File this under you reap what you sow: Brett Baier, Fox's top 'news' anchor,
reported on birther conspiracy theories as serious news (July 14, 2009)
This paragraph from today's
Washington Post story
on efforts by top Republicans to disavow birtherism struck me as quite hilarious:
The renewed effort to tamp down birtherism underscores a view held by many establishment Republicans that the conspiracy theorists make up a small subset of the party base and risk turning off swing voters more interested in jobs and economic concerns.
Small subset? Well, I guess 50% is technically a subset, but it ain't exactly small. And that's only if you count the hard core birthers who actually believe President Obama was born in Kazakhstan or something. If you count everybody who isn't sure whether Obama was born in America (he was, in Hawaii), the number is actually closer to three-quarters. Just yesterday, a new poll came out showing only 26% of Iowa Republicans believe Obama was born in the U.S.
I guess at least the Republicans cited by the Post are willing to admit that birthers are "conspiracy theorists," but we're not talking about some tiny Bircher fringe here. This subset ain't small. The rejection of Barack Obama Americanism is central to the Republican identity.
I'm sure these Republicans would love to blame the "liberal" media for creating the birther issue, but that's nonsense. Sure, MSNBC covers the birther insanity, but let's not forget that most of the Republican base gets their news from Fox, talk radio, and conservative websites. MSNBC viewers aren't the ones who are birthers, it's Fox viewers.
And I'm sure it won't come as a surprise that one of the first, if not the first, reports on birtherism as a legitimate news story came from none other than Fox, way back in the summer of 2009. And now, surprise, surprise, most Republicans either believe the birther conspiracy is accurate, or they believe it could be accurate.
Republicans have spent the better part of the last two-plus years doubling down on crazy. And now they are getting embarrassed because everybody outside their reality distortion field thinks they've gone nuts. Well, they have. And they should be embarrassed.
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