Sean Hannity falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama canceled a visit with wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center "because the cameras weren't ... allowed and the campaign wasn't allowed." But in discussing an ad by Sen. John McCain's campaign that makes the same claim, NBC's Andrea Mitchell stated, "The McCain commercial on this subject is completely wrong, factually wrong." Further, ABC's Jake Tapper and Time's Karen Tumulty both noted that McCain's campaign has provided "no evidence" to support the assertion that Obama canceled the visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."
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On the July 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity repeated the false claim that Sen. Barack Obama canceled a visit with wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany because he was not allowed to bring cameras along on the visit. Hannity asserted that Obama "abandon[ed] the troop visit because the cameras weren't around -- allowed and the campaign wasn't allowed."
In fact, as Media Matters for America documented, on the July 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell stated, "There was never any intention -- let me be absolutely clear about this. The press was never going to go. The entourage was never going to go. There was never an intention to make this political." She later said, "And the McCain commercial on this subject is completely wrong, factually wrong." Further, according to Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass, "We told military officials explicitly that Senator Obama had absolutely no intention of bringing any members of the media or photographers in with him to visit the wounded warriors" at Landstuhl. ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper and Time national political correspondent Karen Tumulty both noted in reference to a McCain campaign ad, which similarly asserts that Obama canceled the visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras," that the McCain campaign has provided "no evidence" to support that assertion. Additionally, after MSNBC's Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough asked why the McCain campaign thought Obama didn't visit the troops on the July 29 edition of that show, campaign manager Rick Davis acknowledged: "I don't know what the truth is."
As Media Matters has also noted, while Obama did not go to Landstuhl, in recent weeks he did reportedly visit wounded troops -- without media present -- at a casualty unit in Iraq and at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
From the July 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: So how did Senator Barack Obama's oversea trip resonate with voters? A brand-new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that only Democrats were impressed, with 53 percent calling the trip positive. Republicans overwhelmingly reject -- overwhelmingly rejected the trip, while 41 percent of independents held no opinion at all. The poll also reveals voters are twice as likely to classify media coverage of Obama as unfairly positive rather than unfairly negative, and in the case of McCain, the opposite is the truth, with many more seeing coverage of him as negative.
Joining us now, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mike Gallagher, former [House Minority Leader Dick] Gephardt [D-MO] campaign manager Steve Elmendorf, and Washington Times columnist Tony Blankley.
Mike, you and I talk about this often on the radio. No big surprises here, especially in light of him, you know, abandoning the troop visit because the cameras weren't around -- allowed and the campaign wasn't allowed. I think this is a net negative for him in the end. Your thoughts?
GALLAGHER: Oh, it has to be. I mean, it's -- it's stunning that he's not -- doesn't have a commanding lead right now in the polls. But even with the fawning media coverage, the kernels of truth slip out.
From the July 29 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
SCARBOROUGH: You say that he's stunned by the truth. What is the truth as you see it? Why -- are -- are you suggesting that Barack Obama does not value the service of our men and women in uniform?
DAVIS: No, I'm sure he does. And I'm sure that the men and women in our uniform would've valued the -- the visit that he had indicated early on that he was gonna make, you know, when he -- when he arrived in Landstuhl. I don't know what the truth is, because out of the Obama campaign themselves and Mr. Gibbs in particular, there have been probably 11 separate excuses for why they didn't visit the troops. Now, if they don't know why they didn't visit the troops, I'm sure as heck not gonna figure it out.