From an August 2 article by McClatchy Newspapers' Steven Thomma:
The allegation that President Barack Obama was born in another country is more than just another political smear.
It's the story of how a small but intense movement called "birthers" rose from a handful of people prone to seeing conspiracies aided by the Internet - and magnified without evidence by eager radio and cable TV hosts, and eventually ratified by a small group of Republican politicians working to keep the story alive.
It's a story about what experts call political paranoia over a new face in a time of anxiety and rapid change. It's the sort of viral message that can take hold among a sliver of the populace that's ready to believe that their new president is a fraud, and ready to angrily dismiss anyone who disagrees with them as part of the conspiracy.
Once the story spread on the Internet, several of the birthers have found a stage on talk radio and cable TV. Lou Dobbs of CNN, for example, has said he thinks the allegations are false, yet he continues airing them.
Radio host Rush Limbaugh has joked about it, saying, "Barack Obama has one thing in common with God. You know what it is? God doesn't have a birth certificate either."
Sean Hannity has featured Andy Martin on his Fox News program, and radio host Liddy has repeatedly featured stories charging that the president was born in Kenya.