Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Media Matters for America February 13, 2007

Beck: Obama is "colorless ... he might as well be white"
On the February 12 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Glenn Beck featured Philadelphia-based conservative radio host Dom Giordano, who claimed that "the mainstream media has dubbed [Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)] to be African-American" and said, "If you start to, you know, delve around the edges, say, 'Wait a minute, isn't he mixed race? Weren't we told that last year?' Or whatever, biracial. Not allowed to say that anymore." Beck responded by saying "he's very white in many ways," adding, "Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, 'What does he mean, "He's very white?" ' He is. He's very white." Read more

Kurtz suggested no Republican candidate has hired "outrageous" blogger -- what about McCain?On CNN, Howard Kurtz suggested that no Republican presidential candidate has hired "conservative bloggers who have said some outrageous things." In doing so, Kurtz overlooked Sen. John McCain's hiring of conservative blogger Patrick Hynes, who has made numerous inflammatory statements regarding religion and Democrats. Read more

Spinonymous: CNN granted Bush official anonymity to criticize Obama
On the February 11 edition of CNN Newsroom, during a report on Australian Prime Minister John Howard's criticism of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Democrats concerning their statements on the Iraq war, CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry cited "one official," who he said "weighed in with support for the Australian," but CNN identified him on screen only as a "senior Bush administration official." Read more

NY Times weblog reprinted Allen's false suggestion that Obama flip-flopped on the origin of his name
In a February 9 entry in the New York Times political weblog The Caucus, reporter Kate Phillips linked to Politico chief political correspondent Mike Allen's February 9 article on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), excerpting a section in which, as Media Matters for America documented, Allen falsely suggested that Obama has been dishonest about the origin of his name, asking, "Why has he sometimes said his first name is Arabic, and other times Swahili?" Read more

CNN did not challenge GOP guest who said Clinton camp "possibly" behind Obama-madrassa smear
During a discussion on the February 10 edition of CNN Newsroom about Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) announcement that he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Republican strategist Amy Holmes repeated the baseless smear that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) may have been behind the discredited claim in a story posted on InsightMag.com that Obama attended a madrassa in his youth. After host Fredricka Whitfield asked Holmes and Democratic strategist Jenny Backus about the "possibility that we're going to see a fight between" Clinton and Obama, Holmes answered that "the phony madrassa story seemed to have possibly originated in the Hillary campaign." Backus said, "I think that was knocked down." Holmes then said: "I think that Jenny's being a little overly optimistic. Politics ain't beanbag, and Hillary's not going to let Obama roll over her." Whitfield ended the segment, saying, "Amy Holmes, you get the last word." Read more

Politico falsehood: Obama never sponsored "any legislation that would affect the way Americans live their daily lives"
In a February 12 article in The Politico on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) "peevish" comments "accus[ing] the media of ignoring his substantive record and falsely depicting him as a lightweight," senior political writer Ben Smith claimed that Obama "hasn't sponsored any legislation that would affect the way Americans live their daily lives." Yet, as Media Matters for America has noted, Obama was the primary sponsor of 152 bills and resolutions introduced in the last Congress. These included bills to create a federal standard for renewable diesel fuel (S.1426), to improve benefits and services for members of the armed forces and veterans (S.3988), and to direct the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to establish guidelines for tracking spent fuel rods (S.1194). Read more

Carlson: Clinton's message to Iraqis is, "Go ahead and eat each other, we're leaving"
During his "Tucker Op-Ed" segment of the February 12 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson appeared to accuse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and "[j]ust about every prominent liberal in the Senate" of hypocrisy for urging President Bush to do more in Darfur while opposing the war in Iraq. Carlson claimed: "If the activist left has its way, U.S. troops would soon head to Africa to stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur. ... Putting American lives at risk to avert humanitarian disaster? This is something that Hillary Clinton and her fellow liberals have categorically rejected in Iraq." Continuing, Carlson asserted: "Their message to suffering Iraqis is simple. Go ahead and eat each other, we're leaving." Read more

Matthews claimed Gore is an "elitist from the Northeast"
On the February 11 edition of NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, host Chris Matthews claimed that, if the Democratic Party "do[esn't] bring in some elitist from the Northeast [as the party's 2008 presidential nominee], which you had ... the last two times," Democrats "may well carry the country." Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic nominee for president in 2000, is not from the Northeast. Gore was a senator from Tennessee when he successfully ran as the vice presidential nominee in 1992. Read more

Contradicting prior reporting, AP said Obama attended Muslim school as a child
In a February 11 article, the Associated Press reported that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) spent "his childhood years in the Muslim faith" and that "Obama's religious background has come under scrutiny because he attended a Muslim school in Indonesia from age 6 to 10." The article, which contradicts the AP's own reporting, as well as Obama's statements, follows the discredited claim that Obama attended a madrassa in his youth, an allegation first made in an article by InsightMag.com. Read more

O'Reilly ousted as keynote speaker by National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
As noted on the February 9 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children announced that it has replaced Fox News host Bill O'Reilly as keynote speaker at an upcoming fundraiser for the organization. Countdown host Keith Olbermann reported: "Bill O'Reilly, the keynote speaker at next month's $500-per-person fundraiser for the Naples, Florida, chapter of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, is tonight no longer the keynote speaker at next month's $500-per-person fundraiser for the Naples, Florida, chapter of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children." Read more

GMA's Cuomo echoed false Bush claim that Samarra bombing "touched off the sectarian bloodletting" in Iraq
On the February 12 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, co-anchor Chris Cuomo asserted that "the bombing of a Shiite shrine touched off the sectarian bloodletting" in Iraq. Referring to the February 2006 bombing -- reportedly by Al Qaeda -- of the prominent Al Askariya Shiite mosque in Samarra, Iraq, Cuomo echoed numerous claims from high-level Bush administration officials, including President Bush himself, that the Samarra mosque bombing set off what Bush called "a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today." In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, while the situation in Iraq has significantly worsened since the Samarra mosque bombing, sectarian violence throughout Iraq before the incident was already substantial and rising. Read more

Russert failed to challenge Boehner's misleading claim on Pelosi jet
On the February 11 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert let go unchallenged House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) misleading claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked for a "bigger plane" to fly to and from her district because she wanted "supporters and friends and others" to join her. Boehner said "concerns were elevated ... when she started to talk about taking family, staff, the supporters, and other members on her trip with her." In fact, Pelosi said, "It has nothing to do with family and friends, and everything to do about the security." The House sergeant at arms wrote that it was his recommendation that Pelosi fly in a military aircraft "that is capable of making nonstop flights" to and from her district, "unless such an aircraft is unavailable." As Media Matters for America previously documented, Pelosi's staff has stated she "will not use the plane for political travel." Read more

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