President Obama Tells Untruth in Birth Certificate Press Briefing

By Nick Gass

Apr 27, 2011 1:06pm

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports:

The president said he was prompted to act “two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week the dominant news story wasn’t about these huge, monumental choices that we’re going to have to make as a nation. It was about my birth certificate. And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here.”

But the president was wrong.

According to Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, that week the dominant news story was without question the economy.

The ridiculous claims about the president’s birth certificate actually was the No. 4 story for the week – receiving about one tenth of the coverage devoted to stories about the economy.

According to Pew’s PEJ: “Hardly dipping from the previous week’s level of 40%, news about the economy was the top story in all media sectors studied, from cable TV to the Internet. And the particularly high level of coverage in cable (53%) and radio (52%), two politics-heavy platforms, indicated just how politically loaded the debate about federal spending was. 

“Much of the coverage consisted of analysis of the speech Wednesday by President Obama, one that based on listening to many press accounts renewed support for the President among much of his liberal base. Obama was also the dominant newsmaker in 13% of stories—double that of the previous week—a bigger share than any week since January 24-30, when Obama gave the State of the Union. (To be a dominant newsmaker, someone must be featured in at least 50% of a story.)

“The jockeying for message control between an Obama-led rally to protect entitlement programs versus a Republican attempt to privatize them underscored the key subtext of last week’s federal spending debate—the 2012 presidential election.

“The week was also marked by another sign that the media are gearing up for the campaign—rumors about Obama’s national origin resurfaced, this time from tycoon Donald Trump, a potential GOP contender for the presidential nomination. These questions made up much of the coverage that focused on the Obama administration, a topic that accounted for another 4% of the newshole.”

As for which newsmaker received the most coverage, here, too, the president seemed to have a skewed perspective.

Again, Pew’s PEJ: “There was no question that Barack Obama loomed as the key newsmaker last week, mostly due to his nationally televised speech. That marked a change from recent weeks, including several where Obama was not the top newsmaker (Col. Gadaffi was the top newsmaker during the weeks of February 21-27 and February 28-March 6).

“The No. 2 newsmaker last week, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, was a key figure in 2% of stories—the first time he ranked among the top five newsmakers since the week of February 7-13, when Mubarak left power in Egypt. Mubarak was hospitalized after experiencing a heart attack.

“Next was Paul Ryan, at 1% of all stories. Ryan’s budget was passed by the House of Representatives at the end of the week, effectively anointing it as the official negotiation starting point of the GOP for the ongoing debate over federal spending.

“At No. 4 was Donald Trump, whose potential candidacy got a boost from his perseverance in insisting there were troubling questions to be answered about Obama’s citizenship.”

-Jake Tapper

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