Tulsa World reported Inhofe's smears of Obama's patriotism without rebutting purported evidence

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

A Tulsa World article uncritically quoted Sen. James Inhofe stating, "I am not questioning Sen. [Barack] Obama's patriotism, but you have to question why at times he seems so obviously opposed to public displays of patriotism and national pride, like wearing an American flag lapel pin." The article failed to note that Obama is not "opposed" to "wearing an American flag lapel pin" or that Sen. John McCain reportedly said he doesn't wear a flag lapel pin on a daily basis.

In a September 6 Tulsa World article, headlined "Inhofe says patriotism question will sink Obama," reporter Jim Myers uncritically quoted Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) stating, "I am not questioning Sen. [Barack] Obama's patriotism, but you have to question why at times he seems so obviously opposed to public displays of patriotism and national pride, like wearing an American flag lapel pin," without noting that Obama is not "opposed" to "wearing an American flag lapel pin," as Media Matters for America has noted, or that he wore one on the night of his speech at the Democratic National Convention. Nor did Myers note that Sen. John McCain reportedly said he doesn't wear a flag lapel pin on a daily basis or that he did not wear one on the night of his speech at the Republican National Convention.

In the article, Myers repeated comments Inhofe made at a breakfast for the Oklahoma at the Republican National Convention, in which Inhofe asked the crowd: "Do you really want to have a guy as commander in chief of this country when you can question whether or not he really loves his country?" Inhofe reportedly later released a written statement to clarify his comments in which he said, "I am not questioning Sen. Obama's patriotism, but you have to question why at times he seems so obviously opposed to public displays of patriotism and national pride, like wearing an American flag lapel pin.'' However, Myers did not report that, as The New York Times Caucus blog reported on October 5, 2007, "John McCain said he doesn't wear a flag pin on a daily basis," and did not wear one on the night he gave his acceptance speech in Minneapolis.

From the September 6 Tulsa World article:

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe predicted voters' uncertainty over whether Barack Obama really loves his country will help Republicans win the White House again in November.

A spokeswoman for the Democratic nominee said Obama will not let anyone question his love of his country, adding that Americans have grown tired of cynical partisan politics such as challenging an opponent's patriotism.

Inhofe made his comments at a breakfast for the state party's delegation earlier this week at the Republican National Convention.

"I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to win this election, the presidency and vice presidency," the Oklahoma Republican said.

Inhofe recalled Obama's recent trip overseas.

"He had nothing but positive media all the time, and then he goes into their convention and comes out of the convention without a lead,'' he said.

"That's unheard of."

Regardless of what polls show, Inhofe said, voters will have to ask themselves a question once they get behind the curtain in the voting booth on Election Day.

"Do you really want to have a guy as commander in chief of this country when you can question whether or not he really loves his country?" he asked.

"That's the big question.''

Shannon Gilson, spokeswoman for Obama, said Friday that he has a plan to strengthen the economy and offer immediate relief to working families, while Republican nominee John McCain and his Washington friends such as Inhofe are offering four more years of President Bush's failed economic policies.

"Sen. Obama won't let anyone question his love of this country,'' Gilson said.

"Challenging your opponent's patriotism to win an election is the type of cynical partisan politics Americans are tired of -- and won't bring the change we need in Washington,'' Gilson said.

After he was asked for an explanation on why voters should question Obama's love for his country, Inhofe issued a written statement on Friday to clarify his earlier comments.

"Let me be clear,'' he said.

"I am not questioning Sen. Obama's patriotism, but you have to question why at times he seems so obviously opposed to public displays of patriotism and national pride, like wearing an American flag lapel pin.''

Inhofe said Americans can show pride in their country in different ways but suggested all should be straightforward.

Posted In
Elections
Show/Publication
Tulsa World
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.