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Tuesday, February 15, 2011
AIM, WND Treat Boehner's Refusal To Condemn Birthers As Affirmation
Topic: Accuracy in Media

When House Speaker John Boehner was asked by NBC's David Gregory on "Meet the Press" whether he would criticize a focus panel on Fox News' "Hannity" that mostly believed that President Obama is a Muslim, or at least not a Christian, Boehner refused, claiming that "it's not my job to tell the American people what to think." As Slate's William Saletan points out, that refusal to criticize a lie -- echoed by other Republican leaders -- only perpetuates the lie and demonstrates a lack of GOP leadership.

As if to illustrate the point, two of the leading media outlets that have promoted the idea that Obama is not a real American were eager to embrace Boehner's refusal to criticize those beliefs.

WorldNetDaily framed it this way in a Feb. 13 article by Joe Kovacs: "Despite intense egging on by NBC newsman David Gregory, House Speaker John Boehner refused today to attack people who have doubts about Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency."

Cliff Kincaid served up a similar framing in a Feb. 14 Accuracy in Media column:

NBC “Meet the Press” Host David Gregory berated House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday because members of the public and the Congress have doubts about President Obama’s professed Christian faith and alleged birth in the United States. Gregory wondered if all the doubts about Obama were undermining his legitimacy as President. He wanted Boehner to denounce these questions and concerns as “ignorance.” Boehner refused to do so.


In fact, as AIM has noted, calling yourself something is not the same thing as proving it is the case. Obama’s Christian claim deserves to be scrutinized, even when it involves a sensitive and personal matter such as religious belief. Our media are supposed to question the statements of those in power.

The facts show that there is no evidence that Obama was baptized in a traditional Christian sense of the term. Indeed, Muslims could join the church in Chicago that Obama attended.


Here are the facts, from Obama’s own perspective. Obama acknowledges in Dreams from My Father that his grandfather was a Muslim (page 104) and that he spent two years in a Muslim school in Indonesia studying the Koran (page 154). In The Audacity of Hope, he says (page 204) that “my father had been raised a Muslim” but that by the time he met his mother, his father was a “confirmed atheist.” His stepfather was not particularly religious and his mother professed “secularism,” Obama wrote (pages 204-205), but as a child he went to a “predominantly Muslim school,” after being first sent to a Catholic school. His mother, he said, was concerned about him learning math, not religion.

Kincaid went on to complain that "Pro-Obama journalists have consistently ignored questions about the constitutional eligibility of the current occupant of the oval office." Gotta love how Kincaid denigrates Obama as ann "occupant," as if he wasn't genuinely elected to the job.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 11:30 AM EST

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