How The Sunday Shows "Covered" Romney's Birther Line

How The Sunday Shows "Covered" Romney's Birther Line


The major Sunday network news talk shows gave less than two minutes of coverage to Mitt Romney's invocation of the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States. The New York Times reported that Romney's comment was part of a shift by the Romney campaign to a "more combative footing against President Obama in order to appeal to white, working-class voters."

NY Times: Birther Line Part Of Romney Campaign's "Sharper Edge"

Romney: "No One's Ever Asked To See My Birth Certificate." At an August 24 rally in Michigan, Romney said:

ROMNEY: I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital. I was born at Harper Hospital. No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised. [Talking Points Memo, 8/24/12]

NY Times: Birther Comment Reflects "A Sharper Edge And Overtones Of Class And Race." The Times reported that Romney is heading into the Republican National Convention "with his advisers convinced he needs a more combative footing against President Obama in order to appeal to white, working-class voters." The Times described Romney's birther comment as "reflect[ing] a campaign infused with a sharper edge and overtones of class and race":

Mr. Romney's chances hinged to a large degree on running up his advantage among white voters in swing states who show deep strains of opposition to Mr. Obama but do not yet trust Mr. Romney to look out for their interests, Republican strategists say.

Many of those voters are economically disaffected, and the Romney campaign has been trying to reach them with appeals built around an assertion that Mr. Obama is making it easier for welfare recipients to avoid work. The Romney campaign is airing an advertisement falsely charging that Mr. Obama has "quietly announced" plans to eliminate work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries, a message Mr. Romney's aides said resonates with working-class voters who see government as doing nothing for them.

The moves reflect a campaign infused with a sharper edge and overtones of class and race. On Friday, Mr. Romney said at a rally that no one had ever had to ask him about his birth certificate, and Mr. Ryan invoked his Catholicism and love of hunting. Democrats angrily said Mr. Romney's remark associated him with the fringe "birther" camp seeking falsely to portray Mr. Obama as not American. [The New York Times, 8/25/12]

Major Sunday Shows Spend Less Than 2 Minutes On Romney's Birther Line

Sunday Shows Devote 1:53 To Romney's Comment. During their August 26 broadcasts, CBS' Face the Nation devoted one minute to Romney's comment, while NBC's Meet the Press devoted 53 seconds to the remark. ABC's This Week and Fox's Fox News Sunday did not mention it all.

[Media Matters, 8/26/12]

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination
FOX News Sunday, Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation
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