Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Media Matters Daily Summary 07-30-08

CBS, NBC evening news broadcasts ignored IG report finding illegal actions in Justice Department hiring practices; ABC devoted less than 30 seconds
Evening news broadcasts on CBS and NBC failed to cover a new report finding that the actions of top aides in the Justice Department who used political considerations in hiring "violated federal law and Department policy, and also constituted misconduct." ABC's World News, meanwhile, devoted less than 30 seconds to the report. Despite the potential implications for U.S. counterterrorism efforts, all three networks ignored the finding that "an experienced career terrorism prosecutor" was denied a counterterrorism assignment while "a much more junior attorney who lacked any experience in counterterrorism issues and who officials believed was not qualified for the position" was hired instead. Read More

Harwood calls McCain's willingness to consider raising Social Security taxes -- contradicting "no new taxes" pledge -- "candor" and "truth-telling"
On MSNBC, John Harwood described Sen. John McCain's apparent willingness to consider raising Social Security taxes -- a reversal from his previously stated position that there would be "no new taxes" in a McCain administration -- as an example of McCain's engaging in "truth-telling" and "candor." Harwood added: "That's the Straight Talk Express, which people got to know so well about John McCain in 2000." Read More

Mike Gallagher pronounced Obamas "socialists," apparently because daughters get presents from Santa, not them
On Hannity & Colmes, Mike Gallagher falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama and his wife do not give Christmas and birthday presents to their daughters, saying it's "proof positive that this is a socialist family." Gallagher further claimed that as a result of what he falsely asserted was the Obamas' refusal to give their daughters birthday and Christmas presents, the Obamas' children "are going to have a lifetime of therapy" and are "going to wind up on a bell tower someday if we don't send them presents." Read More

In covering forthcoming anti-Obama books, will media repeat Swift Boat coverage mistakes?
Two books attacking Sen. Barack Obama are scheduled to be released in early August: The Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi -- co-author of Unfit for Command, which contains false and baseless attacks on Sen. John Kerry's military service -- and The Case Against Barack Obama, by David Freddoso. Regnery, publisher of The Case Against Barack Obama, touts the book as having the same "goal" as Unfit for Command, which Regnery also published. The overt connections between the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's scurrilous campaign against Kerry and the two forthcoming books raise the question for the media: Will they have absorbed the lessons of their highly flawed Swift Boat coverage and give more immediate and more thorough scrutiny to these forthcoming books? Read More

Fox News' Jarrett failed to challenge Energy Secretary's false claim that no "oil or gas [was] spilled" during Katrina, Rita
Fox news host Gregg Jarrett did not challenge the false assertion by U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman that "[w]hen we had Katrina and Rita, the two worst hurricanes in at least in recent memory, in '05, some three years ago, there was not one case where we had a -- a situation with oil or gas being spilled in the environment." In fact, according to a 2007 report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita resulted in 124 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of more than 17,000 barrels of petroleum. Read More

Savage still claiming autism comments taken out of context, despite his prior reference to "a phony disease"
Referring to Media Matters' documentation of comments in which he called autism "[a] fraud, a racket," Michael Savage said: "They're very happy that they were able to use the poor parents of autistic children to attack me when I in fact have been more supportive of the most vulnerable children in our population than anybody else in the history of radio. That's correct, me, Michael Savage." Savage went on to falsely claim that his comments about autism were taken of context, stating: "So what they did was they took a sound bite out of context and they used the poor parents of autistic children to attack me. That's very clever." Read More

IBD repeated falsehood that Obama bill would levy "Global Tax" on U.S. taxpayers
In an editorial, Investor's Business Daily falsely claimed that the Global Poverty Act of 2007, sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, "would force U.S. taxpayers to fork over 0.7% of our gross domestic product every year to fund a global war on poverty, spending well above the $16.3 billion in global poverty aid the U.S. already spends." In fact, the bill would establish no specific funding source and would not commit the United States to any targeted level of spending. Read More

Milbank accuses Obama of "hubris" while cropping quotes, making false insinuations, and neglecting basic reporting
In his Washington Post column, Dana Milbank claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee." As purported evidence, Milbank misrepresented quotes, neglected to do basic reporting, and advanced the baseless suggestion that actions Obama has reportedly taken are unprecedented for a presidential candidate. Read More

AP ignored McCain's shifting time frame for balancing budget, economists' reported skepticism of his plan to do so
The Associated Press uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's statement that "[a]s president, I have committed to balancing the budget by the end of my first term." The AP did not note that McCain and an economic adviser each reportedly said in April that he would need "eight years" to balance the budget, after he had pledged in February to balance the budget by the end of his first term. Nor did the AP mention that many economists and nonpartisan analysts have reportedly expressed skepticism about McCain's plan to balance the budget in four years. Read More

Tracking a smear: Obama "snubbed" wounded soldiers because there were no media or "cameras"
The claim that Sen. Barack Obama's campaign canceled a visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center because Obama could not bring the media along continued to drive media coverage, even after NBC News' Andrea Mitchell and others declared the allegation to be "false" or without factual basis. Media Matters chronicles the immediate emergence of an echo chamber perpetuating this smear, involving talk radio, conservative blogs, the McCain campaign, and the national media. Read More

Hannity falsely claimed Obama "abandon[ed] the troop visit because the cameras weren't ... allowed"
Sean Hannity falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama canceled a visit with wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center "because the cameras weren't ... allowed and the campaign wasn't allowed." But in discussing an ad by Sen. John McCain's campaign that makes the same claim, NBC's Andrea Mitchell stated, "The McCain commercial on this subject is completely wrong, factually wrong." Further, ABC's Jake Tapper and Time's Karen Tumulty both noted that McCain's campaign has provided "no evidence" to support the assertion that Obama canceled the visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras." Read More

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