Any look back at right-wing media milestones in 2011 would not be complete without an extended head shaking with regards to the birther comeback staged this year, courtesy of Fox News. Joining forces with reality TV host Donald Trump to resurrect a thoroughly discredited Obama smear campaign, the GOP Noise Machine, by embracing the birther story, provided an early indication of just how far removed from reality their pursuit to delegitimize the president would go this year.
What's also been fascinating is how partisans have used the debunked conspiracy theory to attack the president, while simultaneously insisting the rise of the birther story this year was proof of liberal media bias.
For instance, the Western Center For Journalism, which describes itself as a "Non Profit Organization dedicated to combating liberal media bias and government corruption" was founded by Joseph Farah, proprietor of leading birther website, WorldNetDaily. Recently, in its recent "top 50 examples of media bias" post, the Center perfectly captured the attempt by the conservative media to play both sides of this birther charade.
Number 27 on the list reads "Birthers." But how was the nonsensical far-right crusade to prove Obama isn't a natural born American citizen proof of liberal bias?
From a January 12 Western Journalism Center article:
The other day, we pointed out that a Western Journalism Center video claiming that Rachel Maddow's statement on "Meet the Press" that MoveOn.org never ran an ad comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler was a lie because the ad in question was not commissioned by MoveOn but, rather, a submission to a 2004 MoveOn contest that was taken down after controversy arose about it and never ran anywhere as a paid ad.
The WJC has now responded by calling us liars, accusing us of "splitting hairs" and asserting that it "never claimed the ad was run on commercial T.V. We consider posting the ad on its website to constitute 'running the ad.' "
So a submission to a contest that was (briefly) posted on a website is the exact same thing as buying airtime for it on commercial TV? Interesting redefinition of "running the ad."
That's not "splitting hairs" -- that's comparing apples and oranges.
Further, the WJC video remains a work of lying by omission: It presents the Bush-Hitler video but at no point does it explain that the ad was a contest submission, never ran as a paid ad, and that MoveOn itself said that "[w]e do not support the sentiment" in it. The WJC post accusing us of being liars doesn't mention that either.
The WJC should try telling the full truth instead of redefining words to fit previous lies.
The Western Journalism Center -- the recently reconstituted right-wing group best known for perpetuating Vince Foster conspiracy theories during the Clinton administration -- has posted a video titled "Rachel Maddow Lies about MoveON.org," which purports to debunk Maddow's claim during the August 16 edition of "Meet the Press" that MoveOn never ran an ad comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler.
But the WJC is the liar here. While the video includes a clip of something that appears to be a MoveOn ad comparing Bush to Hitler, at no point does the video note that it was submitted as part of a contest MoveOn ran in 2004 and never ran as a paid ad by MoveOn. Indeed, MoveOn specifically stated of that submission and a second similar one, "They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions." MoveOn later removed the ad from its website.
Most folks wouldn't have the courage to roll out such a ham-fisted piece of blatantly false agitprop, so the WJC has that going for it.