Thursday, October 16, 2008

Media Matters Daily Summary 10-16-08

CNN's Bennett asked of Lewis' statement about McCain campaign, "Why didn't Obama say it was wrong?" -- but Obama did
During postdebate coverage, Bill Bennett asked, "Why didn't [Sen. Barack] Obama say it was wrong?" -- referring to a statement by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) that invoked George Wallace. In fact, during the debate, Obama said of Lewis' statement, "I do think that he inappropriately drew a comparison between what was happening there and what had happened during the civil rights movement, and we immediately put out a statement saying that we don't think that comparison is appropriate." Read More

CNN's Bash noted that McCain will continue to claim Obama is "going to raise your taxes" -- but not that it isn't true
CNN's Dana Bash noted that Sen. John McCain "is going to try to hit much more on the idea" that Sen. Barack Obama is "going to raise your taxes," but not that the claim misrepresents Obama's tax plan. Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families. Read More

Wash. Post uncritically quoted McCain misrepresenting Biden's proposal for Iraq
The Washington Post uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's claim during the final presidential debate that Sen. Joe Biden had "this cockamamie idea about dividing Iraq into three countries." In fact, Biden introduced a plan to "[m]aintain a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis breathing room in their own regions." Read More

MSNBC's Hall said "it would be rude to ask Joe [the Plumber] what his income is" -- but it's key issue
Discussing Sam Joe Wurzelbacher ("Joe the Plumber") on MSNBC Live, Tamron Hall said that "according to the federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for a plumber: $45,000. ... I think it would be rude to ask Joe what his income is." But Wurzelbacher's income -- or expected income -- is the issue in determining the veracity of McCain's charge that Wurzelbacher's taxes would increase under Sen. Barack Obama's tax plan.
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Media revive pattern of reporting on alleged "voter fraud" concerns, despite lack of evidence
Media outlets have revived the cyclical practice of highlighting allegations by conservatives of voter fraud, and the primary target of most recent allegations appears to be ACORN, over reports that some people hired by ACORN have submitted false or redundant registration forms. The media are devoting great attention to these charges, even though in past election cycles, charges of voter fraud have largely proven empty. Read More

MSNBC's Shuster's suggestion that Obama "bear[s] a certain responsibility to clarify" Jackson's Israel remarks is based on false distinction
MSNBC's David Shuster baselessly suggested Sen. Barack Obama "bear[s] a little bit of responsibility" for Jesse Jackson's reported comments about how U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would change under an Obama administration -- even though Jackson is not part of the Obama campaign -- because during the previous debate, Shuster said, Sen. John McCain was "pretty clear" in answering the question of whether the U.S. would commit troops to Israel if it was attacked by Iran, whereas Obama was not. In fact, Obama and McCain gave similar responses in key respects.
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Scarborough misquoted Obama regarding Lewis remarks, then called the statement Obama didn't make "shocking" and "staggering"
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama said during the October 15 presidential debate that Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) "drew appropriate comparisons" in a statement invoking George Wallace and a church bombing in criticizing "the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign." In fact, Obama said that Lewis "inappropriately drew a comparison between what was happening [at McCain-Palin rallies] and what had happened during the civil rights movement, and we immediately put out a statement saying that we don't think that comparison is appropriate" [emphasis added]. Read More

In two separate items, Wash. Post misled on Obama's response to Lewis statement
In two separate items, The Washington Post reported John McCain's accusation in the October 15 presidential debate that Sen. Barack Obama failed to repudiate comments by Rep. John Lewis without noting that Obama responded by pointing out that his campaign did, in fact, issue a statement saying that Lewis' invocation of George Wallace in criticizing the McCain-Palin ticket was not appropriate. Read More

CNN's Amy Holmes falsely asserted that in first debate, Obama said "he would sacrifice ... energy policy"
CNN's Amy Holmes falsely suggested that during the first presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama "said the first thing he would sacrifice is energy policy," when he was asked what he would sacrifice in his "spending plans." In fact, Obama cited "energy independence" as the first example in a list of "things" that he said "have to be done." Read More

CNN reports leave out relevant facts on ACORN voter registration allegations
From October 6 through October 15, CNN aired at least 54 segments mentioning allegations that ACORN submitted allegedly false or duplicate voter registration applications this year in a number of states. However, only one of those segments mentioned both of the following two relevant points: 1) that the statutes of most of those states require third parties registering prospective voters to submit all registration forms they receive; and 2) that actual instances of illegal votes being cast as a result of registration fraud are extremely rare. Of the 54 CNN segments addressing the allegations against ACORN, two mentioned only the former of those two points, while one mentioned just the latter. Read More

Lou Dobbs falsely claimed 40 percent of working Americans "don't pay taxes"
While talking about Sen. Barack Obama's tax plan, Lou Dobbs falsely asserted that "just about 40 percent of all Americans -- working Americans -- don't pay taxes." In fact, all American workers are required to pay taxes on their wages for Social Security and Medicare, and people in the United States are also subject to excise taxes. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office found that the average effective federal tax rate for households in the lowest quintile of income earners in 2005 was 4.3 percent, while the second lowest quintile paid an average effective rate of 9.9 percent that year. Read More

Radio host Bob Grant asserted that Obama created an " 'O' flag," but apparent flag in question was Ohio's
Radio host Bob Grant asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars[.] He has the 'O' flag." However, the flag to which Grant apparently referred was actually the Ohio state flag. Read More

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