The Twin Falls Times-News, hardly a haven of liberal thought, has sponsored a series of blogs for nearly a year. Initially, three blogs were created offering three distinct styles and ideologies, one for progressives, one for conservatives, and one for moderates, albeit moderate conservatives. As time has passed, the progressive blog has been, well, progressive and pro-Obama to the point that moderate progressives are turned off by it; the moderate blog has become a thought-provoking, well-written testament to the independent nature of Idahoans; and, the conservative blog has become the go-to for the conspiracy theory believing right-wingers otherwise known as birthers. Yes, those people you hear about and see on the news ranting at town hall meetings about the citizenship of our president really do exist.
Perhaps the political ideology of Tom Young, author of Conservative Corner, should have been immediately apparent when he stated in his blog bio that he isn't a Republican, he is a conservative. That is to say, Tom Young believes in conservative values that are more conservative than mainstream Republicans are willing to embrace. What kind of beliefs? The kind that boil down to believing that the President of the United States is not legitimately the President of the United States because he's not an actual citizen. Yes folks, we have ourselves a real, live birther.
Birthers, or those who believe as Mr. Young does, aren't being laughed-off as most conspiracy theorists traditionally are. Birthers are finding their views tolerated by conservatives, if not the Republican party and not only are their views being tolerated, they've found a voice that is leading their theories right into the mainstream. That voice happens to be a graduate from Minico High School, right here in Idaho, Rupert to be exact. Lou Dobbs, the anti-immigration, talking head on CNN, has long been a voice that has spread xenophobic fear on the national stage. His all out hatred for Hispanics may have been shaped right here in Idaho. And it is Lou Dobbs who is mainstreaming the likes of Jerome Corsi, G. Gordon Liddy (who was recently on Hardball with Chris Matthews and said that Obama was born in Mombasa), Liz Cheney, and the countless fringe-dwellers who continue to believe that President Obama is not an American citizen.
It may not just be Lou Dobbs at CNN who subscribes to this misguided belief that the birth certificate issued by the state of Hawaii is forged or otherwise illegitimate. And analysts at Fox News, including Glenn Beck (who has a show on Fox as well as Headline News) have outright accused the state of Hawaii of throwing out documents related to Obama's birth.
Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs have a substantial following in Idaho. Dobbs has the Idaho connection working for him as well as his blatantly hateful anti-immigration opinions that are shared by many rural Idahoans. Glenn Beck's conservatism and faith play well to audiences in Idaho, especially southern Idaho where the population is largely Mormon (a faith Beck, who was raised Catholic, converted to). About a year ago when Glenn Beck was in Pocatello for a book signing at Deseret Book in the Pine Ridge Mall, a lengthy line of people formed hours before Beck even arrived. He once spoke to the now defunct College Republicans at BYU-Idaho in Rexburg and just this month, Glenn Beck was the headliner at a fundraiser for Idaho Falls area police and firefighters. He is always well received here in Idaho, despite his growing instability and on-air antics. It should come as no surprise that Idahoans like Tom Young are just as gung-ho about Obama's birth as are Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck.
Two posts are currently atop the front page at Tom Young's Conservative Corner. "CNN vs. Hawaii" and "Fiboma" are simply the latest of Young's attempts to convince his readership that Obama was merely raised in Hawaii and was actually born in Kenya, therefore disqualifying him for the presidency. In the past, he has pointed to news from what he calls the "eligibility front" and only one area resident, Rudy Castro, has even attempted to take Young to task for facilitating this lie. Certainly Mr. Young has a right to his beliefs and has the same freedom of speech that all of us share, but the Times-News as the home of his blog, should have a responsibility to the truth and clearly by allowing Mr. Young to post article after article spreading these lies about Obama's citizenship, they are neglecting their responsibility to the public and the truth.
Tom Young isn't the only Idahoan with an outlet to share this birther paranoia, in fact he isn't the only resident of the Magic Valley spewing these falsehoods. Steve Mitton, a radio personality in the Magic Valley and a colleague of none other than Zeb Bell, has devoted a great deal of time and attention on his own blog to this birther nonsense. Surely he is devoting some of his radio show to the cause as well. Birthers are alive and well in southern Idaho and as long as the Times-News and Lee Family Broadcasting (owners of KBAR, the station that broadcasts Mitton's show) allow it, they are here to stay.