09/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The New Yorker Raises A Toast To Birther Nut Michael Savage

The New Yorker could not have picked a worse time to publish a puff piece about Savage. Arriving on newsstands the same week we learned that 58 percent of Republicans either don't believe or don't know whether Barack Obama was born in America (a rancid conspiracy theory that Savage has peddled for months), and arriving the same week that Fox News' Glenn Beck went on national television and called out the president of the United States a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people," The New Yorker's soft-pedaling of Savage, as well as the larger unhinged right-wing movement to demonize and dehumanize Obama, was just embarrassing. (By the way, in the same article, The New Yorker described Beck as "deftly channeling the defiance and bewilderment of dissident America." I suppose that's one -- softball -- way of putting it.)

Sorry, but in case The New Yorker hadn't noticed from its lofty, literary perch, there's a not-very-subtle movement within the right-wing media to paint Obama as illegitimate (i.e., the Manchurian Candidate) and as a looming threat to our liberties and freedoms. There's also a burgeoning race-baiting movement afoot. And Savage is helping to lead that charge.

If The New Yorker wants to pretend that Savage is merely "weird" and "fun" to have a beer with (the writer and the radio host had "a great time together" according to Sanneh; Savage confirmed on his show that he "liked" the writer), and that liberals ought to chill out and not get so upset about the sewage that Savage dumps into the mainstream, that's The New Yorker's (elitist) choice. But it certainly represents a glaring case of journalism malpractice.

Read the full Media Matters column here.