Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at 5:12 PM
Andrew Sullivan calls me out for my belief that the media might not be demanding Trig Palin's birther certificate because it's a non-story.
I have no evidence that these stories have been "flogged to death" by reporters. Does Weigel? Pray tell. Who? For what outlet? He's a reporter and he admits he never bothered to look into this - because the Democrats hadn't made it an issue!
It didn't take much flogging where Trig Palin was concerned. Reporters in Alaska asked her about the rumors when they began in early 2008. Reporters who discovered Palin after she was picked for the GOP ticket investigated them. The Anchorage Daily News investigated them again after the 2008 election. True: They did not publish breathless updates on the paydirt they weren't hitting. But they published short debunkings from time to time. Because Palin stopped holding public office in the summer of 2009, and because the stakes were so low, this stuff never really took off.
Birtherism took off because the stakes of removing a president are pretty high, and there have been plenty of lawsuits on the subject and endorsements from Republican office holders. Now -- did I just admit that I paid more attention to birtherism, in part, because some Republicans made an issue out of it? Sure, that was part of it. You need some impetus for investigating rumors.