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American Journalism Review article on the media and fringe movements

An article by Paul Farhi in the American Journalism Review, From the Fringe to the Mainstream, explores the role of the media in the rise to fame of fringe players such as Orly Taitz. Farhi asks:

Why does a crank like Taitz rate so much attention in the first place? By her own estimate, Taitz has given more than a thousand interviews to domestic and international news sources over the past two years. Is it any wonder that eight in 10 Americans told the Pew Research Center last year that they were aware of at least some of the birther allegations about Obama?

How should the media handle cranks and conspiracy theorists? Read what one journalist answers.

29 Responses to American Journalism Review article on the media and fringe movements

  1. avatar
    Keith December 3, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    I hope everybody is following the MSM’s coverage of Orly here:

    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/alley-oop#id=/comics/101123/cx_alleyoop_umedia/20102311

  2. avatar
    G December 3, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    Keith: I hope everybody is following the MSM’s coverage of Orly here:http://news.yahoo.com/comics/alley-oop#id=/comics/101123/cx_alleyoop_umedia/20102311

    ROTFLMAO! Wow… That is hilarious!!! Thanks for sharing the Alley Oop version of Orly with us Keith!

  3. avatar
    Keith December 3, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    Hmmm, well yeah, but I hope you can find the beginning of the thread. It started on 23 Nov I think, but it looks like the window of viewable strips has rolled over.

  4. avatar
    Keith December 3, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Should be a summary strip on Sunday.

  5. avatar
    Black Lion December 3, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    Hopefully the last time we hear of “Huff & Puff”….

    “A Sweetwater, Tenn., man who attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of a Monroe County grand jury foreman was sentenced Wednesday to a $3,000 fine, 60 days in jail and a year of probation, said District Attorney General Steve Bebb.

    Walter Fitzpatrick III, 56, was charged with riot, disrupting a meeting of procession, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, retaliation of past action and civil rights intimidation. Bebb said late Wednesday that he wasn’t sure which specific charges he was found guilty of, but did know that Fitzpatrick was found not guilty on at least two.

    One of Fitzpatrick’s supporters, Darren Wesley Huff, 41, of Dalton, Ga., pleaded guilty Wednesday to the charge of disrupting a meeting and was sentenced to six months’ probation, Bebb said.”

    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/dec/02/man-challenging-grand-jury-found-guilty/

  6. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater (Bob Ross) December 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Speaking of fringe. Has anyone ever come across this Black man hates obama guy? What vile rhetoric.

    http://www.amazon.com/tag/barack%20obama/forum/ref=cm_cd_et_up_redir?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx17XU95ZE3WLUZ&cdPage=2&newContentNum=39&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx10TNW712B3O5&displayType=tagsDetail&newContentID=Mx2YHSYK8ZUQ5WR#Mx2R7AXQDEPRJBX

  7. avatar
    JohnC December 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    Frankly, I think the media’s attempt to ignore the festering birther bubble out there is part of the reason why it has lasted so long.

    If an Anderson Cooper had researched the issues and then publicly demolished Orly Taitz, Phil Berg, or Mario Apuzzo back when this “controversy” first took shape some two years ago, the only people left debating this issue would be those you need special permission to visit in a padded cell.

  8. avatar
    ellid December 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    JohnC: Frankly, I think the media’s attempt to ignore the festering birther bubble out there is part of the reason why it has lasted so long.If an Anderson Cooper had researched the issues and then publicly demolished Orly Taitz, Phil Berg, or Mario Apuzzo back when this “controversy” first took shape some two years ago, the only people left debating this issue would be those you need special permission to visit in a padded cell.

    I wonder if Cooper and the rest of the media didn’t debunk this immediately because the President actually released his birth certificate?

