Monday, January 28, 2008

Media Matters Daily Summary 01-28-08

Hannity exaggerated Reagan's record on jobs, federal revenue
Sean Hannity exaggerated the number of jobs created under Ronald Reagan, asserting that "21 million new jobs" were created, and falsely claimed that Reagan "doubl[ed] the income for the federal government" and oversaw the "longest peacetime -- period of peacetime economic growth in history." In fact, the number of jobs increased by 16 million; federal revenue increased 15 percent; and the longest period of peacetime economic growth occurred between March 1991 and March 2001. Read More

Wash. Post falsely claimed government authority "to [s]py" will "expire" on Feb. 1
An item in The Washington Post, titled "Aye to Spy?" falsely claimed that "[t]he current FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] authorization will expire on Friday [February 1]." In fact, FISA does not "expire" on February 1; rather, the August 2007 revisions to FISA made through the Protect America Act are set to expire, but FISA will remain in effect. Read More

Boston Globe's Canellos on SC primary: "[A] lot of black women voted as blacks rather than as women"
Discussing the results of the January 26 South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, Boston Globe Washington bureau chief Peter Canellos said on C-SPAN's Washington Journal that the female vote in South Carolina "was a little bit skewed, obviously, because a lot of black women voted as blacks rather than as women in this case." Read More

Joe Klein on Bill Clinton in the White House: "[T]here's a kind of, something that's spiritually skeevy about it"
During the January 28 edition of MSNBC Live, Time columnist Joe Klein discussed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) presidential campaign and the possibility of the Clintons' return to the White House and said, "[T] the question of whether you want them back is -- it's not illegal, it's not unconstitutional, but there's a kind of, something that's spiritually skeevy about it, you know, having him [former President Bill Clinton] back in the White House." Read More

Beck said "to be consistent," Clinton should give Obama "5 percentage points" because of affirmative action
On the January 25 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck asserted: "[I]f [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] wants to be consistent, I believe, affirmative action, she should give [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL] an additional 5 percentage points just for the years of oppression." In the same discussion, National Public Radio commentator John Ridley said that "questions about 'Is Obama black enough?' " were "ridiculous." Beck responded by asking: "[C]an you imagine a white commentator saying that? Can you imagine if I said, 'Is Barack Obama black enough?' ... I don't see that man as black. Of course I do, because I'm not blind. I don't see him as black or white. He just is. He's an American. He's a man." Read More

York asserted that SC white men who did not vote for Clinton "voted against" her
In another example of a media figure asserting that primary or caucus voters who chose a candidate other than Sen. Hillary Clinton were thus rejecting her, National Review's Byron York asserted that in South Carolina, "72 percent of white men voted against" Clinton. York did not point to any evidence that the white men who voted for someone other than Clinton did so because they were "vot[ing] against her." Read More

Ariz. Republic, Fox News, WSJ repeated McCain's defense of vote against Bush tax cuts
Fox News and The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's claim that he originally voted against the Bush tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts. And in its endorsement of McCain, The Arizona Republic wrote that McCain "opposed the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 because they arrived with no commensurate spending cuts." But in a floor statement during the Senate debate on the 2001 tax cut bill, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief." Read More

USA Today editorial revived false claim that Obama "said he'd invade" Pakistan
A USA Today editorial falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "provoked needless controversy in Pakistan when he said he'd invade to chase terrorists if the Pakistanis did not." In fact, Obama did not say he would "invade" Pakistan; rather, he said, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Read More

CNN's Borger on McCain's mother: "[N]ow we know where [he] gets all the straight talk from"
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer aired a clip of Roberta McCain saying that she did not think her son, Sen. John McCain, "has any" support among the Republican base. Gloria Borger said, "[N]ow we know where McCain gets all the straight talk from. We think it's his mother." Both Borger and Blitzer went on to refer to McCain as a "maverick." Read More

Russert let McCain mislead on Clinton's Iraq withdrawal proposal
Tim Russert left unchallenged Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Hillary Clinton "would set a timetable within 60 days of withdrawal, complete withdrawal from Iraq." In fact, Clinton said that if she were to become president, "[W]e will start withdrawing within 60 days," and would continue to withdraw "one to two brigades a month" with the goal of having "nearly all the troops out by the end of the year [2009]," except for those necessary to "protect our embassy" and other "strategic interests." Read More

Fox News' Hill: Sen. Kennedy "is" the "hate speech and the partisanship that you've seen in Washington"
On Fox News, E.D. Hill, commenting on Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, said: "[T]his is Barack Obama, who has -- I mean on his website, you look at it and sort of the whole thing is devoted to 'I'm a man of change because I want to get away from all that -- the hate speech and the partisanship that you've seen in Washington.' Ted Kennedy, you know, is that." Hill, however, offered no examples or evidence of Kennedy's alleged "hate speech," and Google and Nexis searches turned up no examples of Obama using the term "hate speech" to describe the political climate or discourse in Washington. Read More

Wash. Post falsely claimed "three leading Democrats" in presidential race have "refus[ed] ... to acknowledge the indisputable military progress" in Iraq
Even though Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards have all acknowledged that the U.S. military has made progress in reducing the violence in Iraq, a Washington Post editorial asserted that "[t]he refusal of the [three leading Democratic presidential] candidates to acknowledge the indisputable military progress of the past year is troubling." Read More

Mitchell falsely suggested Giuliani "decided to skip all of the early primaries"
Apparently referring to Rudy Giuliani, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell asked: "[H]ypothetically, if you were a former New York mayor, a Republican who decided to skip all of the early primaries and just stay and wait for Florida, is that a good strategy?" In fact, Giuliani spent considerable time and money competing in New Hampshire and also had a campaign operation in Iowa. Read More

NY Times called McCain "the maverick flyboy of the Republican Party"
In a January 28 article headlined "McCain, Long a G.O.P. Maverick, Is Gaining Mainstream Support," New York Times reporter John M. Broder asked: "Is [Sen.] John McCain [AZ], the maverick flyboy of the Republican Party, becoming the candidate of the Republican establishment?" Broder wrote that McCain "has delighted in sticking his thumb in the eye of mainstream Republicans throughout his political career," but offered no support for this characterization. Broder is the latest in a long line of media figures who have applied the "maverick" label to McCain despite his rightward shift on high-profile issues such as immigration and the Bush tax cuts. Read More

Limbaugh compared Bill Clinton to segregationist "Bull" Connor
On the January 28 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh repeatedly referred to former President Bill Clinton as " 'Bull' Clinton," a reference to Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor, the segregationist public safety commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, who ordered that fire hoses and police attack dogs be used against protesters during the civil rights movement. Read More

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