Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Media Matters Latest, October 25, 2006

In purported examination of whether Bush or Clinton would "do his party any good" on campaign trail, MSNBC's Carlson ignored approval ratings, called Clinton a "sanctimonious jerk"
In a discussion about whether President Bush or former President Bill Clinton will "do his party any good" by campaigning for their parties' respective Senate candidates in Virginia, Tucker Carlson bashed Clinton as a "sanctimonious jerk" while ignoring altogether the public's negative view of Bush. In fact, job approval and favorability ratings for Clinton are much higher than they are for Bush. Read more

Matthews declared "scary" Pelosi looked "too San Francisco" on CBS' 60 Minutes
On the October 23 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews suggested that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) looked "scary ... like a lefty" in her October 22 appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes, adding that Pelosi could be "looking too San Francisco." Earlier in the show, Matthews declared that Democrats are, "by their nature, a little sloppier than Republicans," who are more "organized," and suggested that Democrats are "always late for the movies" and are not "the kind of people that organize their paycheck." Read more

ABC's The Note baselessly suggested double standard in media's treatment of Pelosi and Gingrich
ABC News' The Note predicted that prior to the midterm elections, the "(liberal) Old Media" will "[g]lowingly profile" House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi but "fail to describe her as 'ultra liberal' or 'an extreme liberal,' which would mirror the way [former House Speaker Newt] Gingrich was painted twelve years ago." But a Media Matters examination of coverage found that in 1994, Gingrich was treated in a similar manner to the way Pelosi is treated now. Read more

CNN's Crowley asked Shuler if he is "a Nancy Pelosi Democrat," but CNN has yet to ask Republicans if they are "Denny Hastert [or George Bush or Dick Cheney] Republicans"
In previewing the October 24 installment of CNN's weeklong series titled "Broken Government," the October 24 edition of CNN Newsroom twice aired segments in which CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley asked North Carolina's 11th District congressional candidate Heath Shuler (D) if he is "a Nancy Pelosi Democrat." Pelosi, the House Democratic leader from California, is widely expected to be elected speaker if the Democrats take control of the House. According to a Media Matters for America review* of CNN transcripts since June, no CNN anchor or host has asked a Republican congressional candidate if he or she is a "Dennis Hastert Republican." During the portion of her report aired on CNN Newsroom, Crowley also asked of Democrats: "What is wrong with these people?" She then asserted that "[f]rom Virginia to Montana to Georgia, crack open a Democrat, and they'll tell you: It's the wussy factor." Read more

CNN presented Michael J. Fox as the "center" of controversy spurred by Limbaugh smears
The October 24 edition of CNN's The Situation Room featured a report on nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh's accusation that actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, may have exaggerated the effects of his disease in a campaign ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill. Blitzer introduced the segment, asserting that Fox was "at the center of a campaign controversy." Correspondent Mary Snow did not clarify the nature of the controversy -- over comments made by Limbaugh, not Fox -- until about halfway through her two-minute-and-20-second report. Read more

Limbaugh likened Michael J. Fox to "Jersey Girls," declared stem cell ad part of "a script that they [Democrats] have written for years" in which "victims" are "infallible"
Rush Limbaugh likened Michael J. Fox -- who has Parkinson's disease and appeared in a recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill -- to the "Jersey Girls" group of 9-11 widows, claiming that Fox's ad is part of "a script that they [Democrats] have written for years" in which "victims of various diseases or social concerns or poverty" are "infallible, whatever they say cannot be challenged." Read more

ABC's Roberts and Stephanopoulos juxtaposed Michael J. Fox's stem cell ad in MO Senate race with RNC's fearmongering bin Laden ad
ABC's Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos juxtaposed actor Michael J. Fox's recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill with the Republican National Committee's (RNC) new advertisement featuring clips of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists making threats against the United States. Roberts claimed Fox's ad is "raising a lot of eyebrows," but she did not note that Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, has endorsed McCaskill because she supports embryonic stem cell research. Introducing the RNC ad, Stephanopoulos asserted that Republicans have a "big card" to play on "terrorism," but recent polling is mixed on whether the public trusts Democrats or Republicans more on dealing with terrorism. Read more

CBS' Wallace claimed voters "don't want to see Democrats in control of the Congress" -- polling shows otherwise
On the October 23 broadcast of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, CBS News political analyst and former Bush White House communications director Nicolle Wallace claimed, "At the end of the day, no matter how discontent some voters are, they really don't want to see Democrats in control of the Congress." Recent polling, however, indicates that a majority of voters do want to see Democrats take control of Congress. Read more


On CBS' "Free Speech," Hannity falsely suggested Gore flip-flopped on Iraq, blamed Dems for "divided" country despite his own divisive statements
In an appearance on the "Free Speech" segment of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Sean Hannity falsely suggested that Al Gore "reversed course" on Iraq -- in fact, Gore has consistently opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- and, despite Hannity's own history of politically divisive statements, attributed the country's "divided" state to Democrats. Read more

