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Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Obama/Birth Certificate Hoax and the Media (Updated below)
The way in which the mainstream media and the American people have responded negatively to the conspiracy theory heralded by the usual suspects on the wing-nut fringe (Rush, WorldNetDaily, the Moonie Times, and Republican empty suits in Congress) that Barack Obama was born outside the U.S. is a tutorial on how the media landscape has changed since 1993 when Bill Clinton was hobbled when the same people peddled equally loony conspiracy theories that Bill and Hillary were behind the death of Vince Foster.
There are many reasons for the change. Certainly, the lion's share of the credit goes to Media Matters for America. The progressive blogging community has help to keep the media honest. Keith Olbermann has emerged as a voice that a lot of Americans and media insiders are taking seriously. The right's media can't get away with the things they got away with during the Clinton years.
This is great. During the Clinton era, The Washington Times, Roger Ailes, and Limbaugh were able to bloody the Clintons with their paranoid tales of Bill and Hillary bumping off Foster for knowing too much and not pay a price. The media landscape has changed. Mainstream media journalists have exposed the hoax--the most recent manifestation was the massive media reporting of the ridicule of Alabama Senator Richard Shelby.
However, there is one potential tragedy: WorldNetDaily, one of the media outlets supporting the birther hoax, published a story today about an American soldier on duty in Iraq who has publicly called President Obama "a usurper" and "an imposter." I think it's a shame that a soldier is throwing away his career and possibly face disciplinary action because of some wing-nuts in the media.
UPDATE: Robert Parry addresses the right's media war on the Clinton and Obama administrations.