Thursday, November 16, 2006

Media Matters Latest, November 16, 2006

In USA Today op-ed, Powers recycled 1992 Democratic convention claim
Democratic strategist and Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers wrote: "In a low point in Democratic Party history, Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey was banned from speaking at the 1992 Democratic Convention for being opposed to abortion rights." However, as Media Matters has noted, several opponents of abortion rights were given speaking slots at that Democratic convention. Read more

Fair and balanced? Alleged Fox News internal memo shows hostility to Democrats
On November 14, The Huffington Post website posted "an internal Fox News memo written by the network's Vice President of news," which "details Fox's game plan the day Democrats won control of both the Senate and the House." According to the memo: "The elections and [former Defense Secretary Donald H.] Rumsfeld's resignation were a major event, but not the end of the world," and: "The war on terror goes on without interruption." Read more

Beck juxtaposed Hitler's "decree permitting euthanasia" with Clinton's plan for health care
On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck juxtaposed Adolf Hitler's "decree permitting euthanasia" with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) statement that "the whole issue of health care is coming back." Read more

O'Reilly to Vatican, espousing "secular-progressive" philosophy: "[W]ise up or shut up" on the "illegal invasion" of the U.S.
On the November 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly warned the Vatican to either "wise up or shut up" when criticizing U.S. policy concerning the "illegal invasion" of the United States by people coming in from Mexico. O'Reilly declared that "[t]he Vatican opposes the [border] fence; they oppose the National Guard; it opposes any kind of punitive action against people who sneak in here, so ... the Vatican needs to wise up or shut up." O'Reilly then suggested that the Vatican has a "secular-progressive[]" philosophy, stating, "I think it is a one-world philosophy that a lot of secular-progressives ... really believe, that no country has a right to ban anybody or stop anybody from doing anything." When later challenged on that assertion by Santa Clara University theology teacher Sally Vance-Trembath* , who stated that "[t]he Vatican doesn't want us to be secular and take the Gospel out of our actions," O'Reilly replied: "I agree. ... The Vatican wants all the illegals to come here, but it does want them to be Catholic." Read more

Fox whitewashed Lott's 2002 resignation: "He ran into a little bit of difficulty"
Several discussions on Fox News about Sen. Trent Lott's candidacy for Senate minority whip have glossed over or omitted any explanation of exactly why Lott stepped down from his Senate leadership post in 2002 -- specifically, that Lott was forced to resign after praising Sen. Strom Thurmond's 1948 pro-segregationist presidential campaign. Read more

Although "San Francisco liberal" label is much more common, Pinkerton claimed media "spin" Pelosi as "moderate grandmother ... from Baltimore"
On Fox News Watch, Jim Pinkerton claimed that Nancy Pelosi "is being presented to the American people as this moderate grandmother ... from Baltimore" rather than someone "from San Francisco [who] represents the left wing." In fact, a Media Matters survey showed that Pelosi has been portrayed in the media as a San Francisco liberal much more often than as a grandmother from Baltimore. Read more

CNN's Beck to first-ever Muslim congressman: "[W]hat I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies' "
On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, and asked Ellison if he could "have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards up on the table." After Ellison agreed, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " Beck added: "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way." Read more

Olbermann named Savage "Worst Person" runner-up for declaring "[t]he radical homosexual agenda will not stop until religion is outlawed in this country"
On the November 14 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann awarded nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage runner-up in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for claiming, as Media Matters for America documented, that " '[t]he radical homosexual agenda will not stop until religion is outlawed in this country,' and 'they want full and total subjugation of this society to their agenda.' " Olbermann frequently honors Savage in his "Worst Person" segment, recently giving him "the bronze" for claiming that a Democratic victory in the November 7 midterm elections "could lead to the break up of the United States of America, the way the Soviet Union broke up." Read more

Yoest made contradictory statements about public support for marriage bans -- both were wrong
On CNN, the Family Research Council's Charmaine Yoest falsely claimed that "every single time" a marriage initiative has appeared on the ballot, "it's passed with over 70 percent of the popular vote." The statement is wrong for two reasons. First, a same-sex marriage ban failed in Arizona in the midterm elections. Second, all of those that did pass did not get 70-percent support -- only two did. Yoest also falsely claimed that those that passed did so "resoundingly." Read more

NY Times quoted only retired generals and experts critical of Iraq pull-out plans, ignored those who support redeployment
In an article reporting that a number of former military officers and foreign policy experts are opposed to near-term phased withdrawal from Iraq, New York Times reporter Michael R. Gordon did not mention the numerous retired U.S. generals, former diplomats, and foreign policy experts who have also called for some form of withdrawal. Read more

Wash. Post: McCain's Iraq proposal "more measured" than Democrats' -- but article ignored significant questions regarding its feasibility
In a November 15 Washington Post article on U.S. Central Command head Gen. John P. Abizaid's upcoming testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, staff writer Ann Scott Tyson compared Sen. Carl Levin's (D-MI) proposal to begin withdrawing U.S forces from Iraq in the next four to six months with Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) plan to increase troop levels in the region. She added that one of the reasons the Democrats cite in support "for drawing down U.S. troops in Iraq" is "the strain on the all-volunteer military from repeated combat zone deployments." But while Tyson went on to depict McCain's proposal as emblematic of the Republicans' "more measured approach to redefining Iraq strategy," she omitted the details of his plan and ignored altogether significant questions regarding its feasibility. Read more

Tucker Carlson on Bush's 1976 DUI arrest: "[I]t's not like he was wasted"
On the November 14 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson downplayed President Bush's 1976 drunken-driving arrest: "[H]is blood alcohol level -- I'm not defending drunk driving, of course -- but, you know, it's not like he was wasted. He -- he wasn't at all. It was like three beers or something." Carlson's speculation about how much Bush had had to drink, "like three beers or something," is inconsistent with Bush's reported blood-alcohol content (BAC) at the time of his arrest. Read more

Ignoring Dems' denials and plans to the contrary, CNN's Schneider said "[p]eople know" Dems are going to raise taxes but elected them anyway
During a discussion on the November 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room about voters' expectations a week after the midterm elections, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider -- after showing a clip of President Bush at an election rally stating "[t]he Democrats are going to raise your taxes ... they don't want you to know it" -- stated "Guess what? People know it," adding that "they voted for the Democrats anyway, which means they must really want change." But contrary to Schneider's suggestion that Americans voted for the Democrats while disagreeing with them on taxes, an analysis of polling data leading up to the election demonstrates that Americans trusted Democrats more on taxes than Republicans. Further, Democrats have pledged not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans. Read more

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