As President Obama's approval numbers continue to spiral downward, the left has purposefully tried to tie the increasingly popular small government conservative movement to the largely fringe "birthers". In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a birther. I happen to believe that President Obama was born in Hawaii and was therefore eligible to be sworn in as President of the United States on inauguration day. That being said, I can't help but feel a little bit of sympathy for the birthers. Ultimately, the rise of the birther movement is the fault of a deficit of curiosity about Barack Obama on the part of the media.
As a result of his lack of experience in both the private and public sectors, coupled with his relative youth, President Obama's personal records are extremely thin. There are huge gaps in what we know about Barack Obama, whereas previous presidents have been open books. The media normally seems to revel in uncovering the seedy and controversial side of every political figure, but they have never exhibited the same interest in President Obama. Every president has had embarrassing issues arise from their past, but President Obama's level of secrecy, meant to maintain his squeaky clean veneer, only serves to fuel speculation.
Since day one Barack Obama has maintained an extreme amount of control over his image. One of the most important elements of that image has been the narrative of his past. To this end Mr. Obama has written two book that serve as the primary basis for this narrative. The media, whose very purpose is to be inquisitive, seems all too willing to accept it without question. Both Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of hope received scant scrutiny or fact checking. For comparison, the Associated Press devoted 11 reporters to pore over every word of Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.
Another example of the difference in inquisitiveness that the media has shown for this president as opposed to previous ones can be seen by the 2004 investigation of President George W. Bush's military records. The search for dirt on President Bush was so fevered that some seemed willing to throw journalistic standards to the wind in pursuit of something that would stick. Distinguished careers were destroyed in the attempt to uncover details about President Bush’s past.