Thursday, February 28, 2008

Media Matters Daily Summary 02-28-08

O'Reilly: "I don't see any difference between Huffington and the Nazis," KKK
While discussing comments posted to an item on The Huffington Post, Bill O'Reilly said of the website's founder, "Arianna Huffington, I have no respect for that woman. I think that she is hurting the country." O'Reilly asked: "[W]hat's the difference between the Ku Klux Klan and Arianna Huffington?" and later stated: "I don't see any difference between Huffington and the Nazis." O'Reilly frequently attacks those with whom he disagrees, comparing them to the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan. Read More

Russert continues pattern of misrepresenting facts in debate questions for Clinton
During the February 26 Democratic presidential debate, Tim Russert continued a pattern of asking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton questions that include false assertions of fact while suggesting that she is being inconsistent or not being forthcoming. Read More

Fox News' Centanni conflated the PAA with FISA
On America's Newsroom, Fox News' Steve Centanni conflated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with the Protect America Act, asserting that President Bush is "urging Congress, pushing Congress, to pass the extension of FISA, or what he calls the Protect America Act." In fact, the 1978 FISA law established the federal government's underlying statutory authority to eavesdrop on the communications of suspected terrorists, while the PAA, among other things, expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant. Read More

ABC's Moran asserted some Obama "friends" said his house purchase "looks like a sweetheart deal," but quoted no one saying that
On Nightline, Terry Moran reported, "The Obamas got the home [their house in Chicago] for $300,000 below the original asking price. To critics and even some friends, it looks like a sweetheart deal." Moran later added that Obama's campaign "insists that the Obamas' purchase and the Rezko purchase were not contingent on each other and were made at fair-market prices." But Moran cited no one saying the home purchase "looks like a sweetheart deal" and did not note that, according to Bloomberg News, "[t]he couple who sold Barack Obama his Chicago home said the Illinois senator's $1.65 million bid 'was the best offer' and they didn't cut their asking price because a campaign donor bought their adjacent land, according to e-mails between Obama's presidential campaign and the seller." Read More

WSJ uncritically reported McCain attack on Obama over public financing, ignored his loan
In reporting that Sen. John McCain "committed to public financing" and "slammed Mr. [Barack] Obama for hedging on his pledge to accept public financing in the general election," the Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler did not report that McCain is trying to opt out of the public financing system for his primary campaign, yet may not be able to do so because he obtained a loan in late 2007 that could have required him to remain an active candidate, whether or not he had any chance of winning, and apply for federal matching funds to repay the loan. Read More

Fox News' Powers asserted, "I would have just immediately denounced" Farrakhan -- but Obama did
While discussing Sen. Barack Obama's answers to Tim Russert's questions about Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at the February 26 Democratic presidential debate, Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers said: "If I was him, I would have just immediately denounced him." In fact, Obama did denounce Farrakhan's comments during the debate. Read More

CNN's John King again failed to note that Cunningham has a history of referring to Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama"
CNN's John King, reporting on the controversy created by radio host Bill Cunningham's comments about Barack Obama at a John McCain campaign event, again left out Cunningham's history of similar remarks. Read More

Wash. Post's Milloy mischaracterized Bill Clinton's "fairy tale" comment
The Washington Post's Courtland Milloy mischaracterized a comment by former President Bill Clinton to suggest that Clinton dismissed Sen. Barack Obama's presidential candidacy as a "fairy tale." In fact, in the comment Milloy cited -- "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen" -- Clinton was referring to Obama's statements about his position on the Iraq war. Read More

Misrepresenting debate question, Wash. Post said Obama "did not directly answer" a question about his pastor and Farrakhan
The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reported that during the Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama "disavowed an endorsement from [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan but did not directly answer a question about [Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah] Wright once having said that Farrakhan 'epitomizes greatness.' " In fact, the debate question Weisman referenced was not specifically about Wright's reported remarks on Farrakhan. Read More

Media reporting on McCain-Obama dispute over Iraq ignore previous McCain statements on Iraq as a potential "base for Al Qaeda"
Numerous media outlets have reported Sen. John McCain's criticism of Sen. Barack Obama's recent comments about Iraq and Al Qaeda, but they have neglected to report that McCain himself has made comments similar to those he criticized. Read More

Wash. Times falsely claimed Obama "urg[ed] the Bush administration to conduct air strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan without its approval"
A Washington Times article distorted Sen. Barack Obama's comments about targeting terrorists in Pakistan, falsely claiming that Obama "urg[ed] the Bush administration to conduct air strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan without its approval." Read More

NY Times again ignored its own reporting on McCain public funds waffling
The New York Times reported that "the McCain campaign stepped up its criticism" of Sen. Barack Obama over whether Obama will accept public financing for the general election if Sen. John McCain does the same. But the article did not mention the Times' own previous reporting that McCain has waffled about whether he would accept public financing in the general election. Read More

Scarborough, Brzezinski defended MSNBC from charges of "sexism" in political coverage
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough again defended Chris Matthews' controversial comments about Sen. Hillary Clinton, saying, "[W]hat Chris Matthews said is the same thing Maureen Dowd has been saying since 1998. ... Maybe he said it more bluntly, but to say, that's sexism?" Additionally, co-host Mika Brzezinski called criticism of MSNBC as sexist "unfair." Read More

Limbaugh defended Cunningham's use of Obama's middle name
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh defended Bill Cunningham's comments at a rally for Sen. John McCain in which Cunningham repeatedly referred to Sen. Barack Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama." Limbaugh reacted to the incident, saying, "Now, may I ask a simple question? Is that his name? It is. So why can't it be used?" Read More

Will MSNBC devote as much coverage to McCain's embrace of Hagee's support as it did to Obama's rejection of Farrakhan?
On February 27, MSNBC devoted significant coverage to an exchange from the most recent Democratic presidential debate in which NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert repeatedly questioned Sen. Barack Obama about praise he received from controversial minister Louis Farrakhan, whose statements Obama has denounced. The same day, Pastor John Hagee -- who has made controversial comments about homosexuality, Islam, Catholicism, and women -- endorsed Sen. John McCain, who embraced Hagee's support. Hagee's endorsement and McCain's response to it raise the question of whether MSNBC will report on them as extensively as it did on Farrakhan's praise. Read More

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