The Big Corporate Media is giving the "Birthers" a second wind of publicity, when they should have been confined to the loony bin after their first wave of press coverage.
That is in large part due to two realities: 1) The Big Corporate Media that runs television covers the lunatic fringe right as though they have a legitimate role in news, while ignoring meaningful ideas from progressives that stray from the self-defined "center" (which is any idea that won't upset entrenched wealth and power) and ; 2) the media loves, as Chris Hedges calls it in his brilliant new book on the topic, "spectacle."
In a society that no longer can distinguish between entertainment, fact, celebritydoom, and politics, "spectacle" boosts ratings.
One of the best articles written on the ubiquitous, disputatatious face of the birther movement, Orly Taitz, is in the Orange County Weekly News, where she practices dentistry (when not threatening legal action using a law degree that she received over the Internet).
The article offers a full picture of Taitz's peculiar and factually unfounded crusade, but the most telling quote may be from a blogger who critically keeps track of her largely theatrical activity (no court has upheld any of her legal challenges, or of her rivals for the birther mantle, including attorney Philip Berg -- her nemesis in the movement):
Patrick McKinnion of Yes to Democracy puts it a different way: "There's a certain amount of fascination with unbridled insanity, and that's what you're seeing with the birthers: a level of hatred that borders, if not absolutely pole-vaults, into insanity."
In a sidebar article in the Orange County Weekly News on Taitz (in which we learn that she claims to have a black belt in Taekwondo), McKinnion comments:
Good article. The sad part is that people like Dr. Orly are so blinded by their hatred that they're not seeing the things around them - or who they're associating with.
The day after I was interviewed for this piece, a gunman who turned out to be a Neo-Nazi shot two guards and killed one at the National Holocaust Museum. Turns out he was posting the same claims and demands that Dr. Orly posts. She's freely associating with people fully willing to hate her simply due to her faith, and that's pretty sad. (One birther in particular, Andy Martin, is a known anti-semite)
The major flaw with the entire birther cause is that there is not a single piece of credible evidence that supports any of their claims. No Pakistan travel ban. No way for a US minor citizen to give up their US citizenship. No credible proof of forgery (just the writings of faceless, nameless internet "experts". A full recording with Sarah Obama that she says clearly "born in Hawaii". Not a single piece of evidence to back up any of their claims. Instead they demand you take it all on faith - and proclaim any evidence to the contrary to be part of the "conspiracy".
And the people involved are just as questionable as the evidence. A dentist [Taitz] with a law degree from an on-line unaccredited law school.
But one of the biggest ironies in this tragic farce of a television media -- particularly cable -- that diverts attention from real issues with coverage of such a psychotic "movement," is that Orly Taitz is herself not born in the U.S. She was raised in Moldavia, during the Soviet Era, was allowed to emigrate to Israel (where she met her husband), and in turn they moved to the U.S. at a time when the government was allowing former Soviet Jews a large quota to immigrate and proceed on a citizenship track.
We saw the MSNBC interview the other night when Shuster and another reporter questioned Taitz, who was in a studio in Tel Aviv, with an aggressive grilling the likes of which I hadn't recalled seeing on corporate media, except on Hannity or Bill O'Reilly when they have a "liberal" rabbit in their sites.
Taitz, who has a heavy accent, kept trying to bully her way out of directly answering questions. (It reminded me of debating an NRA true believer.)
The birther movement is full of malcontents -- anti-Semites, skinheads, political malcontents, white firsters, and a radical right wing Jew -- in the case of Taitz, I speculate (as a Jew who knows the landscape of Israeli politics) -- who fears for Israel (in the Netanyahu paranoid style) under Obama. The birthers are a group of psychos who would be shooting each other if they didn't share a common hatred of Obama and the fear of America becoming a nation where whites are in the minority and our foreign policy is to join as partners in the international community.
Only in America would corporate big media spend such extensive amounts of time covering a foreign-born and raised nutcase challenging the nationality of the president of the United States.