Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Media Matters Latest, December 20, 2006

Media's latest anti-Hillary narrative: Ruthless Clinton machine to attempt to destroy Obama
In reporting and commenting on a potential race between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, several media figures have taken it upon themselves to issue warnings to Obama of a purportedly ruthless Clinton operation that will attempt to win by brute force, or, as Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund put it, "haul out the brass knuckles." Read more

Dick Morris falsely claimed that Obama has "never introduced a bill" in the Senate
On the December 18 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has "never introduced a bill" in Congress. In fact, according to the Library of Congress' THOMAS legislative database, Obama was the primary sponsor of 152 bills and resolutions introduced in the last Congress, including a bill (S.2125) that passed Congress on December 8, 2006, "to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," which he introduced on December 16, 2005. The bill is awaiting action by the president. In addition, three nonbinding resolutions sponsored by Obama have passed the Senate, and 14 bills that he has co-sponsored have become law. Read more

Wash. Post cited Giuliani's opposition to Iraq withdrawal in asserting his "tough[ness]"
A Washington Post article described Rudy Giuliani as "tough," citing among other positions his opposition to withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. But the article did not elaborate on how holding this position makes one "tough" or whether holding the opposite view makes one not "tough." Read more

Lou Dobbs Tonight caption: "Do-Nothing Dems?"
A December 19 report on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight featured the graphic "Do-Nothing Dems?" But, as the report noted, Democrats will not actually assume control of Congress for a little over two weeks. Read more

Conservatives continue to ignore GOP Sen. Specter while attacking Dems for visiting Syria
On December 14, Media Matters for America noted that Fox News chief White House correspondent Bret Baier had falsely suggested that only Democrats were planning trips to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the Bush administration's objections, ignoring Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) expected visit to Syria and planned meeting with Assad. Since Baier's report, conservative television hosts have either attacked Democrats or held segments bashing Democrats for holding or wanting to hold talks with Syria or North Korea, while continuing to ignore Specter's expected visit to Syria. Read more

MSNBC's Colgan obsessed with Sen. Clinton's past "Coke-bottle glasses"
Discussing the presidential prospects of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, political analyst Flavia Colgan asserted that Clinton will have an "authenticity" problem in "moving to the right on issues" because "a lot of folks aren't going to be able to disregard ... those pictures of her with Coke-bottle glasses." Colgan has twice previously referred to Clinton's "Coke-bottle glasses" as evidence of an "authenticity" or "trust" problem. Read more

NY Times report on Iraqi security forces failed to note ongoing problems
A December 19 New York Times article reported that, according to a Pentagon report about violence in Iraq, "Iraqi security forces are larger than ever, with 322,600 Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other troops, an increase of 45,000 since August," without noting that the very same paragraph in the report states that "[t]he number of present-for-duty soldiers and police is much lower, due to scheduled leave, absence without leave, and attrition." Read more

Kristol falsely asserted that Sen. Kennedy wants to continue failed Iraq strategy
On Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol misrepresented Sen. Ted Kennedy's "current position" on Iraq as a plan to "continue to pursue a strategy which has not been winning." In fact, Kennedy was one of only 13 senators who voted to withdraw troops from Iraq by July 2007. Read more

CNN's Beck likened outrage against Tancredo to "re-education" policies of Soviet Union
On the December 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck said remarks by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) in a November 19 interview with right-wing website "liken[ing] Miami to a Third World country" have "touched off a wave of controversy" that allegedly resulted in "death threats" and the cancellation of a Tancredo speaking engagement in Florida. Beck reasoned that "you can disagree with Tancredo all you want. ... But threaten to assassinate someone because you don't like his point of view? That actually does sound something like you'd find in a Third World country." Then Beck drew a connection to "[p]olitical correctness," stating, "Political correctness has its roots in the old Soviet Union. ... [I]f someone was caught saying something that was out of line with Lenin's thinking, according to Trotsky, they'd be taken away for re-education until they were politically correct. That's where it came from. And that's exactly what's happening today in America." Read more

Contradicting own reporting, Wash. Post asserted that U.S. "unwilling" to send detainees to countries that torture
In a December 18 article headlined "U.S. Sends Home 33 Detainees From Guantanamo Bay," The Washington Post uncritically reported that "the United States is unwilling to release detainees into the custody of nations where they would likely be abused, tortured or killed." Read more

Media did not report Gates sworn in 12 days after Senate confirmation because of Texas A&M commencement
Several media outlets uncritically reported President Bush's claim that he delayed the release of his new "way forward in Iraq" strategy from before Christmas to until January 2007 to allow new Defense Secretary Robert Gates to join the policy discussion and visit Iraq. These media outlets did not mention that the White House scheduled Gates' swearing-in ceremony fully 12 days after his Senate confirmation in order for him to attend commencement at Texas A&M before resigning as the school's president. Read more

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