Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Media Matters for America summary, January 30, 2007

ABC's Tapper questions "authentic[ity]" of Democrats but not Republicans

On the January 29 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper said that "[t]he question is whether ant-iwar Democrats will find" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) rhetoric against the war in Iraq "authentic." However, Tapper previously called Republican Sen. John McCain's (AZ) efforts to "build[] bridges ... with conservative Christians" "smart" when McCain delivered the 2006 commencement address at Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University despite McCain having called Falwell and Rev. Pat Robertson "the forces of evil" six years earlier. In a segment about McCain's criticism of the Bush administration's Iraq rhetoric, Tapper suggested McCain was part of a pattern of "once-supportive Republicans now distancing themselves from President Bush and the war in Iraq" without questioning whether McCain's criticism would be perceived as "authentic." Moreover, Tapper's question fits a pattern in his reporting of questioning the authenticity of Democrats but not Republicans. Read more

Wash Post article omitted context of Russert's "Christian nation" question to Huckabee

In a January 29 article on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) announcement that he would form a presidential exploratory committee, Washington Post staff writer Lois Romano reported that when "pressed" by Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press, "on whether he [Huckabee] would lead the United States to be a more Christian nation," Huckabee answered, "We are a nation of faith. It doesn't necessarily have to be mine." But the Post article omitted the context in which Russert put his question: Huckabee's statement came in response to two Huckabee quotes Russert read, including one in which Huckabee stated he wanted to "take this nation back for Christ." Read more

Fox defense of Gibson's report on Obama smear missed mark

According to an ABCNews.com report, Fox News vice president Bill Shine defended John Gibson's reporting on the discredited accusation that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa in his youth. But a statement from Shine, as quoted by the ABCNews.com report, never addressed Gibson's charges that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was behind the smear. Read more
Blitzer called Steele "a good, strong Republican" despite campaign materials suggesting he's a DemOn the January 28 edition of CNN's Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer called unsuccessful Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele "a good, strong Republican," despite, as Media Matters for America has previously noted, the Steele campaign's misleading tactics, which included the distribution of a flier labeled "Democratic Sample Ballot" that referred to "Ehrlich-Steele Democrats" and falsely suggested that certain prominent African-American Maryland Democrats endorsed Steele for Senate and then-Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for re-election. Read more

Andrew Sullivan on Sen. Clinton's "cootie vibes": "I just can't stand her"

On the January 28 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, discussing the potential 2008 presidential candidacies of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), Time blogger Andrew Sullivan said "when I see [Clinton] ... all the cootie vibes sort of resurrect themselves." Sullivan added that he considered Clinton a "very sensible senator," stated that it was "hard to disagree with her on the war," and admitted that he "actually [found] her positions appealing in many ways." Nevertheless, he concluded: "I just can't stand her. I'm sorry about that." Read more

LA Times latest to suggest proponents of Iraq withdrawal are anti-military

In a January 28 editorial headlined "How Iraq affects D.C. reputations," the Los Angeles Times claimed that Sen. John Warner's (R-VA) assertion "that Congress would have to make 'bold decisions' if the Iraqi government didn't shape up within three months" was surprising "[b]ecause of Warner's long-reliable pro-military vote and support for Bush's foreign policy." In suggesting that Warner's "pro-military" views were inconsistent with asserting that the Iraqi government must "shape up" or face Congress' "bold decisions," the Times joined other news organizations identified by Media Matters for America (here, here, and here) as equating being "pro-military" and supporting the troops with supporting the war in Iraq. Such a suggestion implies that those who advocate withdrawal from Iraq are not "pro-military" and do not support the troops. Read more

Questions for the NY Times about the alleged spitting incident during anti-war protest

On January 28, The New York Times reported, in an article by Ian Urbina, that, during the January 27 anti-war protest on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., an unnamed anti-war protester spat at the ground near Joshua Sparling, a wounded Iraq war veteran "who said he was a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division." The Times reported that Sparling spat "back" and subsequently said of the protesters: "These are not Americans as far as I'm concerned." The Times gave no further details about the alleged incident, despite the politically charged nature of the allegations, which recall the apocryphal tales of Vietnam War veterans being spit on as they returned to the United States. Read more

Savage on Sen. Bernie Sanders: "a dirty socialist" who should "go to hell"

On the January 25 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage attacked Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT), saying, "Kiss my behind, you psycho," and "Screw you, you jealous loser." Savage also called Sanders "a rat," "a bum," and "a dirty socialist" and told him to "go to hell." These remarks followed audio clips Savage played on his show, in which Sanders addressed the issues of wealth distribution and childhood poverty. Savage asked: "Now, how did child poverty become an issue all of a sudden? ... Two weeks ago we heard that -- before the elections, three months ago -- that children were overweight and fat from eating too much McDonald's; they were dying of diabetes from being little piglets. Now, we hear about childhood poverty, childhood poverty." Read more

On Hannity's America, Path to 9/11 filmmaker defended scene he previously admitted was fabricated

Path to 9/11 screenwriter and producer Cyrus Nowrasteh asserted that the unedited version of a scene in his film in which Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger abandons an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden is an accurate representation of history. However, the scene depicts an event that did not happen, and Nowrasteh himself has acknowledged that the edited portion was fabricated. Read more

O'Reilly is Olbermann's "Worst Person" for claim that Sunni and Shia kill each other for "fun"

On the January 26 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named Fox News host Bill O'Reilly the "winner" of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for, as Media Matters for America documented, "telling his radio listener that in Iraq, quote, 'the Sunni and Shia want to kill each other. They want to blow each other up. They want to torture each other. They have fun.'" Olbermann again cited O'Reilly's statement that kidnap victim Shawn Hornbeck, after his abduction, was in a situation that "looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents." Olbermann asserted, "We're now beginning to get a clear picture of what Bill thinks fun is: torture, killing, and child molestation." As Media Matters noted, Olbermann previously criticized O'Reilly for his comments about Hornbeck's abduction and stated: "It reeks of perversity and inhumanity. Simply put, Mr. O'Reilly no longer deserves any place on the public stage." Read more

Krauthammer overstated likely ANWR oil production

In his January 26 Washington Post column, "Energy Independence," Charles Krauthammer advocated drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), asserting that the United States could extract "a million barrels a day from" ANWR. He added that, "[i]n tight markets, that makes a crucial difference." His claim recalled a Wall Street Journal editorial (subscription required) that, as Colorado Media Matters noted, stated that drilling for oil in ANWR would "result in an extra one million barrels a day." Read more

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