Monday, September 19, 2016

The Media Surrender

Subtitle: Media For Hillary

Last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump confirmed his belief that President Barack Obama was born in the United States, and noted that the original story had come from the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

The major media outlets — including the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS — quickly produced their agreed view on the issue. (The Wall Street Journal cites here the varying wordings of that agreed viewpoint by the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. I heard the reporting by ABC, NBC, and CBS myself, and read the AP account in the Albuquerque Journal.) The way the agreed media story was put in the Albuquerque Journal is this:

WASHINGTON – After five years as a promoter of a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace, Donald Trump abruptly reversed course Friday and acknowledged the fact that the president was born in America. He then immediately peddled another false conspiracy.

“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump declared, enunciating each word in a brief statement at the end of a campaign appearance. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”

But as the GOP presidential nominee sought to put that false conspiracy theory to rest, he stoked another, claiming that the “birther movement” was begun by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence that that is true.

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” Trump said.

While the question of Obama’s birthplace was pushed by some bloggers who backed Clinton’s primary campaign against him eight years ago, Clinton has long denounced it as a “racist lie.”

If memory serves, Hillary started denouncing it as false about the time she was named to be Obama's Secretary of State.

Note that this agreed media story on the issue appeared in the media's news stories, not just in their editorials.

This writer suspects that Trump picked up legitimate discussions of and questions about Obama's birth that were running around the country (no, not just "some bloggers") in 2008. Some questions continued for a time even after the White House finally released a copy of the original long-form birth certificate because of perceived discrepancies in it.

But, frankly, that's not of concern. What is of concern is that the media have agreed on a single viewpoint, across news and editorial departments and across organizations, that is at odds with the verifiable facts — both as stated currently and as can surely be verified in news reports from 2008. Multiple members of Hillary's 2008 campaign, including her senior advisor and close confidant Sidney Blumenthal, are the ones who took this story to various reporters — a story that was supported by Obama's own statement in a collegiate biography that he was born in Kenya. Indeed, Blumenthal's deep involvement in spreading this story may be the reason President Obama absolutely forbade the hiring of Blumenthal in the State Department by Secretary Clinton, and order Hillary followed in its letter but not in its intent as he was clearly still working for her at the time of the Benghazi Attack.

But I'm reasonably sure of this:

It's not a conspiracy. It's worse. It's a consensus.

Perhaps the actual issue for this presidential campaign is that Donald Trump was gullible enough to really believe what he read in the media in 2008.

No comments: