One day after NBC's Katie Couric chided Howard Dean for saying that Democratic lawmakers received no campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff, Matt Lauer said that "technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct." In fact, Dean was correct and Couric was wrong.
One day after NBC's Today co-host Katie Couric chided Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean for saying that Democratic lawmakers received no campaign contributions from former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, her co-host Matt Lauer issued a non-correction, saying that "technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct." In fact, Dean was correct and Couric was wrong. There is no evidence to suggest Democrats received campaign contributions from Abramoff directly.
On the January 26 edition of Today, Couric challenged Dean's assertion that only Republicans received money from Abramoff directly by falsely claiming that "Democrats took money from Jack Abramoff, too, Mr. Dean." She cited data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) to support her claim. As Media Matters for America has noted, the CRP database of campaign contributions offers no evidence to suggest Democrats received money from Abramoff directly. When Dean corrected Couric, she replied: "Well, we will obviously have to look into that and clarify that for our viewers at a ... later date."
On the January 27 edition of Today, instead of noting Couric's false statement and acknowledging her error, Lauer said that "Katie pressed" Dean on his comments and added "technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct." Lauer cited the same CRP data that, presumably, Couric had pointed to the previous day.
From the January 27 edition of NBC's Today:
LAUER: Howard Dean was on this program yesterday and asserted, basically, that it is a Republican scandal. Let me play you a clip.
DEAN [video clip]: It is a Republican-financed scandal. Not one dime of money from Jack Abramoff ever went to any Democrat. Not one dime.
LAUER: Katie pressed him on that, and then we -- we did some research. We went to the Center for Responsive Politics and we found out that, technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct. But here's what we found: that 66 percent of the money in this situation went to Republicans, but 34 percent of the money -- not from Abramoff, but from his associates and clients -- went to Democrats.