No matter what you think, today is not a wasteland of slow news. The Government is having its most thorough health care discussion ever witnessed, the climate is doing all sorts of strange things (summer has yet to arrive here in the city of New York), and Michael Vick is once again a free man. And playing.
Still, the lazy media finds ways to report on possibly the most asinine "story" (loosely used) of this young millennium: that a small number of those who call themselves "patriots" continue to argue that President Obama is not an American citizen and therefore his presidency is unconstitutional.
I am unsure what is crazier: that people believe this tripe, or that news nets still give these birthers air time?
Yet some are continuing to argue (with a straight face while wasting our time) that the Chief was born somewhere other than State #50 despite overwhelming contrary evidence.
On his July 15 show, CNN's orange-haired guru Lewie Dobbs devoted significant time to talking about the president's birth certificate on an unedited hour-long wackjob. The State of Hawaii provided Obama's certif to the fine people at the University of Pennsylvania's political clearinghouse factcheck.org. Dobbs called that certificate "peculiar," and demanded the long-form certificate for some reason that he didn't feel necessary to explain. After spouting various looney tunes, Dobbs behaved like an irresponsible believer during an obvious ratings-chaser.
Finally, this week Jonathan Klein, CNN's US chief and a former client of mine (at TheFeedroom.com) had to email the Dobbs show's staff, telling them that they were nuts. Imagine: a network head not wanting viewers to think that his people were reporting what is essentially "fake" news. Good for you, Jon. But why did it take you two weeks when the birthers' claims were debunked well before the 08 election? Right... A combo of politics and hoping this would lift you above Fox once more.
The point is in no way trivial: So long as there are floating conspiracy theories, TV programmers expect people will want to hear about them. It's the nature of a few beasts.
Responsible news networks owe it to us not to repeat things that are obviously stupid. CNN dropped a ball by allowing Dobbs (also, not as proudly as Klein, a client when he ran Space.com 10 years ago) to become a champion of meritless theories with no basis in reality. It is baseless, it is wrong, and it's yellow.
No wonder comedian Jon Stewart is the most trusted newsman in America.
That's the way it is.