Have you noticed the way the U.S. news media uniformly mischaracterizes and disparages all those who suggest Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility is not settled matter?
Here’s a recent example from the State, a daily in Columbia, S.C.: “The so-called ‘birther movement’ has questioned the president’s citizenship, claiming Obama’s birth certificate, issued by the state of Hawaii is a fake.”
The paper uses the derisive term “birther movement,” the appellation of choice by those who ridicule the curious constitutionalists. The paper suggests the focus of this movement representing 58 percent of the American people, according to the latest CNN poll, is “citizenship,” when it is actually “natural born citizenship.” The paper suggests a birth certificate has been produced by the state of Hawaii when it hasn’t been. And the paper suggests the primary dispute is over whether this unseen document is a fake.
This is but one of hundreds of examples of this kind of distorted press coverage by news agencies big and small all making assertions that are untrue and contemptuous.
This pattern raises two questions in my mind:
- Why don’t any of these news sources – newspapers, wire services and television networks – bother to talk to anyone from this “movement”?
- From where do they get their information, their impressions, their “facts”?
I have practiced the profession of journalism for 35 years. I’ve never done anything else since becoming an adult. I have literally done everything you can do in the world of daily journalism, from reporting to running major market newspapers. It was always my impression that we were supposed to interview the people we wrote about. But, in the case of the so-called “birthers,” or, as I like to put it, the “curious constitutionalists,” it seems to be fair game to stereotype their beliefs with broad brush treatment and, most importantly, never to talk to them.
Nevertheless, the talking heads on television and the reporters in newsrooms across America tell us every day what “these people” – whom they never name – believe.
How is that done?
As someone in the forefront of this “movement,” I have been interviewed hundreds of times on talk radio about what I believe about eligibility and why, but I can count on one hand the number of times I have been interviewed on the subject by so-called “newsmen.”
And in several of those cases, mysteriously the interviews never aired or were never published. My theory on why is that I presented a lucid and, perhaps, even indisputable case that Obama has never proven his eligibility.
But think about it.
When was the last time you saw a “birther” interviewed by a significant or insignificant news source outside of WND and talk radio?
Even Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, a distinguished Army surgeon facing court martial for challenging Obama’s eligibility, is never interviewed by other news sources. The man is facing years in prison for his convictions, and, even that fact, doesn’t stir these so-called newsmen to curiosity.
So where do these news sources get their ideas about what “birthers” believe?
I can only surmise that they get them from each other.
One mischaracterization leads to another. One factual error leads to another. One derisive term leads to another.
This is actually counterfeit journalism – with each new story on a subject deriving its assertions of “fact” from another.
Someday soon this issue is going to be resolved, much to the embarrassment of Obama, his defenders, his political adversaries who let it slide and especially the press, who missed the biggest story of the decade.
How did the press miss that story?
They made up their minds that Obama would never lie, cheat or deceive.
They convinced themselves they had actually seen a birth certificate when they hadn’t.
They regurgitated what others wrote and said about the constitutionally curious.
And they never interviewed anyone.