Elections

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  • CBS devoted 5 minutes to "lipstick," other McCain attacks before reporting that "lipstick" attack was bogus

    ››› ››› LILY YAN

    The CBS Evening News devoted five minutes, in two segments, to the back-and-forth between the campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama over Obama's September 9 "lipstick" remark and other McCain attacks before CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante reported of the "lipstick" comments: "The facts: Obama had not mentioned Palin. He was focused on the central argument of his campaign -- that McCain's policies would be no different than President Bush's."

  • Quinn & Rose's Rose, whose co-host referred to NOW as the "National Organization for Whores," called Obama a "sexist pig"

    ››› ››› GREG JOHNSON

    On the Quinn & Rose radio show, co-host Rose Tennent claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's remark regarding Sen. John McCain's policies, "[Y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig," was directed at Gov. Sarah Palin. After saying she was "offended" and "appalled" by Obama's remark, Tennent stated, "You know what, you're a pig, you're a chauvinist pig is what you are, Barack." On previous shows, Tennent's co-host Jim Quinn introduced a segment about Sen. Hillary Clinton by playing the song "The Bitch Is Back" and referred to the National Organization for Women as the "National Organization for Whores."

  • Howard Fineman can read minds

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT & MARK BOCHKIS

    Specifically, Clinton minds. It's quite a skill: "I know, the Clintons are difficult to deal with and probably hope Obama fails."

    Both Bill and Hillary are campaigning for Obama. But according to Fineman, they actually want him to lose. Talk about an historical race.

  • Boston Globe ignored Swift backtrack from charge that Obama compared Palin to a pig

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    The Boston Globe reported that former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift "led the Republican charge" that Sen. Barack Obama's "lipstick" comment regarding Sen. John McCain's policies was "an echo of [Gov. Sarah] Palin's joke during her convention speech." But Swift did more than charge that Obama's statement was "an echo" of Palin's joke; she actually accused Obama of calling Palin a pig. Then the next day, she backtracked from that accusation. The Globe reported neither the direct accusation nor the backtrack.

  • Limbaugh distorted NBC report to baselessly suggest audience chanted, "No more pit bull," in response to Obama's " 'lipstick on a pig' joke"

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ & GREG LEWIS

    Cropping and distorting a report by NBC News' Lee Cowan, Rush Limbaugh baselessly suggested that the audience at Sen. Barack Obama's September 9 campaign event in Virginia chanted, "No more pit bull," a reference to Gov. Sarah Palin, in response to what Limbaugh called Obama's " 'lipstick on a pig' joke." In fact, Cowan was reporting live from the Virginia event at which Obama made his "lipstick" remarks and said: "[A]t an Obama rally we were at earlier today in Michigan, the crowd actually started chanting 'No more pit bulls.' "

  • The Times blames the Internet

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Try to follow this logic:

    There's no question that Senator Obama did not refer to Gov. Sarah Palin as a pig during his talk last night in Virginia. Although the allusion to lipstick within a week of Ms. Palin's popular line at the Republican convention has prompted a great deal of chatter around the Internet.

    So according to the Times, there's no way anyone could suggest that Obama was referring to Palin with his pig comment. No way. But what created the chatter on the Internet was Palin's previous reference at the convention.

    Um, no.

    First of all, the incessant chatter about the comment has been coming not from the Internet but from the mainstream press, and especially cable television, which won't stop talking about the non-story. (See below.)

    And second, what actually prompted the story were erroneous suggestions by reporters at AP, WSJ, and ABC, among others, who claimed the candidate was referring to Palin; claims based solely on the ability of reporters to read the candidate's mind since he made no verbal references to Palin at the time. That in turn was pounced on by the McCain camp as proof of a personal attack.

    This whole episode has been a journalism disgrace. The Times' attempt to blame this non-story on the Internet just adds to the misery.

  • NBC's Mitchell aired Swift's accusation that Obama compared Palin to a pig, but not her backtrack the next day

    ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

    On NBC's Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell reported former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift's assertion on September 9 that when Sen. Barack Obama said at a rally that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig," he made "disgraceful comments comparing our vice-presidential nominee, Governor [Sarah] Palin, to a pig." However, Mitchell did not report that on September 10 on NBC's sister channel, MSNBC, Swift admitted, "I can't know if it was aimed at Governor Palin."

