The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Let me start by being perfectly clear—the “birther” issue is ridiculous. Barack Obama is President and arguments about his country of birth will not change that fact.

I do find it interesting, however, that the MSM seems to be doing everything it can to keep the topic alive. Commentators on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and the NYT can’t seem to stop commenting on the “racist, zenophobic” mentality of the “birthers.” They crow over polls showing that “birthers” are far more likely to be Republicans than Democrats. They repeatedly suggest that birthers are really “tea partiers” who are doing the country great harm.

Edward Tenner writes in The Atlantic:
The birthers' fixation on origins might be related to antipathy to immigrants and racial minorities. But it also reflects a xenophobia of cultural differences. This paragraph suggests that when Obama was at a formative age, Javanese customs helped shape his celebrated style. But those values regarding expression of emotion were and are the opposite of what prevails at American schools. Birtherism is like other urban legends. It expresses an anxiety -- not mainly, I think, about race, Islam, or even immigration, certainly no longer about leftism, but about his brand of coolness as a threatening alien value. It's part of Americans' ambiguity about self-control.

Tenner expresses surprise that of those polled “fully 20 percent of Americans accept the story [that Obama was born outside the USA] and almost a quarter are unsure, apparently taking it seriously.”

The unhingered behavior of birthers provides the media with an attractive target, and they simply won’t let go as the election year approaches. Rather than allowing the story to remain at the fringes, as they’ve done with the “truthers” on the Left who believe that the U.S. or Israel were complicit in planning and executing the 9/11 attacks, the media insists on keeping the birther story alive.

The real question, though, is why? Why the media obsession with the birther story?

As the presidential election year approaches, the MSM is closing ranks around their chosen candidate. The “birther” story, they believe, can be an effective bludgeon used to discredit anyone who disagrees with the policies of the President. No matter how tenuous the connection, just show some association of the President’s critics to the birther movement and their arguments can be dismissed out of hand.

After all, birthers are “stupid, racist, zenophobes.” Anyone even remotely connected to them (e.g., birthers are predominantly Independents or Republicans, so those political affiliations are suspect) has racist and/or zenophobic tendencies.

In the end, if those of us who think that Barack Obama is making serious mistakes in both domestic and foreign policy can be connected to a group of fringe conspiracy theorists, then, even honest criticism is “extreme” and unjustified. After all, if we’re to believe the implied narrative, it’s just as “crazy” to have reservations about uncontrolled domestic spending and exploding deficits or the wars in Afghanistan and Libya. It’s just the same as claiming that the President wasn’t born in the USA. Isn’t it?