Reporting for FoxNews.com, Cristina Corbin writes that tea party rallies have “attracted the kinds of mistruths, exaggerations and conspiracy theories that make Tea Party leaders cringe.” Corbin notes that many tea partiers believe the conspiracy that Obama “is a secret Muslim” and that “Obama wants to keep Americans unemployed so that they become dependent on government-run programs.” She then highlights some of the comments she has observed from tea partiers:
“Obama, to me, is a socialist. He’s a Muslim and all he wants to do is bankrupt us and run us into the ground,” Ken Schwalbach of Escanaba, Mich., said at a rally on Friday. […]
“What’s more disturbing is that he’s not answering them,” Tea Party member and conservative blogger Andrea Shay King said of the questions over Obama’s birthplace. […]
Ron Moore of Petoskey, Mich., said he stood firm in his belief that the Democrats’ goal was to implement “death panels” to decide who receives medical care and who does not. “They’ve already started,” he said.
To her credit, Corbin debunks many of the claims and rightly notes that these are “misinformed beliefs.” But of course, one of the primary reasons that so many of these right-wing activists believe these conspiracies is because Fox News has pushed them. For example, the “birther” conspiracy has been advanced on Fox News websites. The “death panels” myth has been advocated by Fox News personalities Peter Johnson Jr, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Brian Kilmeade, and Michelle Malkin, among others.