We already noted how painfully dumb one of the questions Steve Kroft posed to Obama was on 60 Minutes; a question that prompted a laugh from Obama. And a laugh which then prompted Kroft to ask the absurd question of whether Obama was "punch drunk."
That's how the story was first manufactured; Kroft asked a dumb question and then followed it up with a bizarre, non sequitur ("punch drunk") premise.
Now, in order to keep the story afloat it's important for other members of the press to play dumb about what exactly Obama was laughing about. Enter Mary Ann Akers at washingtonpost.com [emphasis added]:
The most memorable moment of the president's interview on "60 Minutes" Sunday night came when reporter Steve Kroft asked, "Are you punch drunk?" That came after Obama, in what could otherwise be deemed a nearly flawless interview, inexplicably chuckled as he talked about the disaster that is the nation's economy.
See, Kroft's manufactured moment was "the most memorable" of the 20-minute interview. That's a must if you're inside the Beltway today. Nothing was more important. Second, note what Obama was laughing at: "the disaster that is the nation's economy." Oh my, that doesn't sound good. Why would a president laugh about that?
Answer: That's not what prompted the biggest laugh from Obama. Obama laughed at how the only thing today less popular than the government bailing out the banks, is the government bailing out America's car manufacturers. That was the gallows humor that was referenced.
But Akers, who wrote a whole item on whether Obama should have laughed, made sure to pretend that the president was laughing on TV "about the disaster that is the nation's economy."
Basically, the only way the "punch drunk" story lives is if lots of journalists do their jobs poorly. Unfortunately for Obama, the Beltway has lots of eager participants.