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By Scott Whitlock | April 28, 2011 | 12:00 PM EDT

After Barack Obama bitterly complained that the "birther" issue dominated the news instead of budget matters in recent weeks, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper on Wednesday exposed an "untruth" by the President online, but skipped the same information while reporting for World News. In his Political Punch blog, Tapper noted the falsity of Obama's claim that the media was aiding and comforting conservative conspiracy theorists.

In a White House speech, Wednesday, the President asserted that the birth certificate became the "dominant news story" during the budget battle, saying that was "true on most of the news outlets that were represented here." Online, Tapper labeled this an "untruth" and "wrong."

Citing a new Pew study, the journalist noted, "The ridiculous claims about the president’s birth certificate actually was the No. 4 story for the week – receiving about one tenth of the coverage devoted to stories about the economy." Yet, on World News, Tapper simply repeated the President's "untruth" without correction.

By Lachlan Markay | April 28, 2011 | 11:29 AM EDT

President Obama chided the news media Wednesday for continuing to focus national attention on the non-issue of his American citizenship. "Fascinating how many of Obama's birther remarks…were aimed at the media for stoking this," tweeted Howard Kurtz shortly after the speech.

The birth certificate issue was a distraction, Obama stated, and the White House decision to release his long-form birth certificate was an attempt to re-focus national attention on the important issues, specifically his budget proposal. But which media outlets were most guilty of sustaining attention on the issue? On cable news, at least, the answer runs contrary to the usual media narrative.

As it turns out, one was 35 times more likely to hear about the birther issue on CNN or MSNBC than on Fox News during the week of April 11 through 17, when Obama was touting his budget. The cable network most often railed against as the birther-enabler was least likely - by far - to even mention the issue.

By Ken Shepherd | April 28, 2011 | 10:15 AM EDT

Left-wing storylines generally are not box-office blockbusters, yet Hollywood liberals insist on making message movies anyway.

The same is true, and has been for decades, for comic books.

The latest example involves the quintessential American superhero, Superman (h/t e-mail tipster John Craig).

By Clay Waters | April 28, 2011 | 10:00 AM EDT

Classified dossiers of detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison released by Wikileaks were naturally splashed on the front of Monday’s New York Times, which had editorialized in strong terms for the closing of the Cuba prison. Reporters Charlie Savage, William Glaberson, and Andrew Lehren filed “Details of Lives in an American Limbo.”

(In February 2009, Glaberson let two hard-left groups he called "human rights groups" ridicule a Pentagon report saying there was no mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay.)

From Monday's lead story:

A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.

Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.

By P.J. Gladnick | April 28, 2011 | 9:58 AM EDT

Dismal economic growth. 

It's hard to be upbeat about that but since it occurred during a Democrat administration, Reuters does its best to accentuate whatever positive it can find in its report. First the downbeat news as relayed by Reuters reporter Lucia Mutikani:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth slowed more than expected in the first quarter as higher food and gasoline prices dampened consumer spending, and sent a broad measure of inflation rising at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years.

And now the first of several Reuters exercises in excuse making:

But the pull back in output, which was also the result of harsh winter weather, a widening trade gap as well as weak government spending, will probably be fleeting given a firming labor market.

By Noel Sheppard | April 28, 2011 | 9:48 AM EDT

If you ask Al Sharpton if something is racist, what are the chances he's going to say yes?

On Wednesday's "Ed Show," the host asked the civil rights leader, "If this had been a white president, would we be seeking his birth certificate the way they have been doing this on President Obama?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By NB Staff | April 28, 2011 | 9:28 AM EDT

Over the past few days the chatter about a potential presidential run by Rep. Paul Ryan has really heated up. Over at the Huffington Post, Jon Ward reports that RNC chair Reince Preibus - like Ryan, a Wisconsin native - might be put in an akward position give his closeness to the Budget Committee chairman, and has thus been testing the waters of a potential Ryan candidacy. At Reuters, James Pethokoukis offers some reasons that a Ryan candidacy may be in the cards:

By Tim Graham | April 28, 2011 | 7:06 AM EDT

Justin Farmer is a reporter for Atlanta's WSB-TV, and he's exactly the kind of local-news reporter Barack Obama's been looking for -- the kind that's too star-struck to be objective. Farmer talked of Obama with the traditional media tingles on the station website (since removed, but preserved by Politico): " I took in the man himself, this man, President Barack Obama. Regardless of one’s political leanings, there’s no doubt this is a gifted and complex man. Think about what he ponders in any given day?”