  9. avatar
    Steve December 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater (Bob Ross): Speaking of fringe. Has anyone ever come across this Black man hates obama guy? What vile rhetoric.http://www.amazon.com/tag/barack%20obama/forum/ref=cm_cd_et_up_redir?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx17XU95ZE3WLUZ&cdPage=2&newContentNum=39&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx10TNW712B3O5&displayType=tagsDetail&newContentID=Mx2YHSYK8ZUQ5WR#Mx2R7AXQDEPRJBX

    Well, I’ve been on the receiving end of a few of his rants.
    As best I can tell, either I’m much smarter than he is because he makes absolutley no sense or he’s much smarter than I am because I can’t understand what he’s saying.

  10. avatar
    JohnC December 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    ellid: I wonder if Cooper and the rest of the media didn’t debunk this immediately because the President actually released his birth certificate?

    I doubt it. It’s been clear since Obama has been president that there’s a core group of deniers who reject that the COLB (1) is genuine, (2) has any legal or constitutional effect, and/or (3) conclusively establishes the fact that Obama was born in Hawaii.

    Moreover, there’s an overlapping group of people who allege that, regardless of Obama’s birth certificate, he could not be an NBC because of the half-baked theory that the Constitution somehow requires a president have two U.S. citizen parents at the time of his birth, despite extensive case law, contemporary evidence and our common law heritage to the contrary. These people have also been out there throughout Obama’s presidency.

    These deniers have been absurd all along, as we have endlessly pointed out, but they have largely been dismissed by much of the media. This just feeds the right-wing noise machine that equates mainstream disinterest with a sinister plot to victimize and disenfranchise right-wing “patriots.”

    I think the media ought to go out there, and like Anderson Cooper, learn the facts and hit HARD at these fools.

  11. avatar
    aarrgghh December 3, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    now here’s an interesting comment from a self-professed reformed birfer that i suppose you can file away under the category “yes, you can lead a birfer to water, but you can’t make him think …”:

    I was once in the “birther” camp, but no longer.

    It’s a dead end. bam is a full American citizen.

    His father was not bamI, but Frank Marshall Davis, famous communist, society consort, poet, diddler, friend of the adopting family, photographer and youth mentor.

    Consider:
    The cheese-cake photos, online a while back, of bam’s mom. Renaissance man, that Frank, they looked like they were taken in an interstate motel room. Rather intimate, no?

    The reference in one of bams own poetical things, to Frank as “Pop.”

    The comparisons, made here and elsewhere of bams physical attributes to Frank and other candidates to the Pater Familias title. bam is the apple under Frank’s tree.

    Yep, bams a natural born citizen. He’s also a bastard; this is the source of the rage he’s turned on this nation.
    Maybe he’s a narcisist, but bastardy and the psychological scars that result do not preclude this; it may be the cause.

    36 posted on December 3, 2010 8:46:37 AM EST by tsomer

  12. avatar
    AnotherBird December 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    JohnC: I think the media ought to go out there, and like Anderson Cooper, learn the facts and hit HARD at these fools.

    I agree. There are times that the media needs to do more on filtering out the misinformation, and presenting the facts. It was very impressive that Anderson Cooper stayed focused.

  13. avatar
    G December 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    AnotherBird: JohnC: I think the media ought to go out there, and like Anderson Cooper, learn the facts and hit HARD at these fools.

    I agree. There are times that the media needs to do more on filtering out the misinformation, and presenting the facts. It was very impressive that Anderson Cooper stayed focused.

    I agree with both of you.

  14. avatar
    G December 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    JohnC: the only people left debating this issue would be those you need special permission to visit in a padded cell.

    Honestly, with the way birthers debate and the crazy things they say and believe…. I honestly believe that way too many people are out there walking around with severe mental illnesses that need to be addressed. I do feel that a lot of them are beyond just uneducated, misinformed and/or racists and actually are (or at least have become) clinically insane.

  15. avatar
    Majority Will December 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Birthers can pop up anywhere:

    Natural Born Citizen
    December 03, 2010 | 02:23 AM

    Does not mean that both your parents need to be also. It simply means that you must be born on the soil that both your parents are citizens of. This is true in many nations, hence “The Law of Nations” title of the book from where the term was defined.

