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Palin Headlines Birther Conference; Press Pretends Not To Notice

04/11/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Virtually nobody in the corporate media said boo about Sarah Palin appearing on the same Tea Party stage as birther nut Joseph Farah, and helping him legitimize his creepy crusade. Palin was given a total free ride.

And I mean nobody. According to Nexis, there were more than 150 newspaper articles and columns published in the U.S. last week that mentioned both Palin and the Tea Party. (Combined, The New York Times and The Washington Post published 18 of them.) Yet out of all those articles and columns, exactly two also mentioned Joseph Farah by name. (Congrats to the Philadelphia Daily News and New Hampshire's Concord Monitor.)

And keep in mind that lots of scribes, even after listening to Farah's primtetime rambling rant, filed dispatches from Nashville stressing how mellow and mainstream the Tea Party convention was turning out to be. According to the Washington Post, the mood at the Nashville confab was "festive, even giddy." And no, not a single word in the Post dispatch mentioned Farah's high-profile birther harangue.

Bottom line: The birther movement embarrasses most conservatives. Yet even when they invite a birther nut to speak at their conference, the press still won't ask tough questions. Instead, journalists politely look away.

It didn't used to work that way. There's been a long media tradition of holding politicians accountable for their public associations, especially when they appear at conventions that feature fringe rhetoric from controversial speakers. Reporting on who politicians agree to share a stage with has always been considered not only fair game, but genuinely newsworthy.

It's just that in this instance, the press gave Palin a complete and unobstructed free ride.

Read the entire Media Matters column here.

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