Saturday, August 22, 2009
The most striking aspect of this summer's political insanity isn't the frothing at the mouth of a loud minority of Republicans that President Obama is a secret Kenyan bent on subjecting an unwitting American public to government death panels, or the mass confusion among the rest of the public about health care reform.
It's that any reporter who has been paying the slightest bit of attention is surprised by any of this. It is, after all, the inevitable result of the way the media do their jobs.
Let's start with the 'round-the-bend howling about Obama's place of birth, which reached a fever pitch a few weeks ago. There was no basis for it -- Obama was born in Hawaii, as government documents, the state of Hawaii (including its Republican governor), and contemporaneous newspaper accounts confirm. Because there is no basis for it, many reporters are shocked that right-wing activists, with the help of some in the media, promoted the nutty and false claim that Obama was secretly born in Kenya, and that many Americans fell for the phony conspiracy theory.
Why on earth would anyone be surprised by this? The last time America had a Democratic president, right-wing activists, with the help of some in the media, said he was responsible for the murder of his close friend and aide, Vince Foster -- and dozens of other murders, too. Why would anyone think that people who are willing to baselessly and falsely accuse one president of murder, drug smuggling, and an assortment of other crimes be unwilling to claim that the current president was born in Kenya?...(Remainder.)