Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why is Birtherism still news?

People who make a show out of refusing to believe that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961, stay in the news. It matters not that their often repeated accusations have been manufactured out of thin air. We know them as Birthers and invariably they are found on the right-wing's fringe of political thinking.

Are there any liberal Birthers?

In 2008 the Obama campaign posted a scan of his birth certificate online, as certified by the Hawaii Department of Health. That didn't matter to devout Birthers. They consider Obama to be a prevaricator. In other words, no proof of his citizenship will ever satisfy a truly committed Birther.

Fox News likes these stories because its decision-makers would rather report another warmed-over story that questions whether Obama is qualified to be president, for whatever reasons, than report on what the president did on a given day.

MSNBC likes the stories because its angle is to make the Birthers look like lowbrow lunatics. The decision-makers at MSNBC like to cast all uncompromising conservatives as being unhinged from reality, not unlike Birthers and evolution deniers.

It says here that without Fox News, MSNBC and their ilk, the Birther story would have withered and died a long time ago.

The same thing goes for Rev. Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church traveling hate-fest show that demonstrates its peculiar brand of Christianity at military funerals. Without the coverage the Westboro group inevitably gets for its stunts, those stunts would probably have stopped years ago. And, in fairness to Fox News and MSNBC, it seems that news publishers in every aspect of the mainstream media also see the disturbing antics of the Phelps clan as easy front page stories.

Back to the Birthers: What are they really committed to? And, when you pull back the curtain, how much of the campaign to undermine Obama’s legitimacy is being fueled by stubborn racism? Just because America elected a black president hardly means we are living in a time untroubled by throwback racism.

Now an Army physician, Lt. Col. Terrance Larkin, has refused to deploy to Afghanistan because he believes the order itself wasn’t legal. Why? Because the Commander in Chief isn’t legit in Larkin‘s book. The story of his court-martial is news outside of the military world, but should it be? We certainly don't read many other stories about military personnel who refuse to follow orders for screwy reasons.

Birtherism needs publicity like a fish needs water. And, the grandstanding Col. Larkin probably needs a spell of quiet time to do some time thinking. Accordingly, if convicted of all charges, he faces up to three years in the stockade.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

I dunno, why does the Republican mantra of tax cuts still resonate? Because the Republicans have a well-coordinated message machine that they are able to pump into the media which spits it out and hysterical, gullible people take the hook and can't let go? It seems the response is automatic, so conditioned are we by the media. The conservatives take it as marching orders and liberals take it as bait.