Discussing reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, several media figures have responded with smears, including speculation that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, references to Clinton as Obama's "enem[y]," and speculation that Obama is considering the nomination because if Clinton remains in the Senate, she poses a threat of challenging him for the Democratic nomination in 2012 and can "mak[e] trouble" for him in the Senate.
The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto wrote that remarks Sen Barack Obama made at the UNITY '08 Convention "seem[ed] to be something of an endorsement of the idea of 'reparations for slavery,' which is usually taken to mean cash payments." However, when specifically asked at the convention whether he supported "offering reparations to various groups," Obama replied that "the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed."
OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto claimed that "[e]ight years ago," then-presidential candidate George W. Bush "understood that he was not running against Bill Clinton and for the most part ignored him." In fact, Bush repeatedly attacked the Clinton administration throughout 1999.
Following the midterm elections, prominent Republicans and conservative media figures, as well as The Washington Post, dismissed suggestions that the results represented a referendum on Iraq by noting that Connecticut voters re-elected Sen. Joe Lieberman, despite his support for the war. But these attempts to cast Lieberman's victory as a counter to claims that the outcome of the elections was a repudiation of Bush's Iraq policy overlook Lieberman's efforts in the weeks leading up to the election to portray himself as a critic of the war.
OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto cited a 1998 memo to then-President Bill Clinton titled "Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks" to claim that Clinton ignored evidence of the danger Al Qaeda posed to the United States. However, the 9-11 Commission detailed an immediate and aggressive response to the memo by the Clinton administration.
Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto has yet to acknowledge that his theory of media bias -- that "the mainstream media ... are generally biased in favor of liberals and Democrats, but this ends up helping conservatives and Republicans by breeding complacency on the Democratic side" -- did not pass his own test. In a May 30 column, Taranto challenged readers to find an article from 1994 or 1980 "speculating about the possibility of a Republican landslide." Media Matters answered Taranto's challenge by presenting eight articles from 1994 that met his criteria. Since then, Taranto has twice addressed Media Matters' response but has ignored the fact his theory of media bias failed his test.
James Taranto issued a challenge to test his theory that the "mainstream media" are "generally biased in favor of liberals and Democrats, but this ends up helping conservatives and Republicans by breeding complacency on the Democratic side." Taranto asked: "Can you find a similar article ... speculating about the possibility of a Republican landslide in 1994, when there actually was one?" Media Matters for America answers Taranto's challenge.
James Taranto attacked Bloomberg News for its article about a suicide bombing in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar that also mentioned President Bush's record-low job approval rating of 31 percent. Taranto went on to attack "the media and the Democratic Party" and praised the Bush administration for "dealing with" Iraq as "a real problem, not merely a political one." However, Taranto did not mention that it was Bush who politicized Tal Afar to begin with -- hyping the city as an Iraq success story despite Tal Afar's rising sectarian conflict.
James Taranto once again misrepresented Media Matters for America's position, this time in response to an item noting his false characterization of Media Matters' coverage of Rep. John Murtha's call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
James Taranto falsely claimed that Media Matters for America "cheered" Rep. John Murtha's call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq but also "denied that he had done any such thing." In fact, Media Matters neither endorsed nor condemned Murtha's proposal, nor did we deny Murtha called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Media Matters instead corrected those in the media who falsely claimed that Murtha called for an "immediate withdrawal" or who falsely referred to Rep. Duncan Hunter's one-sentence resolution calling for immediate withdrawal as the "Murtha amendment."
Numerous media figures highlighted the alleged "partisan" nature of Coretta Scott King's funeral but failed to comment on the politicization of Ronald Reagan's funeral.