Gingrich, Barnes falsely suggested media have ignored Reid land deal
Newt Gingrich and Fred Barnes both falsely suggested that the media have ignored allegations that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid improperly reported a land deal and have focused exclusively on Republican scandals. In fact, Time, CNN and Fox News have devoted significantly more coverage to the Reid deal than to a controversial land deal that benefited Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Read more

How many times will the White House drop "stay the course" before the media notice it has purported to drop it before?
In covering Tony Snow's comments that President Bush has "stopped using" the phrase "stay the course" to describe the administration's strategy in Iraq, the media simply noted that Bush and other White House officials have used the phrase as recently as October 11 but failed to note that Snow's comments mark the second time that the White House has reportedly rejected "stay the course" as a characterization of the administration's strategy in Iraq. Read more

Carlson: Spencer's reported plastic surgery comment "seems like a plant from Hillary Clinton"
On the October 23 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, discussing an October 23 New York Daily News report, in which Daily News blogger Ben Smith wrote that former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's Republican opponent in the New York Senate race, said Clinton "used to be ugly -- and speculates she got 'millions of dollars' in plastic surgery," host Tucker Carlson claimed that the Daily News story "almost seems like a plant" by the Clinton campaign, because "that's how she wins in every case, when people think she's wronged." Later, Carlson stated, "[I]t seems to me there's a double standard here" in that Clinton says to voters, "on the one hand, 'Treat me like a man,' " and, "on the other hand, she is saying ... 'treat me as a woman.' " Carlson then added that Clinton was the "beneficiary" of this "double standard" during her 2000 senatorial campaign against Republican Rick Lazio, who was "perceived as being rude to a woman" and "somehow ... was a cad" when he confronted her during a debate. Read more

Conservative media figures attack CNN for airing portions of insurgent video
Numerous conservative media figures have attacked CNN for broadcasting video footage of insurgents attacking U.S. soldiers in Iraq: Pat Buchanan said that CNN "ought to be treated like Al Jazeera"; Michael Savage even claimed CNN had "committed murder" by airing the video; Brent Bozell asserted that CNN was "cavorting with the enemy to get video to put on the air in the United States to break the will of the American people." Read more

Carlson "understand[s]" Pentagon's decision to "lie" to Army Ranger Pat Tillman's family
On the October 23 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson repeatedly attempted to justify the Pentagon's decision, in Carlson's words, to "lie" to the family of former pro football player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman about how Tillman died. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, but the Defense Department strongly suggested that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire, stating only that he died in combat "when his patrol vehicle came under attack." Carlson said that he "understand[s]" "the lie" because "[t]elling the truth actually is difficult. Look, let me speak on behalf of anyone who has ever told a lie. Telling the truth is really hard." Read more

NY Times falsely reported Lieberman never "utter[ed] the words 'stay the course' "
In an October 24 New York Times article, reporters Jennifer Medina and Anne E. Kornblut wrote of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's (CT) stated positions on the Iraq war: "Never, in the statements reviewed, did Mr. Lieberman utter the words 'stay the course.' " In fact, Lieberman has uttered those exact words about Iraq several times. Read more

Savage: "[W]hen you're dealing with Arabs, there are no friends"
On the October 20 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage asserted that "when you're dealing with Arabs, there are no friends. They're old rug traders going back a thousand years in that part of the world." He then added: "Right now, one side is your friend; the other side is your enemy. The next day, they're both stabbing you in the back and picking your pockets." Read more

Fox's Baier failed to challenge Hoekstra's explanation for suspending Democratic House Intelligence Committee staffer over alleged NIE leak
Fox News' Brett Baier failed to challenge Rep. Peter Hoekstra's claim that his decision to suspend a Democratic House Intelligence Committee staffer for allegedly leaking portions of a National Intelligence Estimate was based on "sufficient evidence." A Washington Post report debunked a previous claim by Hoekstra about the staffer's involvement. Read more

Beck claimed Europe's "political correctness" could lead to "a global religious civil war"
Glenn Beck claimed that "the forces of radical Islam and political correctness have conspired to slowly gain power and influence" in Europe and that "the continent is on the precipice of civil war." He further predicted that the United States "very well could be next ... [i]t may only be a matter of time before it happens in Detroit or New York or Chicago." He concluded, "We could be on the verge of a global religious civil war." Read more

Fox business anchor Cavuto let Snow peddle false stock market performance stats
Fox News' Neil Cavuto did not challenge Tony Snow's false claim that "since the president cut taxes in 2003, the Dow Jones is up 60 percent. The Nasdaq is up 80 percent." But even under the most favorable criteria, Snow's statistics are plainly wrong. And when adjusted for inflation, the value of both stock indices has decreased since President Bush's first major tax cut package in June 2001. Read more

Savage ridiculed Ethiopians, declaring they "have flies around their eyes"; labeled Islam "a bloodthirsty religion"
On the October 23 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage said of Ethiopians: "The people down there have flies around their eyes," adding, "I never went into an Ethiopian restaurant. The Ethiopians come here to eat American food." Earlier in the broadcast, while discussing Ramadan and the continued violence in Iraq, Savage suggested that Islam is "a bloodthirsty religion that's practiced over there by a bunch of throwbacks, and we're gonna to kill 'em." Savage called for the United States to say: "That's it, we're leaving them; we're killing them." Read more

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