Taitz's protest against Fox News falls flat

The Birther leader wanted big crowds to chide Bill O'Reilly for dismissing her and her concerns

Published November 11, 2009 9:40PM (EST)

Birther lawyer Orly Taitz hasn't been having a great few months. One federal judge fined her $20,000, another dismissed her best shot at bringing one of her lawsuits about President Obama's eligibility for his job to trial. Her stature in the movement has fallen rapidly, as even the other attorneys involved have become disillusioned with her eccentric tactics and her apparent ignorance of basic legal procedure.

Taitz had another setback on Wednesday. She's been promoting the idea of a protest against Fox News and Bill O'Reilly on her Web site for some time now, hoping -- and promising -- for a large crowd to demonstrate against O'Reilly's having dismissed Birthers' concerns and having called Taitz herself a "nut."

Well, the demonstration took place in front of Fox News' Manhattan headquarters on Wednesday, and it was a fairly spectacular failure. Judging by photos of the protest published by Gawker, Taitz got only a few supporters out to join her. A Fox News employee confirmed that to Salon, saying that a security guard who was present had estimated the crowd at just 15-20 people.

At least a few of those in attendance appear to have been organized by Rev. James David Manning, an eccentric preacher who experienced a brief moment of fame in the hardcore anti-Obama movement for being African American himself but still terming Obama a "long-legged mack daddy."

That may actually rank as among the least offensive things Manning has said about the president, not because it's inoffensive but because the rest is so awful. Take one remark he made about Obama's mother at a Birther press conference held late last year: "It is common knowledge that African men, coming from the continent of Africa -- especially for the first time -- do diligently seek out white women to have sexual intercourse with. Generally the most noble of white society choose not to intercourse sexually with these men. So it's usually the trashier ones who make their determinations that they're going to have sex."

That should give you a pretty good idea of the kinds of people Taitz is working with. But while she appears to be on about her 14th minute, don't count the Birther movement out altogether. With a sizable portion of Republicans either unsure about where Obama was born or believing that he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, the Birthers are bound to experience a resurgence in time for the 2012 campaign -- just don't expect Taitz to be leading them.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Bill O'reilly Birthers Fox News Orly Taitz War Room