David Paul Kuhn at Real Clear Politics wonders why the “birthers” or birth-certificate-obsessed garnered a good deal of attention in the last month, which struck Kuhn as rather sudden.
Meanwhile, incidents like this (and I mean the outsized coverage) do seem to justify conservative charges of bias. Is there an unintentional effort, perhaps intentional in some corners of the partisan press, to portray Republicans and conservatives as a bunch of kooks? Well, one should never presume motives.
But I do think the drumming coverage blends a conservative fringe group with conservatives and Republicans. It seems fair to say that, by consequence, much of the media is characterizing conservatives as a bit loony with this exaggerated “birther” storyline.
Both sides have their ideological fringe. Party flanks tend to believe their passions despite the facts. But the mainstream media did not, to the same degree, discuss the conspiracy theorists that believed Bush and Cheney were behind the 9/11 attacks, in order to justify an invasion for oil, in the context of liberals or Democrats.
First, Kuhn appears to have missed that the BCOs stepped up their activities a bit, including giving “indictments” to a dozen or more federal courts across the nation, begging for an indictment of the president, and even got a bill introduced to require candidates to offer more evidence of their birth than anyone ever before . So BCO activities increased in frequency and seriousness. I think the tone has gotten nastier, too. Anyone concerned about nuts with guns should have noticed the uptick in activities, and with luck the FBI and other law enforcement agencies took note, too.
But second, notice that Kuhn thinks that exposing the BCO arguments makes them look crazy. Exactly the opposite of the BCO claims of conspiracy, Kuhn thinks there is a conspiracy to get the BCOs plastered on the front pages where they can present a picture of lunacy for the world to see, and reject.
According to Kuhn, who is the chief political reporter for Politico, the birthers are so crazy that exposing their arguments makes all Obama opponents look bad. A reporter rather sympathetic to the BCO’s views on Obama, hopes their views on the birth certificate issue are hushed up, so they don’t look so crazy.
Astoundingly, even some of the BCO’s agree that their wackiness on display hurts their cause. Leo Donofrio, the professional gambler, ranks right near the top of the BCO crazies, and a friendly comment at his blog makes a similar point:
July 27, 2009 at 11:18 pm
The Birth cert issue IMHO is being used by Axelrod Inc. to divert attention from Obama’s falling poll numbers.
Kuhn may be on to something. The BCOs won’t view it the same way. With few exceptions, crazies never think they are the crazy ones. And when they get crazier? No one likes to know about it, especially their friends.
‘Mainstream Media won’t cover us, they’re part of the conspiracy. Oh, No! They’re covering us, and we look crazy!’
(By the way, Donofrio has joined the People’s Republic of China, creationist Islamic wackoes in Turkey, Neil Simpson, Cuba, conspiracy-monger Texas Darlin’ and Douglas Groothuis in banning my comments. Kim Jong-Il is considering such a ban, too, and I guess Donofrio wanted to avoid the rush.)
File it under “be careful what you wish for.”
(In fairness, I mustt note that I have been guilty of praying Voltaire’s prayer. My enemies, really few in number, are entirely a self-selecting cohort.)
‘I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it.’
–Voltaire (Letter, May 16, 1767)