From Joan Walsh at Salon:
[…] Tuesday night on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” rising GOP shill/star Liz Cheney refused to denounce the “Birthers” — the right-wing fringe movement devoted to denying (for a changing array of reasons) that Obama is eligible to be president. Instead, Cheney defended the Birthers by blaming Obama for their rage.
After King showed video of the crazy birther who disrupted a meeting with poor GOP Sen. Mike Castle, demanding he acknowledge Obama was born in Kenya (that’s one birther claim); and after Carville denounced them as a “poor, pathetic” fringe group, King gave Cheney a chance to distance herself from them. But Cheney demurred, telling King the Birther movement exists because “People are uncomfortable with a president who is reluctant to defend the nation overseas.”
The rarely shocked Carville seemed briefly speechless, and even King, not known to be the most combative interviewer, tried a second time to get an honest reaction from Cheney — which I read as expecting her to separate herself from the crazies. But Cheney repeated her talking point about Obama inadequately defending the nation overseas. Unbelievable.
Now, I’ve debated Cheney, so I know she’ll do anything from rudely interrupting to lying to make her point, but even I expected her to take King’s opportunity to distinguish her brand of Republicanism from the hooligans who run with the Birthers. But she didn’t. Wow. The GOP keeps coughing up younger, supposedly more compelling, “new” leadership, from Sarah Palin to Mark Sanford to, now, Liz Cheney — and they keep making clear they’re not ready for prime time. It’s remarkable.
From James Rainey at the Los Angeles Times:
Lou Dobbs had David from Freeport, N.Y., on the line, the caller musing darkly about President Obama “rushing all these programs through by whatever means,” knowing he will soon be exposed as a fake, a fraud, a . . . Kenyan.
At that point, a scrupulous radio host had three options: (A) hit the kill button (B) laugh and hit the kill button or (C) offer some push-back against the fantastical notion that Barack Obama was born on foreign soil and thus serves — illegally — as the Oval Office’s first resident alien.
Instead, Dobbs chose the maximum complicity-minimum integrity route, or (D): “Certainly your view can’t be discounted,” the host said.
The subject fits neatly with Dobbs’ nativist, immigrant obsession. And the cable demagogue, already well behind Fox News, has got to find some way to keep from sagging behind even traditional cable television laggard MSNBC.
Cooler heads at CNN put some distance between themselves and their once star host, with fill-in Kitty Pilgrim using a segment of “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on Friday to provide a substantially more skeptical look at the Obama-made-in-Africa claims.
Pilgrim introduced the topic of Obama’s alleged foreign birth as she sat in for Dobbs that night, calling it “the discredited rumor that won’t go away.”
When the issue first surfaced in the presidential campaign last summer, numerous credible news organizations and even the Hawaii Department of Health presented clear evidence that Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu.
I often hear from disgruntled readers that they don’t pay attention to the dread “Mainstream Media” because they can find “the truth” on the Internet.
The Internet agitators, in turn, get support and sustenance from mainstream provocateurs like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who last month chortled, “God does not have a birth certificate, and neither does Obama — not that we’ve seen.”
Dobbs and the others found a nominal “news” peg for the story last week when the U.S. Army allowed a reserve major, Stefan F. Cook, to reverse his voluntary deployment to Afghanistan. Cook proclaimed his orders invalid because, he insisted, his commander in chief wasn’t born in the U.S.
Never mind that the good major appears in this instance to be more agent provocateur than man of arms or that he is represented by Orly Taitz, an Orange County attorney (and dentist) who has made it her life’s work to prove Obama isn’t one of us.
Dobbs welcomed Taitz and another of her clients, Alan Keyes (who was crushed by Obama in their Illinois U.S. Senate race), to his radio program like seers instead of extreme partisans. Dobbs suggested he had reached no conclusions, before barreling ahead with questions about why Obama hasn’t produced “his birth certificate, the long form, the real deal.”
Brooks Jackson, director of Annenberg Political Fact Check (FactCheck.Org) and a reporter with 34 years in the business, has seen one howler after another knocked down, only for another to sprout in its place.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself for putting some of that stuff on the air,” said Jackson, who worked at the cable outlet for more than 20 years.
Dobbs did not return my call Tuesday. But he did go on the radio and rant about the L.A. Times and the other liberal media that are “subservient and servile to this presidency.”
He insisted he believed Obama is a citizen, while continuing to tell listeners “there is no actual birth certificate.” He did it because he is a Man of the People. And, as he explained, “the American people want an answer.”