Ward: Inflexible realityWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | email@example.com
When President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was released April 27, it was not difficult to predict what would happen next.
Those who already believed the president was born in the United States would continue to do so — and those who did not? They’d find reasons to not believe it.
We witnessed the same behavior after Al Gore was defeated in 2000. There were those who stuck with the belief that the election was stolen and that George Bush was not the rightful president.
No matter how much documentation or facts are presented, there will always be a part of our society that will ignore whatever does not meet what they want to believe.
Media is blamed for protecting President Obama, with some focusing on “liberal media bias” — with many appearing to forget that not long ago, the media was accused of protecting former President Bush.
“Bush Lies, Media Swallows” was written by Eric Alterman in the Nov. 25, 2002 edition of The Nation. Alterman said giving presidents and their administrations a pass on the truth was nothing new, though he said some media sources made an exception when it came to calling former President Clinton a liar:
“Isn’t it worse to refer ‘repeatedly to intelligence … that remains largely unverified’ — as The Wall Street Journal puts it — in order to trick the nation into war, as Bush and other top U.S. officials have done, than to lie about a blowjob?”
In the Sept./Oct. 2008 Mother Jones, David Corn wrote, “After W, Will the Press Get a Spine?” Corn raised some of the same concerns Alterman had several years earlier.
Both men also cited a 1997 quote by Ben Bradlee, when he was executive editor of The Washington Post: “Even the very best newspapers have never learned how to handle public figures who lie with a straight face.”
Corn wrote, “Also in the Times, James Traub — while acknowledging that Bush had served up “quite a few actual fibs” — observed, “The sudden rash of jeremiads and their stunning popularity raises a question: Why are so many liberals, including sane and sober ones, granting themselves permission to hate the president?”
In Time, James Poniewozik bemoaned “the rise of the anger industry.” Going further, columnist David Brooks warned that “The core threat to democracy is not in the White House, it’s the haters.”
April 27, Joan Walsh wrote on Salon.com, “I worry that bowing to bullying rewards bullies, and this paranoid, vicious faction in American politics, the one that says a black president has to show extra papers, extra credentials to be accepted, will never be satisfied.”
Whether you call them haters or a paranoid vicious faction, it’s based more on politics than race. I disagree with those who say the birth certificate saga would not exist if Obama were white. The only way it wouldn’t have happened were if he were a Republican, at least as far as who’s making it an issue.
It’s a proven pattern of behavior from some elements of our society who angrily oppose those who they feel are different. Not just different based on race, different based on how they perceive the other person’s political ideology.
What should be concerning is despite a number of credible sources confirming — before Obama was even elected president — that he was born in the United States, between 15 and 25 percent of those polled either ignored the facts or didn’t believe the media.
Pew Research reported March 31 that only about 4-in-10 are able to correctly identify John Boehner as House speaker; 19 percent say incorrectly that Nancy Pelosi is still speaker of the House and only 38 percent correctly say that Republicans hold a majority of seats in the House.
Nearly seven in 10 Americans in 2003 that were polled believed Saddam Hussein had something to do with the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, despite there being no confirmed connection.
While the media can do a better job, some of the responsibility lays with the public.
The inflexible reality is we’ve been here before as far as anger, hatred, vitriol and believing misinformation — that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
Toledo Free Press Web Editor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog GlassCityJungle.com.