'Birther' Coverage Not Dominant, Study Says

President Obama, in releasing his long-form birth certificate Wednesday, said he did so because it was beginning to distract attention from more important issues facing the country, but a recent study of news coverage shows that top media organizations have been devoting relatively little time to the so-called "birther" issue.

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, which produces a weekly analysis of news coverage, found that during the week of April 11-17, Obama and the "birther" issue filled a mere 4 percent of the news coverage.

Despite the multiple network interviews of Donald Trump, who brought the issue of Obama's birth certificate to the forefront, coverage of the topic was far less than that dedicated to other issues, such as the 40 percent devoted to the economy that week

The 2012 presidential election received 8 percent of coverage in the week, according to the organization's analysis, but that still was less than the 15 percent devoted to the Middle East and the 14 percent devoted to the economy.

As for cable news coverage, the Project for Excellence in Journalism found MSNBC dedicated about 10 percent of its airtime to Obama, and the birth certificate issue. CNN devoted 5 percent of its airtime to Obama, with all of it dedicated to the birth certificate discussion. Fox News also covered Obama about 5 percent of the time, but the report said little of it dealt with questions about his eligibility to serve as president.