Media's Coverage of 'Birthers' Greatly Outweighs Van Jones Coverage

September 5th, 2009 12:12 PM

The contrast between the virtual silence of major news outlets on Green Jobs Czar Van Jones’s belief in the Bush Administration’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks and the hubbub made about those who believe the President is not an American citizen casts light on the politicized attitudes of the mainstream media.

NewsBusters has noted how the story has been ignored by the television media. Byron York in the Washington Examiner Friday noted that a Nexis news search for the Van Jones ‘truther’ controversy turns up exactly zero results from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and transcripts from ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, and CBS Evening News (though that newscast aired a full story Friday night).

So, as York noted, anyone who gets his or her news from one of these sources, or all five, is unaware that the President’s Green Jobs Czar is not only a self-avowed communist but also a supporter of the truther movement, which means he believes that the Bush Administration was complicit in—even orchestrated—the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Out of curiosity, I entered the search term ‘birther’ in Nexis, and, lo and behold, got 25 results from the same five news outlets.

Some of them displayed insidious, if predicable, headlines such as “In America, Crazies are a Preexisting Condition” (Washington Post, 8/16), and “The Town Hall Mob” (New York Times, 8/7).

These news sources, like much of the mainstream media, are ignoring the obvious similarities between the birther and truther movements. Or, more accurately, they are ignoring the presence of the latter, and shouting about the former.

Even when such a high-ranking administration official is outed as a wacko conspiracy theorist, the MSM does not see it fit to cover. Contrast this trend with the extensive coverage garnered by supposed birthers in Congress.

“The ranks of birthers in Congress seem to be growing,” wrote Gabriel Winant on in July. Winant went on to accuse 17 Republican lawmakers of ascribing to the birther movement.

Winant bashed Sen. Jim Inhofe, Okla., for refusing to “discourage” birthers, and saying that they “have a point.” Inhofe’s doubts along with his skepticism of global warming, earned him the label, in Winant’s words, of “[p]robably the know-nothingest member of the Senate.”

The liberal media reserved no such derision, however, for former-Rep. Cynthia McKinney, an ascribed truther whose name appears on the same infamous petition as Van Jones’s. Little to-do was made about Rep. William Lacy Clay’s, D-Mo., comment about McKinney’s position that he was “curious as to whether it will reveal what Congresswoman McKinney has stated. I'm interested. I'm interested in an investigation.”

The Houston Chronicle chided five Texas lawmakers who signed on to Rep. Bill Posey’s, Fla., ‘birther bill’ (H.R. 1503), saying their support “lends credence to what some dismiss as a fringe movement fanned by unsubstantiated rumors swirling on the Internet.”

But neither Hillary Clinton’s infamous “Bush knew” speech nor the claims of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, that the Bush Administration “knew something was going to happen and they didn’t act” were dismissed outright as stoking the fires of conspiracy theory.

The lack of coverage of the Van Jones controversy by major media outlets is but another example of a string of journalistic malfeasance that cries foul when Republicans voice anything short of outright condemnation of the birther movement, yet remains silent when liberals suggest, or flatly claim, that the previous administration orchestrated the slaughter of thousands of American civilians.