When he released his long-form birth certificate on Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama gave into pressure put on him by potential 2012 presidential candidate Donald Trump, seemingly playing right into the real estate mogul’s hand by addressing an issue he had so steadfastly avoided. But, indirectly, Obama is benefiting from giving in to Trump as the mainstream media’s focus isn’t on the major storylines that would usually dominate the headlines, like the Federal Reserve press conference, unfavorable economic numbers and all-time-lows for Obama in polling results.
Obama’s rapid shift on the issue raises some questions. Even the day before the White House released the birth certificate, press secretary Jay Carney ripped CNN’s Ed Henry for asking about it. In his briefing room appearance on Wednesday, though, Obama said he’d made the decision to release his long-form birth certificate a couple weeks before.
New York Times pollster Nate Silver said, too, that the White House probably isn’t complaining about the boom in birther coverage since it has shielded Obama from other, more important issues. “Lots of mediocre polling and economic numbers for Obama today,” Silver tweeted. “I don’t think he’d protest if media devoted another 72 hrs to birther crap.”
If that was the White House strategy, it appears to be working. A quick sweep of the front-page headlines of major U.S. newspapers Thursday revealed little coverage of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s first-ever press conference. Also, the birth certificate release topped the Fed presser in many newspapers that gave front-page attention to it.