When the Conspiracy Theory Becomes the Conspiracy Theory

It looks like the Birther conspiracy theory might be turning a corner.  No, it is not going away but rather the entire issue is now being held up by people on the Right as evidence of a plot by the media and President Obama to marginalize conservatives.

Earlier this week, Bill Pascoe, the man “whose idea it was to recruit Alan Keyes to run” against Barack Obama in Illinois, wrote in CQ that all the attention suddenly being paid to the Birthers was part of a media ploy to discredit the conservative movement:

Is this anything but a gift to the Democrats?

Am I the only one to notice that mainstream media attention to the “Birthers” has picked up in recent weeks — and that this increased attention is coincident to the turn in Obama’s approval ratings?

A search of The Washington Post web site, for instance, on the term “Birther” yields as its oldest hit this one from July 6; a search of The New York Times, though, shows one June reference in passing and then the first real mention of the term on July 22.

Far be it from me to assume one is the cause of the other — as faithful readers know, I do my best to avoid falling into the post hoc, ergo propter hoc trap — but, still, it is an interesting coincidence.

Coincident or not, it is eating up valuable air time and gobbling up precious inches of type that could, and should, be devoted to other, more pressing, matters — like the self-immolation of the Democratic Party, as it struggles to find a way to reform the health care delivery system without destroying it.

Reasonable and responsible conservatives, thus, are stuck. We are being lumped in with irresponsible and unreasonable conspiracy theorists.

But to others, like Bernard Goldberg and Bill O’Reilly, the Birthers’ prominence is not just the work of the media, but rather is something that is being orchestrated directly out of the White House:

Goldberg: I have a theory. And the theory is this: That the Chicago Mafia inside the White House want to keep this crazy controversy going. Because the longer it goes, the better the chance that they will conflate the crazy right-wing fringe with regular conservatives and regular Republicans.

O’Reilly: That’s not a bad theory.

A word of advice to Golberg and Pascoe:  if you want to avoid being conflated with the crazy right-wing fringe and being lumped in with irresponsible and unreasonable conspiracy theorists, then it is probably best not start spewing crazy theories about how the media and the White House are engaged in a massive conspiracy to paint you as crazy right-wing conspiracy theorists.