I was thinking the other day about how the fringe conspiracy theory garbage is so mainstream in the republican/conservative movement, and figured I would see how much of the blame for that nonsense actually sticks to fox news and the republican party directly.
Whacked out conspiracy theory #1: Obama is or “might be” the anti-christ:
“Anointed one” is a biblical reference to the antichrist, and it is one of the favorite titles for obama by the right. “Anointed” and “obama” appear on the same page on the fox news website over six hundred times, many of them from transcripts from their primetime shows. And who could forget this mccain tv ad with barely veiled references to the anti-christ and the “left behind” book series. So in this instance the mainstream is actively promoting the conspiracy theory.
Whacked out conspiracy theory #2: Obama isn’t a US citizen:
This time there are well over a thousand references to “birth certificate” and “obama” on the fox news website, and most of of the ones I see seem to be suggesting something sinister. For those who don’t know, obama released his birth certificate during the campaign immediately upon request, this is a non-story.
Whacked out conspiracy theory #3: Obama is not christian, or is a “secret muslim”:
Obama’s gone to church for the last few decades, I think that solidifies him as some sort of christian or other. But fox news, limbaugh etc continously insinuate he isn’t christian and this conspiracy theory likely originated with fox news which repeated the claim that obama was raised muslim and attended a “madrassa”. Madrassa, which to western ears sounds like “muslim terrorist training camp” is actually just the arabic word for “school” and does not imply that the school is religious or secular. They just use the arabic word to make it sound foreign and sinister and scary to their viewers.
Most of the time though they just talk about obama and islam together in a “wink wink” sort of way. I mean bush invaded two muslim countries and had an administration more than twice as long as the current president, yet the words bush and islam only appear on the same page on the fox news website a little over a thousand times (link). But obama and islam appear on the same page on the fox news website almost seven thousand times. “Bush” and “muslim” appear on the same page about 2500 times (link), but obama and muslim appear about 8500 times.
A conservative website polled their members and asked who the most important, influential conservative pundits were. These are the results:
- Rush Limbaugh: 41%
Refers to the president as “Imam Obama”. No further comment really needed there.
- Glenn Beck: 33%
Suggested on his tv show that Michelle Obama went to spain so she could visit a famous mosque and deliver “secret” messages to muslims.
- Charles Krauthammer: 29%
As far as I can tell he’s been silent on the issue.
- Bill O’Reilly: 24%
Insists repeatedly that obama is a secret atheist.
- Sean Hannity: 21%
One of the worst offenders in terms of veiled antichrist references, also twists any comment obama makes about islam into an anti-christian/pro-muslim statement, like turning his observation that we have one of the largest muslim populations in the world into “we are no longer a christian nation, but a muslim nation” etc. Tons of veiled bullshit, look it up.
- Newt Gingrich: 16%
Characterized obama defending the rights of muslims to build a mosque in new york as “pandering to radical Islam.”
- Michelle Malkin: 16%
Insinuated that obama was somehow siding with muslims over christians because a statement acknowledged that both muslims and christians were injured in a suicide bombing (link).
- Mike Huckabee: 13%
The only one I can find on the list so far that actually spoke out against the “obama is a muslim” conspiracy theories. Kudos huckabee.
- Ann Coulter: 13%
Refers to him as “president Hussein” and “B. Hussein Obama”, and recently at CPAC (the big conservative conference where all the republican presidential hopefuls give speeches) she said he should look into becoming president of egypt because there they won’t mind him being a muslim. (This and other accusations about his birth certificate were applause lines). These comments were after she wrote an article entitled “obama is not a muslim” bashing him as an atheist. So the award for two-faced racist hypocrite goes to…
- George Will: 13%
Can’t find anything from him one way or the other.
So yeah, based on a quick google search, of the most mainstream, important, influential conservative pundits (according to at least one group of conservatives), the bulk of them explicitly attack his faith or try to negatively associate him with islam, atheism etc. Which is itself a form of bigotry, like calling someone a jew as an accusation.
These conspiracy theories are definitely being promoted by the mainstream establishment, though often in a “wink wink nudge nudge” sort of way. The only left wing conspiracy theory that got even a little mainstream was the idea that bush might have let 9/11 happen or (for the even more paranoid) had a hand in planning it. And I don’t recall that conspiracy theory being promoted at all by the left wing media. In fact the conspiracy theory got as popular as it did because of videos circulating on the internet which didn’t get debunked for a long time because the mainstream media wasn’t talking about the conspiracy theories.
But yeah, any mainstream conservative conspiracy theories I’m missing?