    The simple fact that Obama admits he was a British subject at birth disqualifies him to become President. If you fully research the issue and use the laws that were in place at the time of his birth you can only come to the conclusion that not only is not a natural born Citizen he was never a citizen of the US. His mother was not old enough to confer citizenship by the laws in place at the time and because his farther was a British subject Obama was born under the jurisdiction of the Crown. His last know citizenship was Indonesian and there is no record of him being naturalized upon his return to the US.

    This is not birther crap, it is the law applied to the facts.

    Greg Goss

    http://www.mauitime.com/Articles-i-2010-12-02-75290.113117-Oahu-Prayer-Protests-and-Birther-Challenges.html

    Anyone care to take him on? This is one of Apusso’s cabana boys.

  16. avatar
    FUTTHESHUCKUP December 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Majority Will: Birthers can pop up anywhere:Natural Born Citizen
    December 03, 2010 | 02:23 AMDoes not mean that both your parents need to be also. It simply means that you must be born on the soil that both your parents are citizens of. This is true in many nations, hence “The Law of Nations” title of the book from where the term was defined.The simple fact that Obama admits he was a British subject at birth disqualifies him to become President. If you fully research the issue and use the laws that were in place at the time of his birth you can only come to the conclusion that not only is not a natural born Citizen he was never a citizen of the US. His mother was not old enough to confer citizenship by the laws in place at the time and because his farther was a British subject Obama was born under the jurisdiction of the Crown. His last know citizenship was Indonesian and there is no record of him being naturalized upon his return to the US.This is not birther crap, it is the law applied to the facts.Greg Gosshttp://www.mauitime.com/Articles-i-2010-12-02-75290.113117-Oahu-Prayer-Protests-and-Birther-Challenges.htmlAnyone care to take him on?This is one of Apusso’s cabana boys.

    .
    Done, but it probably won’t be there long. 🙂

  17. avatar
    Keith December 4, 2010 at 12:49 am #

    FUTTHESHUCKUP:
    .
    Done, but it probably won’t be there long.

    The site doesn’t look like it is from Birferstan, just that unenlightened comment. Your comments should be fine.

  18. avatar
    Majority Will December 4, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    FUTTHESHUCKUP:
    .
    Done, but it probably won’t be there long.

    Well done but he’ll probably move the goalposts with the mom not was old enough fabrication or the Indonesian citizenship memes.

    And I agree with Keith. Maui Time Weekly is an independent local weekly.
    Birfers obviously scan the ‘net looking for web carpet to crap on like some of the trolls who pop up here.

    As AnotherBird said, “There are times that the media needs to do more on filtering out the misinformation, and presenting the facts.”

    Jacob Shafer (jacob@mauitime.com) should take some responsibility and follow up by clarifying the article including correcting the error concerning the Founding Fathers’ eligibility and the grandfather clause and rebutting the birther’s deliberate lies.

    It’s as if they are letting someone into their homes and then do NOTHING while the birther bigot gleefully trashes their living rooms.

  19. avatar
    James M December 4, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    JohnC: These people have also been out there throughout Obama’s presidency.

    How many of these people supported Obama and voted for him once and then became Birthers? How many people who supported and voted for Obama have been persuaded by these people to drop their support?

    Since the answer to both questions is approximately zero, the correct response to the birthers is to ignore them.

  20. avatar
    Slartibartfast December 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    JohnC: These people have also been out there throughout Obama’s presidency.

