L.A. Times Imagines Romney Attacks on Obama 'Play On Birther Fears'

The Los Angeles Times freaked out Wednesday about Mitt Romney suggesting Obama’s socialist leanings are somehow un-American. Their tabloidish headline was “Romney campaign's attacks on Obama play on ‘birther’ fears: Mitt Romney says the Obama administration resembles foreign governments, and a chief surrogate for the GOP candidate says the president needs to ‘learn how to be an American.’”

Birther fears? The L.A. Times thinks birthers comprise millions of Republican voters? Times reporter Seema Mehta waited until the very last paragraph to notice President Obama is also using a “birther-fear” line by repeating debunked assertions about Romney being a pioneer of sending American jobs overseas.

Mehta began her article:  "In remarks that played on debunked assertions about President Obama's birthplace, Mitt Romney on Tuesday said that the current administration resembled foreign governments and one of his chief surrogates [former Gov. John Sununu] said the president needed to "learn how to be an American."

The Times seemed intentionally unaware that Romney’s speech was all about the attacks on his alleged record of “outsourcing,” and Romney was making the point that Obama’s government  “investments” in businesses have a record of cronyism, failure, and – outsourcing.

Mehta’s second paragraph painted Romney’s attacks as not tit-for-tat, but as distraction politics, that it “came as Romney tried to change the subject from calls for his tax returns and questions about the length of his tenure at the venture firm Bain Capital. Both issues have fueled sustained attacks from Democrats and even some Romney allies.”

Mehta's story ended by merely recycling Obama's "not-American" rhetoric about Romney: "His main calling card for wanting to be president is his private sector experience," Obama said. "So we asked the voters to examine that experience. He invested — made money investing in companies that had been called 'pioneers' of outsourcing. I don't want pioneers of outsourcing in the White House; I want somebody who believes in in-sourcing. Let's bring those jobs back home. "

This is not the first time Mehta’s articles have been a hot item among liberals. Last December, a Mehta piece including a late quote from Romney about “keeping America American” was transformed into a fact-mangling mess, that Romney was somehow channeling the Ku Klux Klan.

Liberals may not like the idea that conservatives associate free enterprise with America and socialism with western Europe, but that comparison can be made without it being imagined as a birther-baiting strategy.

[Romney-Trump parody image: dailyracingrag.com]

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis