Right-wing bloggers are falsely claiming that Joe Biden is "lying" about having played football at the University of Delaware. Contrary to their claims, several newspapers have interviewed people who knew Biden while he played freshman football at Delaware.
More than 20 years of reporting debunks this claim. For instance, a 1987 Washington Post article retrieved from the Nexis database quoted Biden's father, Joe Biden Sr., saying that he made his son leave the team because of poor grades after his freshman season. A 1987 Los Angeles Times article reported that Biden's college roommate said the same thing (via Nexis):
"He probably never studied as hard as other people did," recalled Biden's roommate at the University of Delaware, Donald Brunner, now a senior vice president with J. P. Morgan. Brunner and Biden both played football as freshmen, but Biden then quit the team, Brunner said, under pressure from his father, who thought that he was devoting too much time to sports and not enough to books.
In 2008, The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, published an article about Biden's high school and college football days. One of Biden's teammates at Delaware, Jack Istnick, recounted a story from practice (article available for purchase here):
Every now and then, the freshman players would help the varsity practice.
One day, Biden and Jack Istnick were shagging punts for the varsity so it could work on its kick-coverage teams. This was done at full speed with full contact. The ball was kicked to Biden, who got "absolutely leveled," Istnick said, "mainly because I didn't block anyone."
"The [freshman] coach, Scottie Duncan, looked at me and looked at Joe lying on the ground and said to me, 'Don't you like him?' "
The Breitbart post uses an ellipsis-laden quote from a September 8 speech Biden made at Ohio University as evidence that he lied specifically about having played in a football game there in 1963:
"I came ... I was a football player ... I came here in 1963 ... and we beat you Bobcats, 29-12," Biden said.
However, a CBS News video of Biden's appearance, used by NRO, shows that Biden did not actually claim to have played in the game.
During the vice presidential debate, Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Eric Bolling, and Greg Gutfeld suggested that Vice President Joe Biden had been drinking or otherwise compared him to a "drunk." Biden reportedly does not drink alcohol, citing a history of alcoholism in his family.
The Washington Post uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's claim during the final presidential debate that Sen. Joe Biden had "this cockamamie idea about dividing Iraq into three countries." In fact, Biden introduced a plan to "[m]aintain a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis breathing room in their own regions."
The Politico's Ben Smith uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false claim during the third presidential debate that Sen. Joe Biden has proposed "dividing Iraq into three countries.' " In fact, Biden introduced a plan to "[m]aintain a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis breathing room in their own regions."
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski asserted that "people overwhelmingly thought [Gov. Sarah Palin] won her debate," while Willie Geist suggested that Palin won by a smaller margin than Brzezinski claimed. However, most polls conducted on the days following the vice presidential debate found that Sen. Joe Biden won. In fact, a Media Matters review of polling sites did not find any national polls that found Palin won the debate.
In his Washington Post analysis, Dan Balz wrote that, during the vice presidential debate, Gov. Sarah Palin "did not stumble over names of foreign leaders." But Balz did not note that Palin misstated the name of Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, twice referring to him as "McClellan."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and The New York Times' Katharine Q. Seelye asked whether Sen. Joe Biden will "help" Gov. Sarah Palin "with her chair" at the beginning of the vice-presidential debate. The question is one that presumably would not be asked if the two candidates were the same gender, and the premise of the question itself is false, as the debate format rules state that Biden and Palin will be "standing at podiums" -- a fact Seelye later acknowledged.
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.
Fox & Friends and America's Newsroom both aired a new ad by Sen. John McCain's campaign that accuses Sen. Barack Obama's campaign of being "disrespectful" to Gov. Sarah Palin. However, none of the hosts on either show gave any indication that the ad contains several distortions.
After Alex Witt aired a new McCain campaign ad on MSNBC Live that suggests the Obama campaign is being "disrespectful" to Gov. Sarah Palin, neither Witt nor NBC News deputy political director Mark Murray gave any indication that the ad contains several distortions or that, an hour earlier, Chuck Todd had said that the ad "takes some words out of context."
Contessa Brewer aired a clip of a McCain campaign ad without noting that the clip falsely suggests that Sen. Barack Obama was behind "attacks on Governor [Sarah] Palin" that have been called "completely false" and "misleading" by FactCheck.org. In fact, while FactCheck.org stated that many "dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages" about Palin are "completely false, or misleading," it made no reference to the Obama campaign. Further, Brewer did not note that the Obama campaign has reportedly denied the ad's second claim, that "Obama airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers into Alaska to dig dirt on Governor Palin."
On Meet the Press, citing a New York Post article reporting that Oprah Winfrey will not host Gov. Sarah Palin on her show before the presidential election, Tom Brokaw falsely suggested that Winfrey has hosted Sen. Barack Obama on her show during Obama's campaign for president. However, the Post article Brokaw cited itself reported that Winfrey has not hosted Obama since he began his presidential campaign and that Winfrey said she decided when she endorsed Obama not to use her show "as a platform for any of the candidates."
The Associated Press reported Mike Huckabee's claim that Gov. Sarah Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States." The AP did not challenge the claim despite its characterization of the claim in a separate "fact check" as a "whopper" because, according to the AP, Palin received a total 1,525 votes during her two runs for mayor while Biden received 76,165 votes in the 2008 Democratic primaries.