  • MSNBC's Brewer and PolitiFact's Adair did not note that McCain falsely claimed Palin "sold" jet on eBay and "made a profit"

    ››› ››› MEREDITH ADAMS

    On MSNBC, PolitiFact.com's Bill Adair said that Gov. Sarah Palin's claim to have put a jet airplane owned by the state of Alaska on the Internet auction site eBay was true and noted that "[t]he state was unsuccessful selling it on eBay, and they had to hire an aircraft broker to sell it, ended up selling it for considerably less than the state had paid for it." However, neither Adair nor Contessa Brewer noted that Sen. John McCain falsely claimed that Palin "took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay. And made a profit."

  • Despite long history of political "lipstick" references, AP's Pickler linked Obama's to Palin's

    ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN, JEREMY SCHULMAN, LILY YAN & JOCELYN FONG

    The AP's Nedra Pickler wrote that "lipstick" has become "a political buzzword, thanks to" Gov. Sarah Palin's "joke in her acceptance speech that lipstick is the only thing that separates a hockey mom like her from a pit bull," and suggested that therefore Palin's joke had something to do with Sen. Barack Obama's reference to "lipstick on a pig." Yet Obama had previously used the expression in this campaign -- before Palin's reference to lipstick at the RNC -- and as Pickler noted in the same article, Sen. John McCain himself has used it. Indeed, the expression, and similar ones, has been used by politicians for years.

  • Hemmer on Fox News' treatment of Obama's faith: "No one here is promulgating untrue rumors about anyone's faith"

    ››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

    On America's Newsroom, in response to Sen. Barack Obama's statement that false rumors are "being promulgated on Fox News" about his purported "Muslim connections," Bill Hemmer asserted that "[n]o one here is promulgating untrue rumors about anyone's faith." In fact, Fox News hosts have repeatedly promoted false reports about Obama's religion, including the false report that Obama was educated in a madrassa.

  • CNN's Foreman falsely claimed McCain was "getting Barack Obama's record right" on military spending

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    CNN's Tom Foreman falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain was "getting Barack Obama's record right" when McCain claimed that "during the primary" Obama told the group Caucus4Priorities "that he would cut defense spending by tens of billions of dollars"; Foreman also falsely suggested that Obama has only recently begun to advocate "increasing the size" of the military. In fact, Obama told Caucus4Priorities that he would cut "tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending," not overall defense spending, and Obama repeatedly said during the primary season that he would increase the size of the military.

  • MSNBC's Brewer aired McCain attack ad without noting its falsehoods

    ››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

    Contessa Brewer aired a clip of a McCain campaign ad without noting that the clip falsely suggests that Sen. Barack Obama was behind "attacks on Governor [Sarah] Palin" that have been called "completely false" and "misleading" by FactCheck.org. In fact, while FactCheck.org stated that many "dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages" about Palin are "completely false, or misleading," it made no reference to the Obama campaign. Further, Brewer did not note that the Obama campaign has reportedly denied the ad's second claim, that "Obama airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers into Alaska to dig dirt on Governor Palin."

  • Fox's Cameron: Obama "run[s] the risk of appearing a little bit arrogant" if he doesn't offer "lipstick on a pig" apology

    ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Fox News' Carl Cameron claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "run[s] the risk of appearing a little bit arrogant" if he doesn't offer an apology for his "lipstick on a pig" comment. Cameron made the comment even though he twice stated during the program that the McCain campaign's complaints about Obama's comment may amount to "crocodile tears."

  • KSFO's Sussman suggested Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment may be his Muslim father's "genetic DNA welling up inside of him"

    ››› ››› NATHAN TABAK

    On The Lee Rodgers Show, a caller suggested that Sen. Barack Obama's remark that "you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" was directed at Gov. Sarah Palin and said: "[I]t's a little indicative of a Muslim attitude towards women that's creeping up, you know, and he just can't help but say it, how he feels." Brian Sussman responded: "Well, there's no question that Muslims, at least the religious ones, look at women as second-class citizens. ... I don't know if it was his father's genetic DNA welling up inside of him or not, but I'll tell you something: It was stupid."

  • NBC Washington bureau chief discussed McCain campaign's, but not media's, ability to "driv[e] the news cycle"*

    ››› ››› MEREDITH ADAMS

    NBC News Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker said that the controversy over Sen. Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment "seems like a frivolous story" but it is "important to watch" because it's an example of "how good the McCain campaign is at ... driving the news cycle day after day." He did not acknowledge the media's responsibility in choosing what they cover.*