Fox's Special Report Continues To Treat Birther Conspiracy Theories Seriously

Fox News' flagship “straight news” program, Special Report, dedicated a segment to Arizona's secretary of state Ken Bennett saying that he might remove President Obama from the Arizona presidential ballot because he “has been asking for two months for Hawaii officials to prove President Obama was born there” but hasn't received an answer that satisfies him.

BRET BAIER (host): Arizona's Secretary of State Ken Bennett says he has been asking for two months for Hawaiian officials to prove President Obama was born there. Hawaiian officials won't budge until Bennett satisfies a number of requirements, and both sides disagree about whether he has actually done it.

Bennett says he might remove President Obama from the ballot in Arizona if the proof doesn't arrive from Hawaii soon, a move Democratic critics say is politically calculated and aimed at capturing support from a fringe group of Republicans as Bennett weighs a run for governor. Bennett says he is not quote “a birther” but wants to clear up the issue for concerned Arizonans.

Baier did not mention that Obama made his birth certificate public four years ago, and as noted, it “meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship.” Nor did Baier mention that, in the midst of a relentless birther attack by Baier's network, the White House also released Obama's long-form birth certificate.

In January Baier also gave undo credence to birther conspiracy theories. On January 7 Baier did a segment highlighting birther arguments saying some in the birther movement call Obama's birth certificate “a fake” and “others say the real issue is that he's not a natural-born citizen.” Less than a month later, Baier updated the story, again giving credence to the birther movement.

In addition, Baier's report comes on the heels of a Wall Street Journal article that similarly treated birtherism as one legitimate side in a factual dispute.

Both the Journal and Fox News are owned by News Corp.