CNN, Fox News and the birthers

Suddenly, the leaders of the birther movement are getting airtime on cable news

Published July 20, 2009 7:15PM (EDT)

The birthers -- those people who believe President Obama is not a natural-born citizen and thus is ineligible for his post -- have gone mainstream. Or, more accurately, CNN and Fox News have mainstreamed them.

CNN had two of the leaders of the birther movement -- perennial candidate Alan Keyes, and his rather eccentric attorney, Orly Taitz -- on Lou Dobbs' show Friday night. That decision doesn't reflect well on CNN, but to its credit, (and almost certainly because Dobbs himself wasn't hosting) Kitty Pilgrim, who did the interview, was pretty tough on Keyes and Taitz. If Dobbs had been there, the situation might well have been different: He had the two on his radio show last week, and played the exceedingly credulous interviewer, almost never challenging them and accepting even some of their most ludicrous allegations.

Fox News is, at least, still not bringing the birthers themselves on. But that's about all you can say for the network and for one of its stars, Sean Hannity. Last week, he did a short segment on one short-lived birther lawsuit, also involving Taitz, and fell hook, line and sinker for Taitz's spin of the case. Turns out she was, as always, completely wrong.

Video of both segments is below.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

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Birthers Cnn Lou Dobbs Orly Taitz War Room