Obama Chides Media for Birther Story

But he might have been overstating the salacious rumor's dominance in the news cycle.


President Releases Birth Certificate

There comes a moment in almost every American presidency when the commander in chief turns media critic in chief,” David Folkenflik reported Wednesday for NPR.

“For President Obama, that moment occurred Wednesday morning. He released his birth certificate to quell persistent rumors that he was somehow not born in this country — and his remarks were carried live by the nation’s leading cable news channels.

“. . . Today, Obama said that during the budget battle two weeks ago, ‘the dominant news story wasn’t about these huge, monumental choices that were we’re going to have to make as a nation. It was about my birth certificate!’

“That would appear to be a flat-out exaggeration. That week the economy got nearly two-fifths of all coverage, much more than any other topic, according to a regular survey of news coverage by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.” This point was also made by Julie Moos of the Poynter Institute under the headline, “Factchecking Obama: Birther controversy was 4% of newshole, not ‘dominant’ story.”

“But Obama appeared to be directing his rhetoric most directly at the cable news networks,” Folkenflik continued.

“. . . And a review by Pew’s journalism project found that cable news did devote a lot of time to the matter. It’s hard to pin down precisely how much coverage each cable network dedicated to the ‘birther issue’ because many of those stories are incorporated within larger categories such as the 2012 presidential campaign and the Obama administration.”

“. . . The liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America says that since early March, guests made false claims in 52 segments about Obama’s birth certificate, but that Fox News hosts or anchors disputed those claims in just eight instances.