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With Norm Coleman's hopes of retaining his seat in the U.S. Senate looking slimmer by the day, a reporter from the Washington Post and an editorial from the Pioneer Press have a suggestion to (prolong the already months long election contest) bring things to a close.
Despite the fact that Al Franken won the recount and continues to hold onto the lead...
Despite the fact that Norm Coleman has been handed legal set-back after legal set-back...
Despite the fact that Minnesota is losing out with only one Senator in Washington...
Despite the fact that conservatives are using the lack of an additional Democratic Senator to stymie President Obama's agenda...
Despite all of this, the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and the Pioneer Press think it might be a good idea to scrap everything that has happened since Election Day and instead hold a run-off election, something that even Minnesota election law doesn't allow?
How about some critical reporting that holds Coleman accountable for his hypocritical legal wrangling? Perhaps that would speed things along.
Early in his new book A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media, Bernard Goldberg offers an example of the media's purported "pro-Obama bias" that collapses on minimal review. In Chapter One, Goldberg cites as evidence the fact that The Early Show ran a segment called "Five Things You Should Know About Barack Obama" that featured trivia about Obama. But five days later, the show ran a segment called "Five Things You Should Know" about Sen. John McCain.
Announcing a "Fox News Alert" on the "sordid details" behind Caroline Kennedy's withdrawal from consideration for New York's Senate seat, Sean Hannity reported that "there are even rumors tonight of marital issues." But Hannity previously accused The New York Times of trafficking in "innuendo [and] rumor" about Sen. John McCain's personal life.
Ignoring the additional costs of security, transportation, and other expenses incurred by federal, state, and local governments in conjunction with former President Bush's 2005 inauguration, Fox News' Sean Hannity allowed former Gov. Mitt Romney to claim that "[President] Barack Obama spen[t] three times" what Bush spent on his 2005 inauguration. In doing so, Hannity allowed his show to become the latest media outlet to promote the false comparison between the costs of Obama's inauguration and Bush's 2005 inauguration.
On his radio show, Lou Dobbs claimed that Obama's "inaugural celebration from start to finish will cost an estimated $170 million, and that dwarfs the $42 million spent on George Bush's inauguration just four years ago." Similarly, Brent Bozell wrote in a column: "For the record, the 'lavish' Bush inaugural cost $43 million. Final tallies are not complete, but according to some sources, like the Guardian newspaper, the Obama inaugural will cost more than $150 million." But the comparison is a false one, as the Bush figure excludes security, transportation, and other incidental costs.
During Fox News' inauguration coverage, Chris Wallace stated, "I'm not sure that Barack Obama really is the president of the United States, because the oath of office is set in the Constitution." Wallace later claimed, "I wasn't at all convinced that ... John Roberts ever got it out straight and that Barack Obama ever said the prescribed words." On Fox & Friends the following day, Fox News repeatedly aired video of the oath flub, and Gretchen Carlson asked of Obama, "Is he really president," and went on to claim, "Because there was a flub in the oath of office." However, numerous experts, including one quoted later on Fox & Friends, have reportedly said that an incorrect recitation of the oath is insignificant.
Leading up to President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony, several media outlets have advanced the claim that Obama's inauguration will cost significantly more than President Bush's 2005 inauguration. Citing "estimates" ranging from $150 million to $170 million in total costs for Obama's inaugural events, the outlets have compared the purported total costs in 2009 to the approximately $42 million in private funds spent on Bush's 2005 inauguration. However, these outlets omit the additional costs of security, transportation, and other expenses incurred by federal, state, and local governments in conjunction with the events in 2005 while including them in the projections for the 2009 events.
MSNBC's Tamron Hall stated that "the inauguration festivities" for President-elect Barack Obama are "estimated to reach as high as $150 million," while "[i]n 2004, to note, the inauguration of George W. Bush cost roughly $40 million." But the $40 million figure that Hall cited for Bush's second inauguration reportedly does not include security and transportation costs incurred by the federal government and the District of Columbia; these costs are included in the $150 million estimate that the media are reporting for the Obama inauguration.
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley A. Strassel claimed that Al Franken "has been manipulating the socks off the Minnesota system ... by litigating back to life absentee votes that had been rejected on Election Day." In fact, any rejected absentee ballot that was counted in the race was approved by the campaigns of both Franken and his opponent, Norm Coleman. Strassel also claimed the recount "took place behind the scenes"; in fact, the public was able to view the recounting of all ballots and attend all canvassing board meetings concerning the recount.
On Fox & Friends, Michelle Malkin falsely suggested that Minnesota's State Canvassing Board is comprised of no Republicans, while, in a column, Newsmax's Lowell Ponte claimed that the "selection of the Canvassing Board and the recount were controlled by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie." In fact, the board is bipartisan.
Dick Morris baselessly claimed that Al Franken is "cheating" in the Minnesota Senate race, that "Minnesota's doing it for him," and that "[t]his is outright larceny" and "a total theft." As evidence, Morris again repeated the debunked claim that in Minnesota, "[t]here's a county where there are 177 more votes than there are voters."
On Hardball, Pat Buchanan said of Roland Burris' appointment to the Senate and the Senate leadership's refusal to seat him: "[W]hy does [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid not want this guy? Why can't he get elected? Because he's an African-American." However, neither Matthews nor Buchanan mentioned that Reid stated -- well before Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Burris -- that the Senate would consider rejecting anyone appointed by Blagojevich. Nor did they mention that Reid previously denied that his opposition to Burris was based on race.
Ann Coulter asserted that "the inestimable economist" John Lott Jr. has said the "500 corrections" made to unofficial Senate election returns prior to the beginning of the recount is a "statistical impossibility." In fact, Lott -- a discredited research scholar -- wrote in a FoxNews.com column that the "sizes of the errors" in some Minnesota precincts which led to the 504-vote correction were "surprisingly large," but did not claim they were statistically impossible. Further, an election analysis by Minnesota Public Radio has shown that changes in vote totals of up to 1,000 votes after polls close are "fairly typical in Minnesota."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely suggested that assertions in The Wall Street Journal about the Minnesota Senate race were the result of "reporting," including the Journal's reference to "double counting" in the race. But in claiming that there was "double counting," the Journal did not cite reporting and echoed an accusation by the campaign of the incumbent, Republican Norm Coleman.