Unlike Dobbs, some conservative media think birthers are "nutburgers"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

In contrast to Lou Dobbs, who recently promoted conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate, numerous conservative media figures have dismissed and ridiculed the so-called "birther" claims.

As Media Matters for America has extensively documented, Lou Dobbs has recently promoted conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate, joining a throng of media conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who have done so. But not all conservatives have embraced the "birther" cause. Many conservative media figures have dismissed and ridiculed the so-called "birther" claims as "conspiracy theories" that are "embarrassing and destructive" and are espoused by "crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitative, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters."

For instance:

Joe Scarborough: On the July 22 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Scarborough discussed a video clip in which Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) is challenged by a woman who claims Obama has not produced a birth certificate. Scarborough described those who ascribe to this belief as "cartoon characters" who "would rather, instead of trying to actually figure out what's happening to their country -- the terrible things that are happening economically to their country -- they embrace conspiracy theories." Scarborough marveled that it was "not enough for these people" that Obama's "has been shown" as well as a birth announcement for Obama in the "Honolulu Advertiser, on the day Barack Obama was born 47 years ago." Scarborough also compared birth certificate conspiracy theorists to people who believe "the United States government blew up its own buildings and killed its own people on September 11th" and believe that we "never landed on the moon."

Michelle Malkin: In a December 5, 2008, column, Fox News contributor Malkin compared those who questioned Obama's citizenship to those who believed Gov. Sarah Palin "didn't give birth to her youngest son, Trig," and wrote that a "dangerously large segment of the birth certificate hunters have lurched into rabid Truther territory." She went on to state:

The most prominent crusader against Obama's American citizenship claim, lawyer Philip Berg (who, not coincidentally, is also a prominent 9/11 Truther), disputes that Obama was born in Hawaii and claims that Obama's paternal grandmother told him she saw Obama born in Kenya.

Berg and his supporters further assert that the "Certification of Live Birth" produced by Obama was altered or forged. They claim that the contemporaneous birth announcement in a Hawaii newspaper of Obama's birth is insufficient evidence that he was born there. (Did a fortune-teller place it in the paper knowing he would run for president?)

Malkin concluded: "I believe Trig was born to Sarah Palin. I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on U.S. soil. I believe fire can melt steel and that bin Laden's jihadi crew -- not Bush and Cheney -- perpetrated mass murder on 9/11. What kind of kooky conspiracist does that make me?"

David Horowitz: In a December 8, 2008, column headlined "Obama Derangement Syndrome," Horowitz, editor of the conservative website FrontPage Magazine, blasted "continuing efforts of a fringe group of conservatives to deny Obama his victory and to lay the basis for the claim that he is not a legitimate president" as being "embarrassing and destructive." He added: "The fact that these efforts are being led by Alan Keyes, a demagogue who lost a Senate election to the then-unknown Obama by 42 points, should be a warning in itself."

Michael Medved: Medved, a conservative talk-show host, has reportedly referred to the leadership of the so-called "birther" movement as "crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitative, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters" who are "the worst enemy of the conservative movement." According to a March 1 Politico article, Medved "mourned": "It makes us look weird. It makes us look crazy. It makes us look demented. It makes us look sick, troubled, and not suitable for civilized company."

John Avlon: As Media Matters has documented, on the July 17 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, the Daily Beast columnist Avlon said of the "birther" movement: "What we have here is Obama derangement syndrome. This is pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism." In his July 22 Daily Beast column, Avlon wrote of Castle's confrontation with a "birther":

It's a sign that Republican centrists are operating at a disadvantage against the party's wingnut fringe. There is a reluctance to take on the extreme in a full-fledged confrontation, a fight for the future direction of the Republican Party, for fear of provoking grassroots retaliation in a GOP primary. And in this there a tacit admission that the fringe is starting to overlap with the party's base, pumped up by talk radio and the Internet, bleeding over into cable news and now town halls.

Avlon added that the exchange "is a glimpse at the ugliest underbelly of American politics: an angry and intolerant Nativism that appeals to people's paranoid fears of 'the other.' Its craziness is starting to seep in at the margins and affect our civil discourse." Avlon is a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, was director of speechwriting and deputy policy director for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign, and is the author of the book, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics.

