Sean Hannity advanced Fox News' witch hunt against Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools director Kevin Jennings by calling for his firing after claiming, despite evidence to the contrary, that Jennings failed to report "statutory rape" in 1988. But following the revelation that then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert had likely been aware of emails between then-Rep Mark Foley (R-FL) and a congressional page, Hannity and other Fox News personalities defended Hastert, with Hannity, for instance, suggesting that Republican leaders were "innocent people" who were being "smeared."
A FoxNews.com article distorted a report about a meeting Obama administration officials had with artists, falsely claiming that the report indicated that the White House "convened" the meeting in order to "push the president's domestic agenda." In fact, it reportedly was the artists involved -- not the White House -- that originally requested the meeting, and the Fox News article itself stated that one of the co-authors of the report that the article cited "said there was absolutely no pressure on any of the artists to follow a political line."
The Associated Press reported that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) "faces a tough re-election fight next year after being embroiled in a sweetheart loan scandal and legislation that allowed bailed-out insurance giant AIG to pay out millions of dollars in employee bonuses." However, the AP ignored that Dodd was cleared of the charges by the Senate Ethics Committee in the "sweetheart loan scandal" and that the executive compensation amendment he proposed actually limited bonuses within institutions receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.
Sean Hannity and Karl Rove falsely claimed that President Obama made a campaign promise of "no earmarks." In fact, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not to end all earmarks.
Fox & Friends baselessly linked three purported "whistleblowers" as on-screen text claimed they were "silenced" by the Obama administration.
From the June 17 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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In an article about Ted Stevens' trial, The Washington Post asserted that Eric Holder must try "to remake the reputation of his department" but did not mention that "his" department's current reputation was forged under the Bush administration.
A couple weeks ago, Laura Bush's former press secretary used his perch as a reporter/blogger for the Los Angeles Times to hype the "tax troubles" of "Democrat[s] in Washington." Jumping off news that California Democratic Congressman Pete Stark saved nearly $4,000 in taxes by claiming his Maryland home as his primary residence, Andrew Malcolm wrote "taxes seem to be the problem de la saison for Washington Democrats." Malcolm then offered a laundry list of Democrats with tax problems.
Two days later, Roll Call reported that four House Republicans have been receiving the Washington, D.C., homestead exemption -- essentially the same tax controversy Stark faced. But, as I noted at the time, Malcolm ignored that news, perhaps because it was inconsistent with his portrayal of tax problems as unique to Democrats.
Now there's news that GOP Rep. Roy Blunt "may have erroneously received a homestead exemption for a $1.6 million residence in Georgetown."
But don't hold your breath waiting for Laura Bush's former press secretary to tell you about it.
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Credit ABC's Jonathan Karl and Luis Martinez for taking the time to actually look into the details surrounding Judicial Watch's comical claims this week about Nancy Pelosi's air travel; claims the Noise Machine mindlessly repeated.
The ABC duo concludes [emphasis added]:
The treasure trove of documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Department of Defense regarding Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's use of military aircraft doesn't seem to prove the organization's allegation that Pelosi has made "unprecedented demands" for the flights. In fact, it appears that Pelosi uses military aircraft less often than her predecessor, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
ABC found that virtually none of the Judicial Watch claims stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. Oh, don't act surprised.
UPDATE: Newsbusters plays dumb, ignoring the fact that the Bush White House and Pentagon demanded, after 9/11, that the Speaker of the House fly on military planes. The only way the pointless Judicial Watch story works is if you pretend it was all Pelosi's idea, which Newsbusters eagerly does:
The mainstream media has completely ignored Pelosi's diva-like demand for a $38 million (in 1998 dollars) luxury aircraft in which to fly home.
There's nothing in that sentence that's factual.
Citing a Congressional Quarterly article about the relationship between House members and lobbying firm The PMA Group, Sean Hannity falsely suggested that current or former House members who received PMA funds and inserted earmarks that benefited PMA clients into a 2007 bill are "all Democrats." In fact, according to CQ, 44 of 91 current or former House members who received campaign contributions from the PMA Group's political action committe or its employees from 2001-2008 and "secured earmarks for clients of The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations law," are Republicans.
Fox News' Bret Baier reported that an AP article "list[ed] a number of Democrats embroiled in ethical issues." But Baier did not point out any Republican public officials currently "embroiled in ethical issues."
The Politico uncritically reported Rep. Darrell Issa's charge that Rep. David Obey "failed to divulge that his son Craig," a senior vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association, "was lobbying him on the economic recovery package." The Politico did not note that Obey's office has denied that his son lobbied his committee or that the funding for parks was reportedly included by Rep. Norm Dicks.
Armstrong Williams' column in today's Washington Times features this passage:
For two consecutive election cycles, Republicans suffered humiliating losses because they couldn't grasp the weight of their corruptive ways and the bitterness it left with voters. Obama's team helped to blur that line last week, and today, the administration has lost the moral high ground.
"Moral high ground"? Armstrong Williams, you might recall, is most famous for taking secret payments from the government in exchange for using his platform as a "journalist" to promote government policies. The only thing Armstrong Williams knows about the "moral high ground" is that it's an awfully long way up.
Jonathan Chait has an interesting read in the upcoming edition of The New Republic that looks at, at least in part, the disparity in media coverage of the scandals involving the now-impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and the FBI-investigated-soon-to-be-former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman. For those of you not following the Coleman scandal, Chait's article offers a decent summary:
What, you say--Norm Coleman? Yes, Norm Coleman! Let me explain. The soon-to-be-former senator's scandal is pretty simple. Nasser Kazeminy, a wealthy businessman and close Coleman friend, allegedly paid him $75,000 under the table.
And by "allegedly," I mean "almost certainly." Here's how the almost certainly true alleged scheme worked. The payments to Coleman came in the form of what Tony Soprano would call a "no-show job." One of Kazeminy's companies is called Deep Marine Technology. Kazeminy allegedly ordered Deep Marine's CEO, Paul McKim, to make a series of $25,000 payments that would go to Coleman's wife. According to McKim, Kazeminy was utterly blatant. He said the reason for the payments was that Coleman needed the money and McKim should disguise them as a legitimate business transaction.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is the first many have heard of Coleman's predicament – as Chait notes, it has hardly registered in the national media:
Some differences in the scale of relative guilt do present themselves. In Coleman's defense, he's currently just a subject of an FBI investigation, while Blagojevich has been voted out of office. And, of course, Coleman hasn't been caught boasting about his scheme. On the other hand, Coleman is accused by a Houston businessman of having actually accepted illicit funds, while Blagojevich is merely being accused of harboring an intention to sell his Senate seat.
Now consider how the two stories have fared in the national press. Blagojevich has turned into the biggest crime story since O.J. Simpson. Can you guess how many articles about the Coleman scandal have appeared in the national media? One short wire story. When I bring up Coleman's scandals with my colleagues, many of whom follow politics for a living, invariably they have little or no idea what I'm talking about.
The national media have almost completely ignored the Coleman scandal but they've found plenty of time to misreport key aspects of the Minnesota recount and ensuing ballot disputes. Al Franken may be a former comedian but the real joke has been the national media's coverage of this Senate race.