Thursday, January 25, 2007

Media Matters Latest, January 25, 2007

CNN disproves Obama smear, but exempts Beck from criticism

CNN's Howard Kurtz noted Fox News' role in advancing the "bogus charge" -- first made in an article on -- that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was behind an allegation that Sen. Barack Obama was educated for several years in a madrassa. And a CNN report flatly disproved the Obama-madrassa allegation. But CNN did not report on air that Glenn Beck had also promoted the "bogus charge" against Clinton. Read more

Media still "Say[ing] Anything"

Following Media Matters for America Managing Director Jamison Foser's January 19 column, the media have offered numerous additional examples in which they have exhibited a willingness to engage in baseless allegations, smears, and ridicule of former or prospective Democratic presidential candidates. For instance, on the January 23 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider called former Vice President Al Gore "[s]upposedly the most boring man in the world." Read more

"Open-minded" Matthews: McCain "deserve[s] the presidency"

On the January 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked commentator Mike Barnicle if asking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) what she had "done to deserve" the presidency was a "tough [question] for her." Barnicle replied: "I think it's a tough question for not just her, for perhaps the entire field." Despite claiming earlier in the show "to be completely open-minded," Matthews responded: "Not so much for" Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Barnicle agreed: "OK, I'll give you that." Matthews added: "He has deserved the presidency. Whether he should be president or not, it's up to the voters. But he's certainly done a lot." Read more

The Politico's Allen and Simon lauded McCain as "honest" and "authentic"

On the January 23 edition of C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Mike Allen, chief political writer for The Politico, claimed that presumptive 2008 presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "is like the president" in that "the one thing he has going for him is authenticity, steadfastness, sticking to what he says." In the very next breath, however, Allen noted that McCain has been "going and courting the sort of super right-wing that he once condemned." Allen then said that McCain "will get credit for sticking with the president" on Iraq, but also noted that McCain has "left himself a trapdoor" because he has said "that he thinks there should be more troops." Read more

CNN echoed WSJ assertion that only Dems face electability questions

Echoing a January 11 Wall Street Journal article, headlined "Democrats' Litmus: Electability" (subscription required), CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider asserted on the January 22 edition of CNN's The Situation Room that the "three frontrunners" for the Democratic nomination -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), Sen. Barack Obama (IL), and 2004 vice presidential nominee and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) -- "all face questions about their electability," while the "three frontrunners" for the Republican nomination -- former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Sen. John McCain (AZ), and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- "all face questions about their conservatism." Read more

Media conservatives hype discredited NewsBusters post on background foliage in Clinton video

Numerous media conservatives have touted a discredited post on the Media Research Center's NewsBusters weblog to baselessly claim that Hillary Clinton recorded her announcement video launching her presidential bid months prior to actually announcing. Even though the post was later updated to add that a reporter "whom I respect informs me that video was produced last week in DC," hosts such as Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity touted the NewsBusters post to support the claim. Read more

Stephanopoulos called Brownback "pro-family" because he is "a true conservative"

On the January 20 edition of ABC's World News Saturday, ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos equated being "pro-family" with being "a true conservative, true social conservative." Discussing Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-KS) January 20 announcement that he is planning to run for president in 2008, Stephanopoulos asserted that "there is a bit of an opening for [Brownback] on the Republican side" to "try to carve out his place as a true conservative, true social conservative, the man most committed to pro-life, pro-family values." Brownback opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Read more

Omitting relevant fact, Kornblut cast doubt on Clinton's candor regarding announcement

On the January 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Washington Post staff writer Anne E. Kornblut omitted a relevant fact while purporting to "leave it up to" others to reach their own conclusions about whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) had moved up her presidential exploratory announcement to January 20 in response to Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) announcement four days earlier. Kornblut noted that Clinton aides had once considered announcing her candidacy in February or March, but Kornblut did not note that, weeks before Obama announced, several news accounts, including a December 28 article in the Post, reported that Clinton was "expected" to announce in January. Read more

Wash. Post reporter baselessly suggested Edwards broke campaign finance law

In a January 23 online discussion, Washington Post reporter John Solomon defended his controversial article about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' recent sale of his house by suggesting -- without offering any evidence -- that the sale violated "federal campaign law" disclosure requirements. Read more

Media allowed to stand suggestion that Pelosi support for minimum wage bill stems from company in her district

In the days following House passage of a Democratic minimum wage increase, media outlets have continued to report Republican accusations that the bill, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, caters to a company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) district because it does not include a wage hike for American Samoa. These stories point out that Del Monte Corp., which is headquartered in Pelosi's district, owns one of American Samoa's largest employers, StarKist. But in reporting the accusation, many in the media have allowed to stand the suggestion that Pelosi's support of this bill stems from Del Monte's interest. In fact, Pelosi has supported several versions of the Fair Minimum Wage Act since it was introduced by Democrats in 1999, three years before Del Monte bought StarKist, and each has included a wage hike for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands but not for American Samoa. Read more

CBS' Borger warned of media complicity in possible "Swift Boat[ing]" of Clinton

While discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) announcement of an exploratory committee for the 2008 presidential campaign on the January 21 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, CBS national political correspondent Gloria Borger noted that Clinton "could get 'Swift Boated' " through baseless allegations about her marriage to former President Bill Clinton, "in that sort of a sense where a third-party group" makes the allegations "and then the press makes believe, 'Oh, it's not our story, it's their story.' And then we cover it." Host and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz responded, "We're just repeating the charges." Read more

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