Media figures including Candy Crowley, Carl Cameron, Brian Kilmeade, and Gretchen Carlson have mischaracterized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments that recent "anti-government rhetoric" reminded her of "the late '70s in San Francisco" when "it created a climate in which violence took place," to claim that she was criticizing opponents of health care reform. In fact, Pelosi was directly responding to a question not about health care reform, but one that explicitly noted "people talking about anti-government rhetoric and so on and the possibility of violence."
CROWLEY: Republicans are also encountering angry voters but Democrats seem to be getting the worst of it and they accuse Republican operatives of sending protesters to their Town Hall meetings, but even if there is any truth to that charge the reality is that poll after poll shows that Americans are divided about Obama-style health care reform.
Well, first, of course there is "truth to that charge." Right-wing groups are sending around memos telling people how to "artificially inflate" their numbers and "be disruptive early and often." That memo was revealed four days ago. Has Crowley been paying any attention at all?
And second: No, Americans are not "divided" in any meaningful way on "Obama style health care reform." By large margins, Americans want significant health care reform. By large margins, they favor Barack Obama's approach over the GOP's approach. They favor a public option.
Yes, it's true, polling also shows things like public concern that they wouldn't be able to choose their own doctor under proposed reforms. But that concern is not based on reality -- it is based on an aggressive disinformation campaign waged by enemies of reform. If Candy Crowley spent her time producing news reports that correct that disinformation rather than hyping the results of it, things would be going a lot more smoothly -- and more importantly (from her perspective) she'd also be performing actual journalism.
CNN's Candy Crowley and CQ Politics' Jonathan Allen reported Newt Gingrich's claim that "I am not a citizen of the world. I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous," saying the line was a jab at President Obama. Neither reported however that President Reagan made similar remarks.
Media figures have used President Obama's second overseas trip to Europe and the Middle East to stoke fears that he may be too close to the Muslim world or harbors a secret, anti-American agenda.
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Candy Crowley claimed of the Making Work Pay tax credit: "The average tax cut is somewhere between $10 and $13." But Crowley did not explain that those figures apply per week, adding up to an annual tax credit of $400 per individual and $800 for families.
Candy Crowley claimed that Republicans may find "fertile political ground" on the issue of taxes, citing a Gallup poll on taxes as evidence. However, Gallup said of the results of that poll: "Gallup finds Americans' views of their federal income taxes about as positive as at any point in the last 60 years."
On Anderson Cooper 360, Candy Crowley asserted: "The polls nationwide and in the battlegrounds suggest if the election were held today, Barack Obama would win. They feel it in the crowds, and he feels it, too." Crowley then aired a clip of Obama stating, "I feel like we've got a righteous wind at our backs." But Crowley left out the rest of Obama's statement: "[B]ut we're going to have to work. We're going to have to struggle. We're going to have to fight for every single one of those 13 days to move this country in a new direction."
On MSNBC Live, while assessing a speech on the economy by Sen. Joe Biden, Jon Decker said that Biden does not "help his case when he's making the argument on economic issues wearing French cuffs and dressed to the nines. I think that he's really got to connect with these voters." Contrary to the notion that wearing French cuffs may interfere with Biden's ability to "connect with these voters," French cuff shirts can be found for $37.50 on the website of J.C. Penney, a national department-store chain that many voters can presumably "connect" with.
Numerous media outlets have reported all or part of Sen. John McCain's statement rebuking Sen. Barack Obama for his decision to forgo public financing in the general election without mentioning that during the primary, McCain signed a loan that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.
On CNN's American Morning, reporting on Sen. Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing for the general election, Candy Crowley asserted that "you can expect that [Sen. John McCain] will hit Obama on two scores: One, you went back on what you said you would do; and two, this is not how to reform Washington." But Crowley did not report that McCain may actually be breaking campaign finance law.
CNN's Candy Crowley uncritically reported that Sen. John McCain is "continually suggesting Obama wants to surrender in Iraq without knowing what's happening there," and Fox News' James Rosen said, "Obama's absence from the war zone over the last two and a half years, McCain argued, has left the first-term senator divorced from the reality that now prevails on the ground in Iraq." However, neither Crowley nor Rosen mentioned any of the misstatements McCain has made that have raised questions about whether McCain himself "know[s] what's happening" in Iraq.
After airing several reports in February highlighting Sen. John McCain's assertion that "if we left [Iraq], [Al Qaeda in Iraq] wouldn't be establishing a base ... they'd be taking a country," CNN has yet to follow up by noting that McCain reportedly does not believe that assertion. According to The New York Times, "[f]ew, including Mr. McCain, expect Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia [Iraq], a Sunni group, to take control of Shiite-dominated Iraq in the event of an American withdrawal."
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer said: "General [David] Petraeus is a career military officer. Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker is a career diplomat, a foreign service officer. It's not as if they're political appointees by the Bush administration in which they can sort of, you know, roll up their sleeves and really go after them." In fact, both Petraeus and Crocker were nominated for their current positions by President Bush.
On The Situation Room, Candy Crowley stated that Sen. Barack Obama "accus[ed] [Sen. John] McCain of wanting to be in Iraq for another 100 years." She then reported "that is a distortion of what McCain said, and they push back very hard -- the McCain campaign -- when they hear this." In fact, during a January 3 town hall meeting in New Hampshire, McCain said a U.S. military presence in Iraq for the next 100 years would "be fine ... [a]s long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."