    And they were out there throughout Clinton’s presidency as well – I think President Obama’s race, ‘muslim-sounding’ name, and the lies and propaganda painting him as a socialist/communist/fascist have inflated this group as well. Add in the Republican tendency to tacitly (or overtly) encourage lies as long as it advances their political ends and the fact that the grownups in the Republican party have been mostly silent for quite a while now and you arrive at where we are – if President Obama had been born to two citizen parents in Kansas the movement to paint him as ineligible would still be there, it would just have different specious claims…

    James M:
    How many of these people supported Obama and voted for him once and then became Birthers?How many people who supported and voted for Obama have been persuaded by these people to drop their support?Since the answer to both questions is approximately zero, the correct response to the birthers is to ignore them.

    I think it would be foolish to believe that un-refuted birther claims couldn’t affect the vote of independents and I don’t think ignoring propaganda makes it go away – in my opinion the correct response to birthers is to slam them down with the facts whenever they surface. If they aren’t opposed they can sound very reasonable to people who aren’t acquainted with the facts…

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    Keith: Hmmm, well yeah, but I hope you can find the beginning of the thread. It started on 23 Nov I think, but it looks like the window of viewable strips has rolled over.

    You can see the Nov 28 summary here:

    http://comics.com/alley_oop/?PerPage=10

  22. avatar
    G December 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Slartibartfast: I think it would be foolish to believe that un-refuted birther claims couldn’t affect the vote of independents and I don’t think ignoring propaganda makes it go away – in my opinion the correct response to birthers is to slam them down with the facts whenever they surface. If they aren’t opposed they can sound very reasonable to people who aren’t acquainted with the facts…

    I completely and fervently agree.

  23. avatar
    Steve December 4, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    G: I completely and fervently agree.

    Bill Maher said basically the same thing last summer.

  24. avatar
    brygenon December 5, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    JohnC: Frankly, I think the media’s attempt to ignore the festering birther bubble out there is part of the reason why it has lasted so long.

    Kooks feed on attention. Letting the fringe into the mainstream is a mistake. The birther stuff lives on the Internet, so that’s the right place to smack it down. Put the debunk as close to the bunk as possible.

    I’ll never forget Barack Obama’s wisdom on dealing with a previous rumor. From a 60 Minutes interview, shown 02 March 2008:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMbgevIuFC8

    Steve Kroft: One of the things we found in Southern Ohio – not widespread, but something that popped up on our radar screen all the time – people talking about it, this idea that you’re a Muslim.

    Barack Obama: Right. Did you correct them, Steve?

    Kroft (smiles): I did correct them.

    Obama (big smile back): There you go.

    Kroft followed up and Obama gave the appropriate answer that the rumor is also an insult to Muslims, but what impressed me was the correct-them-and-move-on response. So level-headed and thick-skinned. That was probably the moment when I switched from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.

  25. avatar
    The Magic M December 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Birthers would probably spin this along the lines of “he avoided denying it expressly”. *sigh*

    I really can’t believe people can be so narrow-mindedly stupid and so inventive at the same time. At least their figureheads must know exactly that they’re wrong.

  26. avatar
    sfjeff December 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

    One of the things Birthers haven’t quite grasped ahold of yet is that if States do require candidates provide place of birth, is that this will be a perfect venue for President Obama to address the issue without addressing the issue.

    He will have Hawaii send a copy of the certificate directly from the state, just as all the other candidates will, and his will look pretty much like all the others, and the States will find themselves accepting all of the certificates.

    And President Obama will have provided proof directly from the State of Hawaii without paying any attention to Birther demands.

    I wonder if Mitt Romney is going to be pre-emptively providing his kindergarten records to proof that he is a natural born citizen?

  27. avatar
    RainMan/blkmanhatesobama01 December 6, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Steve: Well, I’ve been on the receiving end of a few of his rants.As best I can tell, either I’m much smarter than he is because he makes absolutley no sense or he’s much smarter than I am because I can’t understand what he’s saying.

    It’s the latter you fool!

  28. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater (Bob Ross) December 6, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    RainMan/blkmanhatesobama01: It’s the latter, you buffoon!

    wahhhh. Do you have any intelligence to bring to the discussion rantingman or are you just going to continue to make yourself look foolish?