Saturday, December 16, 2006

Media Matters Latest, December 16, 2006

Beck on Iran's "Holocaust conference": "Gee, the only one that wasn't there was Jimmy Carter"
On the December 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, discussing Iran's December 11 conference, a gathering of Holocaust deniers purportedly to "debate" the existence of the Holocaust, Glenn Beck said: "[W]hen I saw [former Ku Klux Klan leader] David Duke there, I thought, 'Gee, the only one that wasn't there was Jimmy Carter.' " Read more's article on "Obama's Shady Real Estate Deal" found nothing shady teased a December 14 article by Slate chief political correspondent John Dickerson by suggesting that the article exposed a "Shady Real Estate Deal" involving Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). In fact, the article explained there is "no evidence" that Obama did anything wrong. Read more

Why is Glenn Beck back on Good Morning America?
Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts hosted Glenn Beck for the second time in a month to discuss issues related to religion, despite his numerous controversial remarks about Islam. Read more

Greenfield and now Matalin defend Obama-Middle East references as a joke
Mary Matalin said discussion about Sen. Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, is "really about nothing" and responded that co-host Alan Colmes should "get a sense of humor" after Colmes requested that Matalin ask her "conservative friends to drop the 'Hussein.' " CNN's Jeff Greenfield had similarly claimed that he was joking when he likened the style of Obama's clothing to that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Read more

MSNBC's Carlson joins Limbaugh in taking Obama "big ears" comment seriously
In her October 21 New York Times column (subscription required), Maureen Dowd wrote that potential Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (IL) is "intriguingly imperfect," citing as one example the fact that "[h]is ears stick out." In a December 11 weblog entry, Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet wrote that Obama, following a press conference the previous day in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, "headed toward New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and chided her -- in a kidding way -- for a comment in the 12th of 14 paragraphs in an Oct 21 column. She wrote that Obama's 'ears stick out.' " During the exchange, Obama said: "I just want to put you on notice. I'm very sensitive," adding, "I was teased relentlessly when I was a kid about my big ears." Read more

On MSNBC, Blankley and Jacobus promoted myth of apolitical Bush on Iraq
On MSNBC, Tony Blankley claimed that President Bush "doesn't have much of a political view" of Iraq. "He is now looking at the policy ... and he's going to decide what to decide on a policy basis." Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus repeated the claim by Bush supporters that he "has always been pretty good [at] not conducting his job based on the polls, even if a lot of the people around him wanted to." Read more

CBS failed to note Abizaid's dismissal of the McCain-Graham plan "to save Iraq"
CBS national security correspondent David Martin reported that Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham "were in Baghdad ... warning it will take more than [20,000 additional troops] to save Iraq," but Martin did not mention Gen. John Abizaid's assessment that such an increase would likely not improve the situation in Iraq. Read more

O'Reilly ignored First Amendment, misrepresented Jefferson's position
In his December 14 nationally syndicated column, " 'Tis the Season," Bill O'Reilly wrote that the "separation of church and state argument" is "bogus" because it "does not appear anywhere in the Constitution." O'Reilly continued, baselessly asserting that "[i]f Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he would mock these secular fools and then retire to his Virginia estate for Christmas dinner." In fact, Jefferson wrote a famous letter in 1802 in which he declared his support for "a wall of eternal separation between Church & State" and expressed his "reverence" for the First Amendment to the Constitution, which mandates that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Read more

Blitzer left out Richardson's diplomatic credentials in report on North Korea meeting
On the December 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, in what host Wolf Blitzer called "a 2008 road-to-the-White-House edition," Blitzer did not report Gov. Bill Richardson's (D-NM) international diplomacy credentials, characterizing a scheduled December 15 meeting with Richardson and North Korean officials to discuss dismantling that country's nuclear program as Richardson "working on his foreign policy credentials." In fact, contrary to Blitzer's suggestion that the meeting constitutes an effort on Richardson's part to build his credentials, Richardson is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has, in the words of The Washington Post, "bargained for the release of captives" in several countries, including North Korea, and has negotiated with North Korea on nuclear issues. After Blitzer's report, viewers unfamiliar with Richardson's background could reasonably have been left wondering why the governor of New Mexico would be engaging in international diplomacy. Read more

CNN's Snow did not call Prager on backpedaling on use of Quran for oath
On the December 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, correspondent Mary Snow uncritically aired a clip of conservative radio host Dennis Prager asserting that he has "no problem" with incoming Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) "taking his oath [of office] on his holiest book. ... I have a problem with the Bible not being present at all. That's what I wrote. That's what I keep saying." Snow did not mention, as Media Matters for America noted, that Prager claimed in his November 28 column that Ellison "should not be allowed" to "take his oath of office ... on the bible of Islam, the Koran." Prager went on to compare Ellison's choice of the Quran to a hypothetical representative's choice of "Hitler's 'Mein Kampf,' the Nazis' bible, for his oath." Read more

Fox's Megyn Kendall falsely suggested that those briefed on NSA warrantless spying program "don't see any problem" with it
On The Big Story, Fox News' Megyn Kendall reported that, during a speech, Sen. Patrick Leahy criticized the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, even though, she later claimed, he "doesn't know that much about" it. She later falsely suggested that "those who have been briefed on the program don't see any problem" with it. In fact, several members of the House and Senate committees have criticized the program. Read more

Dobson and Medved warned of purported pro-gay "subtext" in Happy Feet
During the December 11 edition of his Focus on the Family broadcast, FOF founder and chairman James Dobson hosted syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved to discuss the film Happy Feet (Warner Bros., November 2006), an animated feature about penguins living in Antarctica during a period of environmental upheaval. Medved claimed that the film contains a "subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality," prompting Dobson to wonder whether the filmmakers are "getting at the idea that homosexuality is genetic." Read more

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