CNN's Drew Griffin misrepresented President-elect Barack Obama's response to the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, falsely suggesting that Obama disputes allegations made in the complaint. In fact, there are no allegations regarding Obama in the complaint for him to deny, as U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald made clear when he stated that the complaint "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever."
On The Radio Factor, John Kass falsely claimed that Rita Rezko, wife of Antoin Rezko, "b[ought] the Obama dream house" in what Kass called "that shady real estate deal." In addition, Kass, who was also featured on ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News in reports about the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, suggested to Bill O'Reilly that President-elect Barack Obama must be tainted by corruption because he comes from Chicago.
On Hannity & Colmes, Hannity asserted that President-elect Barack Obama is "all over" the criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, adding, "The pres -- the word 'president-elect' is mentioned 44 times in the document. Pretty troubling." However, nowhere in the complaint was a single allegation against Obama made. Further, U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald stated during a December 9 press conference that the criminal complaint "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct."
The headline of a Washington Times article about the implications of the charges against Gov. Rod Blagojevich baselessly asserted: "Scandal casts cloud over Obama presidency." In fact, the article itself noted that "[a]uthorities stressed that Mr. Obama was not involved in the far-flung corruption probe" and that U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald "told reporters, '[t]he complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever.' "
On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Andrea Tantaros falsely claimed that "[t]his past weekend," President-elect Barack Obama said that "the economy is only gonna get worse." Tantaros continued: "Well, you can't say that kind of thing when you're president. ... He's got to be more positive." Co-host Bill Hemmer did not point out in response to Tantaros that Obama did not say "the economy is only gonna get worse"; he said the economy would get worse but would subsequently recover.
Politico's Ben Smith contrasted President-elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush's church attendance in the weeks after their elections, but Smith failed to note numerous reports of Bush's infrequent church attendance over the past eight years, as well as Bush's reported lack of membership in a Washington, D.C., congregation. Smith cited another Politico article that also ignored reports about Bush's church attendance.
On MSNBC Live, Washington Examiner correspondent Julie Mason asserted that the "liberal left" was "up in arms about Robert Gates staying on at the Defense Department, and some of these other picks, and even -- even the pick of Hillary Clinton at the State Department." But neither Mason nor anchor Alex Witt mentioned that a recent poll showed strong support among Democrats for President-elect Barack Obama's selections of Gates and Clinton.
The Washington Times uncritically reported a claim by Pennsylvania attorney Philip J. Berg, as stated in an ad Berg placed in the newspaper, that the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's campaign has "clearly been altered." The Times did not note that FactCheck.org reported that it has "seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate," concluding that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship," nor did it note a statement by Health Department director Chiyome Fukino that "the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."
Several media figures are promoting the notion of division among Obama supporters, asserting that "the left" is or should be disappointed with the president-elect's Cabinet selections. But the idea of significant disappointment with Obama runs counter to a USA Today/Gallup poll finding that 94 percent of Democrats "approve of the way Obama is handling his presidential transition."
Radio hosts Brian Sussman, Mark Davis, Lars Larson, Bob Grant, Jim Quinn, and Rose Tennent repeated the discredited claim that President-elect Barack Obama has not produced a valid birth certificate and is not eligible for the presidency because he is not a natural-born citizen. In fact, the Obama campaign posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on its Fight the Smears website and reportedly provided the original to FactCheck.org, whose staff concluded that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship." A Hawaii Health Department official also reportedly confirmed that the birth certificate Obama's campaign posted is valid.
A Washington Times article by reporter Stephen Dinan headlined "Obama hijacks GOP language on key issues" asserted that President-elect Barack Obama was "borrowing a line from the Republican-revolution playbook" when Obama said that, in Dinan's words, states should be "laboratories for solutions to the nation's big problems." However, later in the article, Dinan rebutted his own assertion, as well as the Times' headline, in noting that Obama "trac[ed] the concept back to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who ... said states could 'serve as a laboratory.' "
On MSNBC Live, Contessa Brewer cited a London Daily Mail report that said, in Brewer's words, President-elect Barack Obama is "buying a $30,000 diamond ring for his lovely bride as a thank-you for her support during the election." But Brewer did not note that the Obama transition team has reportedly denied the report, which had been featured as the lead headline on the Drudge Report. Unlike Brewer, the Drudge Report subsequently noted the denial.
In recent weeks, several conservative media figures, echoed by Republican lawmakers, have responded to comparisons in the media of President-elect Barack Obama to FDR, or assertions in the media that a New Deal-level of government intervention will be necessary to resolve the current economic crisis, by asserting that the New Deal was a dismal failure, plunging the 1930s economy into a depression, an assertion that prominent progressive economists flatly reject.
In an article headlined "Obama skips church, heads to gym," Politico reported, "On the three Sundays since his election, Obama has instead used his free time to get in workouts at a Chicago gym," and also asserted, "Both President-elect George W. Bush and President-elect Bill Clinton managed to attend church in the weeks after they were elected." However, Politico ignored numerous reports that Bush attended church infrequently over the past eight years and did not belong to a Washington congregation. Politico's report was echoed by other media, including Fox News and the syndicated radio show The War Room with Quinn & Rose.