Farmer also boasted that while Obama is shifting into reelection mode, he was “carefully chosen by the administration, along with a few others, to take his talking points back to Atlanta.” Being happy you were "carefully chosen" to carry talking points? That's the line most editors might want to unpublish.

Politico noted it was quite a contrast to Brad Watson of Dallas angering the president by asking why he was so unpopular in Texas. But wait, there's more:

By Noel Sheppard | April 27, 2011 | 10:25 PM EDT

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell abruptly ended an interview with queen birther Orly Taitz Wednesday after screaming at her for several minutes.

Things turned ugly when "The Last Word" host refused to allow his guest to discuss President Obama's Selective Service certificate and Taitz responded by saying, "Your program is nothing but Obama propaganda machine" (video follows with commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | April 27, 2011 | 9:08 PM EDT

CBS's Bob Schieffer said Wednesday that Donald Trump is racist because he wants to see Barack Obama's college grades.

Such was told to Katie Couric on the "Evening News" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):

By Jack Coleman | April 27, 2011 | 8:05 PM EDT

(Updated with video clips of Kenosha, Wisc., town hall forum provided by Congressman Ryan's press office; links to clips after end of post)

By Tom Blumer | April 27, 2011 | 7:58 PM EDT

Gosh, after Republican Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich succeeded in championing legislation curtailing many collective bargaining rights of unionized state and municipal employees in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, the establishment press had the meme all set. The GOP, conservatives, and Tea Partiers are enemies of labor and the middle class, while Democrats, liberals, and progressives are their champions.

Then along comes bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, the Bay State's House "voted overwhelmingly last night (Tuesday) to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns." It's not a law yet, but it seems to be heading pretty quickly in that direction.

The Associated Press's beat reporters and editors must be beside themselves. 

By Matthew Balan | April 27, 2011 | 5:51 PM EDT

CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.

News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."

By Matt Hadro | April 27, 2011 | 3:56 PM EDT

CNN's Deborah Feyerick took the offensive Tuesday and emphasized the negative effects of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's cuts to education funding. Feyerick highlighted the plight of an illiterate kindergartner from a "high risk" neighborhood as an example of student who could be affected by budget cuts. The segment ran during the 8 a.m. EDT hour of Tuesday's "American Morning" on CNN.

CNN featured a young girl from a "high risk" school district, who needs a literacy tutor to ensure she can read at her classmates' level. CNN then aired Trenton Public School superintendent Raymond Broach's dour reaction to the $12 million cut from the district's budget last year. "You've just made that race for some learners almost next to impossible," he told CNN.

(Video after the break.)


By Clay Waters | April 27, 2011 | 3:15 PM EDT

Paul Krugman, economist turned left-wing folk hero. New York magazine’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells talked with the once respected-economist turned hack New York Times columnist about “What’s Left of the Left,” a title which at least positions Krugman accurately as a left-wing opinion leader who draws cool economics graphs that prove the perfidy of Republican policy (whether or not he once agreed with those same policies). Krugman continued to bash Rep. Paul Ryan as setting American "on a glide path to a much harsher society."

For the first two years of the Obama administration, Krugman has been building, in his columns and on his blog, not just a critique of this presidency but something grander and more expansively detailed, something closer to an alternate architecture for what Obamaism might be. The project has remade Krugman’s public image, as if he had spent years becoming a chemically isolate form of himself – first a moderate, then an anti-Bush partisan, and now the leading exponent of a kind of liberal purism against which the compromises of the White House might be judged. Krugman’s counterfactual Obama would have provided far more stimulus money and would have nationalized Citigroup and Bank of America. He would have written off Republicans and worked only with Democrats to fashion a health-care reform bill that included a so-called public option. The president of Krugman’s dreams would have made his singular long-term goal the preservation of the welfare state and the middle-class society it was designed to create.