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©Jack Cashill - April 15, 2011


n an odd exchange on Thursday, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulous betrayed his roots as a Democratic operative by greasing President Obama’s slide around the birth certificate question.

"I mean all of us have been struck by Donald Trump rising to the top of the Republican field by feeding fantasies about your background,” Stephanopolous asked Obama. “What do you make of that?"

In posing this question, Stephanopolous gave away the game. A real journalist would have said “theories” not “fantasies.” He would have winced at the echo chamber resonance in a phrase like “all of us have been struck.” And he would also have talked to enough Republicans to know that Trump has surged not by stoking paranoia but by asking tough questions.

Playing his own distinctive role in this dumb show, Obama gave an answer that would have satisfied no journalist other than a Stephanopolous.

"I think that over the last two and a half years there's been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans,” the president answered.

“But [it] creates, I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. He-- he doesn't have horns. We're not really worrying about conspiracy theories or--birth certificates."

At this point, a real journalist would have rolled his eyes at the “horns” slur and asked, “Mr. President, are you satisfied that ‘most people’ only feel ‘pretty confident’ about where you were born. You occupy the White House. You promised transparency. Why not assure that all people feel entirely confident by showing your long form birth certificate?”

But of course, Stephanopolous is not a real journalist. He asked no such question. Instead, he deluded himself and his co-host with the claim that “Obama grabbed at the chance [to talk about this issue] with a big smile - saying he thinks the whole issue will be a problem for Republicans.”

And my wife wonders why I watch ESPN in the morning!

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Editor's note: For a more complete account of this phenomenon, read Jack Cashill's amazing new book, "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture.


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