MSNBC's David Gregory reported Gov. Sarah Palin's assertion that Sen. Barack Obama has been "palling around with terrorists" without noting Palin's distortion of The New York Times article she used to make her claim, or that the Obama campaign issued a statement rebutting the claim.
On the October 6 edition of MSNBC's Race for the White House, host David Gregory showed video from the previous weekend of Gov. Sarah Palin saying, "Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country," which Gregory noted was a reference to 1960s radical Bill Ayers. Gregory then reported that Palin "changed that language a little on the campaign trail today, but it was the same message." However, Gregory did not note that in her original comments, Palin referred to an October 4 New York Times article which, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, reported that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.' "
Gregory also aired a clip of Obama calling the McCain campaign's attacks "usual political shenanigans and smear tactics," but did not note that the Obama campaign issued a statement specifically rebutting Palin's claim. The statement reportedly said: "In fact, the very newspaper story Governor Palin cited in hurling her shameless attack made clear that Senator Obama is not close to Bill Ayers, much less 'pals,' and that he has strongly condemned the despicable acts Ayers committed 40 years ago, when Obama was eight."
From the October 6 edition of MSNBC's Race for the White House:
GREGORY: We're below 30 now -- 29 days to go in the race for the White House. Welcome to the program. I'm David Gregory.
My headline tonight: Panic attack from Wall Street to the campaign trail. The stock market plummets once again. Here are the boards. The Dow Jones industrial average diving as much as 800 points at one point today before closing at just below 10,000. You see the numbers.
Meanwhile, Obama's stock is on rise. The latest NBC News electoral map shows Obama opening up a nearly 100-point electoral vote lead and double-digit leads in key battleground states such as Virginia and New Hampshire. But instead of addressing the financial crisis with plans of attack, character attacks ruled the day. Senator McCain blasted Senator Obama at a rally in New Mexico, while Governor Palin attacked Obama for his relationship with '60s radical Bill Ayers.
McCAIN [video clip]: Whatever the question, whatever the issue, there's always a back story with Senator Obama. [break] What does he plan for America? In short, who is the -- who is the real Barack Obama?
PALIN [video clip]: Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.
GREGORY: That was Governor Palin over the weekend. She changed that language a little bit on the campaign trail today, but it was the same message. Obama fired back at what he called Swift boat-style attacks.
OBAMA [video clip]: I cannot imagine anything more important to talk about than the economic crisis, and the notion that we would want to brush that aside and engage in the usual political shenanigans and smear tactics that have come to characterize too many political campaigns, I think, is not what the American people are looking for.