long-form birth certificate to the courts,[1] an assertion which has been disputed by Obama supporters.[2] Obama released his birth certificate several weeks before Where's the Birth Certificate? was published, but the book was nonetheless released unedited. The book's publisher responded to the birth certificate release by saying that Corsi was "deeply suspicious of the authenticity of this document".[3]

Impact and receptionEdit

Despite the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011, publisher Joseph Farah told The Washington Post that Where's the Birth Certificate? would not be renamed and would still be released on May 17.[3] He said the imminent publication of the book had pressured Obama into releasing the certificate.[3] The Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi opined that Obama's birth certificate was released in part to preempt Corsi's book.[4]

Time criticized Corsi for writing a book that provided emotionally satisfying answers rather than factual ones and predicted that Where's the Birth Certificate? would still sell though Obama had released his long-form birth certificate one month before the book was to hit the shelves.[5] Paul Harris, a foreign correspondent for The Guardian, commented that the book was nothing to be laughed at because it represented a "dangerous precedent"; the mainstreaming of a formerly extremist idea that is "palpably and stupidly misguided".[6] Journalist Matthew Continetti, writing in The Washington Post about the earlier Corsi book Unfit for Command that swiftboated John Kerry, concluded: "The connection is important: Birtherism may be to the 2012 election what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were to 2004."[7]

Martin Wisckol of the Orange County Register reported June 1, 2011, that Corsi's new book was "listed at No. 6 on The New York Times best-seller list for hardcover non-fiction" but suggested that the failure of Corsi's previous book, The Obama Nation, to derail Barack Obama's bid for the presidency was "evidence the book will not affect the upcoming election" like Unfit for Command did Kerry's presidential run four years earlier.[8]

Esquire lawsuitEdit

Because Obama released his long-form birth certificate prior to the publication of Where's the Birth Certificate?, shortly after the book's release, a blogger for Esquire wrote a satirical article stating that the book had been recalled.[9] On June 29, 2011, Corsi and WND Books filed a lawsuit against Esquire for damages of over US$285 million (equivalent to about $343M in 2021).[10][11] In June 2012, the lawsuit was tossed out in United States district court, in a decision stating that satire is protected by the First Amendment and noting "Having become such well-known proponents of one position on the issue, plaintiffs cannot complain that the very intensity of their advocacy also became part of the public debate. Those who speak with loud voices cannot be surprised if they become part of the story."[12][13] The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the dismissal.[14][15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Levingston, Steven (March 29, 2011). "Corsi to publish birther book in May". Political bookworm. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Elliott, Justin (April 11, 2011). "Right-wing publisher: We run "some misinformation"". Salon.com. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Lowman, Stephen (April 27, 2011). "Obama trumps book on birth certificate". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 3, 2011. Last week, Jerome Corsi's "Where's the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to be President " reached the top of Amazon's best-seller list — and it doesn't publish until May 17.
  4. ^ Vennochi, Joan (May 1, 2011). "Smeared? Fight back quickly". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  5. ^ Scherer, Michael (April 27, 2011). "Birtherism Is Dead, But the Birther Industry Continues". Time. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
  6. ^ Harris, Paul (April 21, 2011). "The born-again birther debate". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
  7. ^ Continetti, Matthew (April 22, 2011). "Swiftboating President Obama". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  8. ^ Wisckol, Martin (June 2011). "Obama birth-certificate book hits best-seller list". The Orange County Register. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  9. ^ Warren, Mark (May 18, 2011), "Breaking: Jerome Corsi's Birther Book Pulled from Shelves!". Esquire.
  10. ^ Linkins, Jason (June 29, 2011), "Birthers Sue Esquire Over Satirical Article", The Huffington Post
  11. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (June 29, 2011), "Birthers Sue Esquire Over Parody, Seeking More than $200 Million", Forbes
  12. ^ Abbott, Ryan (June 6, 2012). "Judge Shields Esquire Birther Blog as Satire". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Michael Doyle (June 4, 2012). "'Birthers' loses libel suit over Esquire parody". McClatchy Newspapers.
  14. ^ Kuo, Lily (June 4, 2012). ""Birther" lawsuit against Esquire Magazine dismissed". Reuters.
  15. ^ Frankel, Alison (November 26, 2013). "D.C. Circuit knows satire when it sees it, tosses 'birther' case vs Esquire". Reuters. Archived from the original on December 1, 2013.

External linksEdit