On a February 8th installment of “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” Matthews introduced a new media trend. His guests, Phillip Dennis of the Texas Tea Party and Matt Kibbe from FreedomWorks, were on the show to discuss the strength of the Tea Party within the new Congress, but the first question Matthews asks after introducing them is whether or not they believe Barack Obama is a Muslim. Although Phillip Dennis clearly stated that he was disinterested in Obama’s religious identity, Matthews spends the first four minutes of the interview sparring with him in an attempt to unearth some form of conspiratorial view.
This seems to be a new strategy running through the leftwing media. For a lack of reasonable opposition to the necessity for deep budget cuts, the journolistas have reconstituted two hackneyed issues in an attempt to discredit President Obama’s political opponents. The Left have fused questions about President Obama’s religious affiliation to the birth certificate issue in an effort to paint conservatives as conspiracy minded paranoids, but what is more disturbing about this strategy is that, sewn into the new approach, there is a subtle mix of McCarthy-era loyalty oath and Orwellian show trial.
Since the “Hardball” installment, there have been several attempts to force President Obama’s political opponents into making public confessions about his place of birth and religious affiliation. For instance, in a discussion on “Meet the Press,” David Gregory put John Boehner up for pillory. After playing videotape where some of the people interviewed stated that they believe President Obama is a Muslim, David Gregory demands that Boehner denounce them.
Gregory: As the speaker of the House, as a leader, do you not think it’s your responsibility to stand up to that kind of ignorance?
Boehner: David, it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people. Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born there. That’s good enough for me. The president says he’s a Christian. I accept him at his word.
Gregory: But isn’t that a little bit fast and loose? I mean, you are the leader in Congress and you’re not standing up to obvious facts and saying, “These are facts. If you don’t believe that, it’s nonsense.”
Boehner: I just outlined the facts as I understand them. I believe that the president is a citizen. I believe the president is a Christian. I’ll take him at his word. But, but…
Gregory: But that kind of ignorance about whether he’s a Muslim doesn’t concern you?
Boehner: Listen, the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can’t–it’s not my job to tell them.
Gregory: Why isn’t it your job to stand up and say, “No, the facts are these”?
What Gregory is demanding is that Boehner perform the media’s function. It is the media’s responsibility to bring facts to the public, yet the mainstream media, as well as President Obama, have been truant in settling these questions. As author Stanley Kurtz has demonstrated, Obama is a demonstrated, serial liar on questions of his identity and beliefs — issues that the mainstream media have been unwilling to pursue.
Next: Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin get the birth certificate show trial: