The top of this article seems fine as the reporter outlines the extraordinarily close recount race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. But boy, the piece completely falls apart as the Times' Christina Capecchi stuffs the second half of the dispatch with right-wing talk points presented by right-wing talking heads.
*The article quotes Coleman's election attorney who accuses the Franken camp of vote-counting ""shenanigans," but requires the attorney to provide not proof/examples.
*In addressing the fact that the Secretary of State overseeing the recount is a Democrat (last time we checked that was allowed), the Times reports that Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten traced the official's "ties to liberal Democratic groups."
The Times though, doesn't bother to note that Kersten is a right-winger who smeared Franken right before Election Day as a "slanderer of Christianity." She's hardly a source worth citing in the New York Times.
*Speaking of dubious sources, the Times also quotes Sean Hannity who claims there's some "fishy business" unfolding in Minnesota. This has been the right-wing mantra all week: Dems are trying to "steal" the Minnesota election. The proof? There is none, which means there's absolutely no reason for the newspaper to be legitimize that kinds of GOP conspiracy talk.
In total, the Times article quotes or references six Coleman supporters but just one Franken backer.
The Franken/Coleman recount is going to be a lengthy process. Let's hope the Times can improve its coverage.
The Politico falsely claimed that "[a] Democratic bill that would have blocked a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors fell just one vote short of the 60 it needed for passage Thursday." In fact, the vote in question was a cloture vote, which required a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster of a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill. The bill itself would have required a simple majority to pass.
Articles by the AP and The New York Times uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's labeling of Sen. Barack Obama as "the most liberal" senator without mentioning that the National Journal rankings to which McCain was referring did not offer a ranking for McCain himself because he "did not vote frequently enough" to receive one. They also did not mention that the ranking was based on subjectively selected votes, or that a separate study that considers all non-unanimous votes offers a notably different ranking for Obama.
Referring to criticism of President Bush by Dick Gephardt over rising gas prices, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "[G]as prices didn't start going through the roof till [Democrats] took over the House in 2006." In fact, average monthly gasoline prices (adjusted for inflation) began to climb several years before Democrats took control of Congress.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough stated that Sen. Barack Obama has "the most liberal record in the Senate, according to the National Journal," but he did not mention a respected, comprehensive vote study that found Obama was the 10th most liberal senator in 2007.
On Fox News, The Washington Examiner's Bill Sammon said of House Democrats' move to suspend the 60-day requirement for voting on the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement: "I call it more like the 'nuclear option,' because that's what the Democrats called the Republican threat to change the rules back when they were trying to get judges through." Sammon was referring to a 2005 Republican-proposed Senate rule change that would have effectively eliminated the ability to filibuster judicial nominations. But the term "nuclear option," as it pertains to judicial filibusters, was originally coined by Republican Sen. Trent Lott -- not by Democrats.
Discussing reports about Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Pat Buchanan asserted: "I don't have a problem with John McCain writing a letter there, depending on what he says in the letter," adding, "[B]ut McCain shouldn't be denying that, I don't think, because it seems to me that's in the normal course of business of a congressman." But contrary to his description of McCain's actions as "the normal course" for a congressman, the FCC chairman at the time criticized McCain for his request, calling it "highly unusual."
The Chicago Sun-Times uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's assertion that Sen. Barack Obama is "the most liberal Democrat in the United States Senate." However, the Sun-Times made no mention of the fact that the National Journal, which ranked Obama "the most liberal senator in 2007," said that McCain "did not vote frequently enough in 2007 to draw a composite score."
In an "analysis" of Sen. Barack Obama's response to a question about being rated the "most liberal senator" of 2007 by National Journal, FactCheck.org deputy director Viveca Novak claimed that "[t]he nonpartisan public policy magazine's analysis of the votes and the designation of 'liberal' and 'conservative' positions was done according to a rather rigorous process the publication has been using since 1981." In fact, National Journal editor Charles Green has admitted that the publication changed the methodology it had used in its 2003 ratings after it determined that the methodology that resulted in a "most liberal" senator ranking for 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry had been flawed.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane claimed that Sen. John McCain is "using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack" against Sen. Hillary Clinton. But in the same article, Kane contradicted his claim that McCain has a policy of "blanket opposition to earmarked spending," reporting: "McCain, who has helped lead efforts to strip some earmarks from Senate bills, has not focused on the money headed to his home state. Other Arizona lawmakers secured more than $214 million in pet projects in fiscal 2008 spending bills."
MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan claimed that if Sen. Barack Obama (IL) wins the Democratic presidential nomination, Republicans will "tear him apart because ... he has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate." Buchanan was presumably referencing the National Journal's 2007 vote rankings that claimed Obama was the "most liberal senator in 2007," but he did not mention that the Journal changed its methodology and has acknowledged a flaw in a previous vote rating. Buchanan also did not note a study that ranked Obama as tied with Sen. Joe Biden as the 10th "most liberal" senator last year.
The Washington Post and the Politico both noted the National Journal's rating of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as "the most liberal senator in 2007" without mentioning an admitted flaw in the Journal's 2003 rating of Sen. John Kerry as "the most liberal senator," or that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain did not receive a composite score in 2007 because he "missed more than half of the votes in both the economic and foreign-policy categories."
In his nationally syndicated column, echoing Rush Limbaugh's assertion that "if you look" at Sen. Barack Obama's legislative record, "you won't find a Senate bill with this name on it," Cal Thomas wrote that Obama has "no legislation he can point to that has his name on it." In fact, Obama was the primary sponsor of a bill in the 109th Congress to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo," signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and has so far introduced 55 bills in the current session of Congress.
Rush Limbaugh falsely asserted that if "you look at" the legislative record of Sen. Barack Obama, "you won't find a Senate bill with his name on it." In fact, Obama was the primary sponsor of a bill in the 109th Congress to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo," signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and has so far introduced 55 bills in the current session of Congress.
Echoing the false assertion in a Politico article that Democrats are "Zero for 40" on passing "bills limiting President Bush's war policy," CNN's Carol Costello reported, "Forty times Democrats have forced a vote to curtail the Iraq war and 40 times they've lost." In fact, in April, both the House and Senate passed war funding legislation that included a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal, which President Bush vetoed.