Media Liberals Paint Conservatives as 'Birthers', But First Birthers Were Dems
Their names, in fact, are Linda Starr and Philip Berg, according to John Avalon, author of the new book "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America" (just to clarify, he singles out "wingnuts" on both sides of the aisle). Both were die-hard supporters of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign.
Starr was cited as a source of the false documents that got disgraced CBS correspondent Dan Rather fired. Berg is an aggressive Pennsylvania attorney (and former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General) who filed a lawsuit against former President George W. Bush in 2004 alleging he was complicit in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Despite these revelations, it probably goes without saying that the next time David Shuster claims that "most Republicans" are birthers, the theory's history will go unmentioned.
But perhaps rather than roundly placing the blame on Rush Limbaugh for the birther movement, the New York Times might look into the movement's actual origins.
And the next time the folks at National Public Radio see fit to suggest that all Tea Party protesters are birthers, maybe they should note that the first birthers were in fact Democrats.
According to Avalon, the movement started just after Clinton conceded defeat in race for the Democratic nomination:
...Starr turned her attention to Obama. "I determined that I was going to start digging up every bit of dirt that I could find on him," she told me after I hunted her down in late 2009, "and that hopefully that I would find something against him that would convince the Democratic Party to dump him and make Hillary the nominee."Not when you're a member of the liberal media. For those stalwarts of journalistic integrity, "wingnut" is a term exclusive to the right.
In the first week of August 2008, as the Democrats were getting ready for their convention in Denver, Starr called Philadelphia attorney Philip Berg and offered a challenge. Berg recalled the conversation for me: "She called me up and said, 'Have you heard about Obama not being national born?' I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'Well, now it's for real, and you're the only attorney in the country with brass balls enough to sue Obama.' "…
On August 21, 2008, Berg filed the first Birther lawsuit, requesting an injunction to stop the Democratic Convention from going forward and alleging that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. He faxed notices to the DNC and Obama campaign headquarters, and the next day, he launched the Web site Obamacrimes.com with Starr's assistance. The lawsuit went nowhere...
Of course, the rush to delegitimize Obama once he was elected president fell to wingnut conservatives, who continue to confuse losing an election with living under tyranny. But this new evidence of the conspiracy theory's roots on the far left is a reminder that wingnuts exist in both parties.
Conservatives have been criticized as birthers, and treated as a monolithic movement of conspiracy theorists, all despite the fact that comparable numbers of Democrats believed that the Bush Administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.
One of those Democratic crazies, Avalon reminds us, is partially responsible for the genesis of the birther movement, but this too will almost surely go unreported as liberals in the mainstream media continue (and it's certainly nothing new) to paint the right as not just wrong, but thoroughly crazy.