The Washington Post uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Barack Obama "would raise taxes." In fact, the Tax Policy Center concluded that, compared with McCain, "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers" -- those households earning more than $250,000 per year.
We wrote about this last week; how right-wing bloggers, led by the mighty Jawa Report, set out to uncover the trivial mystery of who was behind a long-forgotten anti-Palin clip on YouTube.
We filled out our critique (here it is) and put it into context with regards to how far the bloggers have fallen since 2004, when they were toasting their CBS Memogate scandal.
Sammon, who helped gin up phony stories about Al Gore during the 2000 campaign, raises doubts about a story Biden has told in the past about a fact-finding visit to Afghanistan he made last winter, and how the helicopter he was traveling in was forced down in the mountains there.
Sammon includes the Biden anecdote in his article at Fox News online because he's trying to support a larger narrative that Biden has been making up, or exaggerating, stories about his military-based travels overseas. And that Biden has "raised eyebrows" with his Afghanistan story.
Here's Sammon quoting Biden:
"If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me," Biden bragged to the National Guard Association. "Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are."
Having set the trap, Sammon then pounced: "But it turns out that inclement weather, not terrorists, prompted the chopper to land in an open field during Biden's visit to Afghanistan in February. [Emphasis added.]
Why the "but" at the beginning of the sentence, though? Go back and read Biden's description and see if he ever said he was forced down because of terrorists. Clearly he never made that claim. Even Sammon conceded, "Biden never explicitly claimed his chopper had been forced down by terrorists."
So what, exactly, was Sammon's point? The point seemed to be that Sammon caught Biden not saying something he never said.
The New York Post reported that "Barack Obama apparently broke his promise to the family of a fallen Wisconsin soldier when he mentioned the slain sergeant's name in his Friday debate with Sen. John McCain." The article added that "Brian Jopek, the father of the late Ryan David Jopek, told National Public Radio in March that the family asked Obama to stop wearing his son's bracelet, but the Illinois senator continued to do so." However, the Post provided no evidence that Obama ever "promise[d]" the Jopek family that he would "stop wearing" Ryan Jopek's bracelet. In fact, during the March 20 interview, Brian Jopek made no such claim.
In the revised version of his book Stealing Elections, John Fund claims that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now "runs something called 'Camp Obama,' which trains campaign volunteers in the same tactics that Obama honed as a community organizer." In the "Notes" section of the book, Fund attributes this assertion to a Chicago Sun-Times article, but the article does not link "Camp Obama" to ACORN -- indeed, it does not mention ACORN at all. Moreover, "Camp Obama" reportedly was established and run by the Obama campaign.
A McClatchy article stated that Sen. John McCain "appeared before the press in Iowa ... and said: 'Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship in the process.' " But the article did not note that in the next sentence of the same speech, McCain contradicted himself on whether it was appropriate to affix blame, saying: "Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem."
We realize we're entering pet peeve territory with this topic, but we can continue to be amazed that reporters seem blind to the idea that having the first presidential debate on a Friday night pretty much guaranteed that viewership would be, relatively, soft.
The New York Times is latest to look right past the obvious.
ABCNews.com's Terry Davis and Rigel Anderson reported that "[Sen. John] McCain's top policy adviser hammered [Sen. Barack] Obama for a set of prepared remarks which incorrectly assumed that the bailout would pass," but they did not note that both McCain and another key McCain campaign adviser prematurely touted McCain's role in achieving passage of the bill.
That's what sources tell Gawker the newspaper's owner did. They say the piece was seen as "an embarrassment," which was why no writers would put their names to it. Instead, the byline read, "Daily News Political Editors."
On Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC's Tom Brokaw allowed McCain strategist Steve Schmidt to falsely claim that John McCain had called for Don Rumsfeld to be fired. That's an old lie that the McCain campaign had abandoned long ago -- but Brokaw let Schmidt get away with bringing it back.
Even worse, Brokaw ended the segment by announcing -- "in fairness to everybody here" -- that the "latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll" found that John McCain "continues" to lead Barack Obama on the question of who is "best-equipped to be commander in chief."
Yesterday, Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars pointed out that the numbers Brokaw read did not, in fact, appear in the "latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll."
Now MoveOn says they contacted NBC -- and "it turns out Brokaw was referring to a poll taken weeks ago--right after the Republican convention and well before Friday's big national security debate. And in each of NBC's last two polls, Americans chose Obama over McCain."
MoveOn thinks Brokaw should apologize.
That's a good first step. He might also want to figure out a way to reassure the public that he'll do a better -- and more fair -- job when he moderates the October 7 presidential debate.
He probably won't spend much time doing that, though -- his days are apparently pretty full acting as NBC's liaison to the McCain campaign. In that role, Brokaw works to assure the McCain camp that "Mr. McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News."
After Brokaw's performance on Sunday, NBC should be scrambling to assure the Obama campaign of the same thing.
During an interview with CBS on Monday, John McCain complained about "gotcha" reporting. He was referring to the fact that journalists over the weekend at a campaign event overheard Sarah Palin answer a question from a voter regarding her position about Pakistan. It was a position that seemed to differ with McCain's.
When Katie Couric brought up the incident, McCain denounced the incident as "gotcha" journalism because Palin had been speaking with a voter.
That strikes us as odd. Because Palin pretty much refuses to answer question from reporters on the campaign trail, that leaves them little option but to seek out her exchanges with voters. Or does the McCain camp consider entire campaign events to be off the record for reporters?
When Barack Obama made controversial comments to supporters at a fundraiser and they were reported online in April, his campaign did not complain about "gotcha" journalism. And when Bill Clinton was taped on a campaign event rope line attacking Vanity Fair, the Clinton campaign did not complain about "gotcha" journalism.
According to today's NYT article, Brokaw has served as a point person between NBC and the McCain campaign; the guy who helped smooth over ruffled feathers.
Is that really what the host of MTP should be doing off-camera?
CNN's Tom Foreman falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain "has always said" allowing young people to set up private Social Security accounts "is not instead of Social Security; this should be in addition to Social Security." In fact, McCain supported President Bush's 2005 Social Security proposal, which would have allowed workers to divert up to 4 percent of their wages into a private account, thereby removing it from the money available to pay Social Security benefits for current retirees.
On MSNBC Live, Andrea Mitchell followed Contessa Brewer in airing a heavily cropped version of former President Bill Clinton's remarks on Meet the Press in which Clinton seemingly declined to respond in the affirmative when asked by Meet the Press host Tom Brokaw if he would say he "admire[s]" Sen. Barack Obama and "think[s] he's a ... great man." Mitchell called Clinton's comments "hardly an endorsement" of Obama and "not as effusive as you would expect." But Mitchell did not air or otherwise note Clinton's statements moments later that he "certainly admire[s]" Obama and that Obama's "greatness will ... become apparent" when he is elected president.