But by giving the birthers such a platform – even to knock them off of it – is MSNBC giving them more legitimacy than they deserve?

Bob Steele thinks so. A Poynter Institute scholar for journalism values, Steele said that networks should be wary of giving “considerable and consistent attention to a rumor that has been legitimately debunked.” For cable show hosts, Steele said, “to just be bringing it back up, and hashing it over and over, can be very problematic.”…

While Dobbs says he believes that Obama was born in the United States, he’s also pushed for more proof – just to assuage the doubters, he says. He has discussed the birther question frequently on his radio show, which CNN does not control. He has covered the question much less often on his CNN show, covering it five times since mid-July.

During the same time period, the birther issue has come up on 29 individual MSNBC shows between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. alone.