Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Media Matters for America

AP: Obama "scoffs at suggestions of Muslim leanings because he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia"

In a July 30 Associated Press article on the religious backgrounds of the 2008 presidential candidates, reporter Tom Raum wrote that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), "whose middle name is 'Hussein' -- scoffs at suggestions of Muslim leanings because he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. He is a member of the United Church of Christ." Raum gave no indication as to what "suggestions of Muslim leanings" encompass, but previous allegations that Obama was a practicing Muslim as a child in Indonesia and attended a "madrassa" have been refuted, respectively, by the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press itself. Read more

LA Times article contradicts author's analysis that Dems don't want to talk "about al Qaeda or terrorism"

In a July 29 article, Los Angeles Times staff writer Doyle McManus asserted: "It's easy to tell the difference between the two parties on foreign policy in this presidential campaign. The Democrats all want to talk about getting out of Iraq, but not so much about Al Qaeda or terrorism. The Republicans all want to talk about terrorism, but not so much about Iraq." McManus also reported a "chasm between the two parties' worldviews, one focused on battling the threat of radical Islam, the other on ending the war."

McManus claimed that this was a "problem" that both parties face because "most Americans want answers to both questions, not just one or the other." But later in the article, McManus undermined his own statement that the Democratic presidential candidates "all want to talk about getting out of Iraq, but not so much about Al Qaeda or terrorism": He acknowledged that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "talks about terrorism as a priority"; that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "also talks about terrorism, but puts his emphasis more strongly on diplomacy"; and that former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) "has staked out distinct positions on both Iraq and terrorism." Read more

Wash. Post reported Republican claim of "do-nothing" Congress, ignored GOP "obstructionist" strategy

In a July 30 article discussing a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman wrote that negative congressional approval ratings "have buoyed Republicans as they attack what they call a Democratic 'Post Office Congress' -- unable to accomplish much more than renaming federal buildings" and that "[o]ne GOP tactic is to slap a 'do-nothing' label on Democrats."

Weisman went on to quote Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claiming that Democrats have "apparently squandered whatever political capital they may have achieved with the American people last November the 7th in a record short period of time." But while Weisman noted that Democrats "have passed half" of their "6 for '06" domestic legislative agenda, he left out the role of Senate Republicans in blocking Democratic initiatives, which they have done at an unprecedented rate -- apparently as part of what Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) has described as an "obstructionist" strategy.
Read more

Purporting to document Pollack's evolving views on Iraq, CNN left out his original gung-ho Iraq "tune"

During the July 30 edition of CNN Newsroom, anchor Heidi Collins introduced Kenneth Pollack of The Brookings Institution by saying that Pollack "has been a vocal critic of the administration's handling of the [Iraq] war, but he says that an eight-day visit has changed his outlook a bit."

Collins also said that Pollack's "tune is changing a bit" with respect to the war. Pollack went on to discuss how a recent visit to Iraq has left him "more optimistic" about the war. However, while focusing on Pollack's criticisms of the "handling" of the war, Collins failed to note that Pollack was an influential proponent of the Iraq invasion before it happened, leaving viewers with the impression that Pollack was a war opponent who has become more supportive of the war. Pollack's 2002 book on the subject was titled The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (Random House). Read more

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