Little Green Footballs (LGF): A well-known conservative blog, LGF regularly mocks the Obama birth certificate conspiracy theorists, describing those who ascribe to these beliefs as "nirthers." According to "The LGF Dictionary," "nirthers" are "those who believe in the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is not a legitimate citizen of the United States. Comes from a misspelling of 'Birth Certificate' that appeared on a Nirther website. The conspiracy itself is sometimes referred to as the 'nirth certifikit' theory." In posting a video clip of Castle's confrontation with a "nirther," LGF commented: "It's beyond appalling how popular this insanity is with the GOP base. What the hell is wrong with these people?"

Allahpundit: Allahpundit, a conservative blogger on the website Hot Air, has recently compared the Obama "birth certificate truthers" to the "9/11 Truthers," writing in a July 20 post about Castle: "Expect these people to play the same role at GOP primary events in 2012 that 9/11 Truthers played at Democratic rallies last year, occasionally cornering the wary candidate with a video camera to ask if he/she 'supports a new investigation' and receiving the same vague, wary assurances that of course he/she will be happy to 'look into it.' "

Ed Morrissey: Morrissey, another Hot Air blogger, also has debunked the birth certificate rumors. In a December 4, 2008, Hot Air post, Morrissey wrote:

The state of Hawaii has repeatedly insisted that their records show Obama was born in Hawaii, as the Certificate of Live Birth states. The COLB would get any Hawaii native an American passport with no questions asked, even without the official endorsement of the Republican governor and her Department of Health. There is even a contemporaneous birth announcement in a local paper confirming it.

I'm sure the comments section will fill with various conspiracy theories over Indonesian school records, Kenyan births, and so on. None of it -- absolutely none -- has any real, solid evidence showing that Obama was born anywhere else than Hawaii apart from sheer speculation and hearsay, and even less evidence that Obama's stepfather renounced Obama's birthright citizenship, which he didn't have the power to do anyway. It's a conspiracy theory spun by conspiracy theorists (Philip Berg is a 9/11 truther) who use their normal thresholds of evidence for this meme.

Andrew Walden: Walden, a conservative media figure, wrote in an April 1 column for Horowitz's FrontPageMag.com that "[a] fairly impressive internet industry has sprung up claiming that Obama was born in either Kenya or Indonesia. This is nonsense which distracts from the broadly unexplored story of Obama's upbringing." Walden added:

Barack Obama was born in Hawai'i, August 4, 1961 at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu.

Obama's birth certificate posted online is exactly the same birth certificate everybody in Hawaii gets from the State Department of Health. It is not forged. There is nothing unusual about the design or the texture. In addition to the birth certificate, the August 13, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser also carries an announcement of Obama's birth. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin also carries the same announcement. Both papers printed an identical list of birth announcements supplied to them by the Hawaii State Department of Health. Conspiracists have made much of the fact that the Territory of Hawaii gave a phony birth certificate in 1904 to Chinese republican leader Sun Yat Sen for diplomatic reasons. But the modern State of Hawaii has never supplied Certification of Live Birth indicating US birth for foreign-born children.

John Hawkins: Hawkins, a conservative blogger and writer, wrote in a June 30 Townhall.com column that while he thinks that "Barack Obama is a shameless liar," he nevertheless believes: "Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Granted, not everyone on the Right agrees with this assessment, but nevertheless, it's so." Hawkins concluded that the "evidence is as definitive as it gets. Obama has a legitimate birth certificate on file, he released a copy of it to the public, and there is a news clipping that confirms he was born in Hawaii in 1961."

From the July 22 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: Here's what I don't understand about these conspiracy theorists: a birth certificate has been shown. That's not enough. Here's the birth certificate that has been shown. This is not enough for people, nor is it enough for these people, who should actually be focusing on policies, focusing on the fact that Washington is stealing their money and their children's money and their grandchildren's money. But that's not enough for these people.

And, it also is not enough for these people that the Honolulu newspaper -- hey Bender, what's the Honolulu newspaper?

MIKE BARNICLE (MSNBC political contributor): Advertiser.

SCARBOROUGH: The Honolulu Advertiser, on the day Barack Obama was born 47 years ago, had a birth announcement for Barack Hussein Obama. Now that is not enough for these people. They would rather be like sea lions barking at waves. They would rather, instead of trying to actually figure out what's happening to their country -- the terrible things that are happening economically to their country -- they embrace conspiracy theories. And they make themselves just look like cartoon characters.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
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