Referring to a question he asked at President Obama's press conference, on Morning Joe, Chuck Todd suggested Obama was being inconsistent in not asking the American people for sacrifice -- during a recession, with millions recently unemployed -- after having criticized President Bush for failing to ask for sacrifice following 9-11.
A New York Times essay by Jason DeParle highlighted a resurgence of the use of the word "welfare" among conservatives, this time to attack President Obama's economy recovery plan. Indeed, while economists agree that provisions in the legislation targeting needy people are among the most economically stimulative, Media Matters documents below the pervasiveness of what DeParle called the "weaponiz[ation]" of the "very word, welfare," in the media, particularly, but not exclusively on Fox News, to denounce the stimulus bill.
Numerous media figures have asserted that the proposed stimulus package supported by President Barack Obama would amount to spending at least $223,000 for every job created, echoing a press release issued by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee. But by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the stimulus package by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- these media figures ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and education, health, and public safety investments.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed asserted in a column that she "hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds -- dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat!" Sneed added: "A lot of chit-chat? Hot air? Or trouble? To date, Rahm's been mum. Stay tuned." Despite the complete absence of sourcing, many in the media have run with Sneed's assertion, in some cases simply quoting Sneed, in others, paraphrasing the assertion, and in still others, actually expanding on it.
In a National Review Online column, Lisa Schiffren claimed that "[i]n personal conversations," Sen. Barack Obama "asked that the Iraqi leadership wait for the next administration (his) to begin serious troop withdrawals -- as Amir Taheri has documented." In fact, a Bush administration official has reportedly said that Taheri's assertion was not true. Schiffren also repeated other false and baseless claims in her column providing "suggestions" to the McCain campaign.
In a blog post on National Review Online, Mark Krikorian asked if diversity policies touted by Washington Mutual, which was seized by federal regulators and sold to another bank on September 25, were the "[c]ause" of the bank's collapse.
National Review Online's Greg Pollowitz falsely claimed that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin visited troops in Kuwait "a year before Senator [Barack] Obama felt the need to go." In fact, Obama first visited troops in Kuwait in January 2006, a year and a half before Palin's visit.
In The Case Against Barack Obama, David Freddoso misrepresents findings by the Illinois state government to claim that a statement by Sen. Barack Obama explaining his opposition to a bill that amended the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 was "not true." Obama asserted that "measures mandat[ing] lifesaving measures for premature babies" were "already the law" in Illinois. Freddoso falsely asserts that the Illinois Department of Public Health and a letter from the Illinois attorney general's office refute Obama's statement. They do not; indeed, a reported statement by the Public Health Department supports it.
In separate blog posts on National Review Online, Peter Kirsanow and Victor Davis Hanson each falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama has not further explained what he meant when he stated at the UNITY '08 Convention: "I've consistently believed, when it comes -- whether it's Native American issues, whether it's African-American issues and reparations, that the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just to offer words, but offer deeds." Later in his remarks, Obama said: "I have said in the past, and I'll repeat again, that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed."
National Review Online blogger Jim Geraghty wrote that a new ad for Sen. Barack Obama cites as a source the " 'Congressional Quarterly 2007 Voting Study.' This is the same study that called Obama the most liberal lawmaker in the Senate. By citing this study, the Obama campaign seems to be dropping their objections to that characterization, or of CQ's calculation methods." In fact, Obama was "the most liberal lawmaker" according to the National Journal's 2007 Vote Ratings, not according to CQ, which measured how often senators voted with their party rather than assessing "liberal" or "conservative" votes and found that "[t]en Democrats had higher scores" on the "party unity" measure in 2007 than Obama, as PolitiFact.com has noted.
In recent days, members of the media asserted that Sen. Hillary Clinton displayed "mood swings," "could be depressed," "[r]esembl[ed] someone with multiple personality disorder," and "has turned into Sybil."
In an email to readers encouraging recipients to read the National Journal article on the magazine's 2007 vote ratings, the National Journal Group wrote: "In 2004, President Bush invoked Senator John Kerry's liberal Vote Ratings score repeatedly on the campaign trail and at their head-to-head debates. We anticipate similar attention for our Vote Ratings across the 2008 election cycle." Numerous media did follow suit and tout the Journal's 2003 rating of Kerry. And once again, the media are giving the 2007 ratings the "similar attention" the National Journal Group anticipated -- despite the Journal's acknowledgment that the methodology it used to rate Kerry was flawed.
National Review Online blogger Kevin D. Williamson called Media Matters "hysterical ninnies" over a column by Media Matters' Eric Boehlert that predicted "a very rough 2008" for Fox News.
In a column about Rudy Giuliani's speech following his "resounding defeat in the Florida primary," National Review White House correspondent Byron York wrote: "[I]t is hard not to think of Fabrizio Quattrocchi, the courageous Genoan who, taken hostage by Islamic terrorists in Iraq in 2004 cried out, 'Now I will show you how an Italian dies!' just before he was shot."