Did you hear the one about the White House press corps standing for President Obama and not for President Bush? This manufactured yarn has been spinning through YouTube and right-wing media circles for the past few days.
Still don't know what I'm talking about? Allow Huffington Post's Jason Linkins to bring you up to speed:
A YouTube clip purporting to demonstrate -- through press room etiquette -- that the White House Press Corps has a greater level of fundamental respect for President Barack Obama than his predecessor has been making its way around the internet. In the video, the viewer is offered a side-by-side comparison between Obama's interruption of last week's press briefing to announce David Souter's retirement and another instance in which President George W. Bush entered the briefing room. In the former, the press corps stand up. In the later they remain seated. Here, you can watch for yourself:
I was inclined to be skeptical of this claim, since a single moment between Bush and the press corps in an eight year Presidency does not paint an accurate picture of their relationship. As it turns out, the comparison is pretty unfair, and you can take the word of someone who should know -- CBS News' Mark Knoller:
It's a long-standing practice for reporters to rise when the president enters the East Room for a news conference, but that hasn't been the case in the briefing room.
I checked with two colleagues who served as senior wire service reporters during the Bush Presidency and who, in matters of press protocol, the rest of us followed.
"The briefing room is always a more informal place," says Steve Holland of Reuters.
But the principal reason reporters remained in their seats, he said, was not to block the shot of TV cameramen and still photographers in the back of the room who were trying to make a picture of the president's walk-in.
For those keeping track of the debunked Obama/media love-fest conspiracies, this is number 8,253. Not bad for a little over 100 days into the President's first term.
Several media figures and outlets have falsely claimed that President Obama's approval rating is lower than that of most or all recent presidents, according to Gallup. In fact, Gallup itself recently reported that, by two different measures, Obama's approval rating is the second highest of any president since 1969.
Mark Hemingway claimed that Paul Begala's statement that "[o]ur country executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded American POWs" is false. However, the United States participated in a tribunal that sentenced numerous Japanese soldiers to death for war crimes including "torture" after a trial in which forms of waterboarding were presented as evidence of torture.
Terry Krepel over at ConWebWatch (he's also a Media Matters senior editor) destroys a Fox News Forum post by Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters associate editor, in which Shepard attacks Sen. John Kerry for calling Media Matters and ThinkProgress "good folks" while writing about the George Will global warming controversy on Huffington Post.
What Kerry chose to hide from readers was his wife's connection to these so-called "good folks."
ThinkProgress is the blog of the far-left leaning Center for American Progress. Contribution records show CAP having taken funds from the Tides Foundation, an organization that's received a great deal of money from the Howard Heinz Endowment chaired by -- wait for it! -- the junior senator from Massachusetts' wife Teresa Heinz Kerry.
2008 grantees of Tides' included the Center for American Progress Action Fund — a partner of CAP's — AND the Media Matters Action Network — a partner of MMA's.
Well, as Krepel points out:
There's just little one problem with Sheppard's conspiracy theory: it's not true.
As we and others have detailed, Heinz Kerry's donations to the Tides Foundation have been explicitly earmarked toward specific projects in Pennsylvania, making it impossible for that money to have gone toward CAP or Media Matters. Thus, the entire premise of Sheppard's article is false.
Curiously, at no point does Sheppard address the actual claims CAP and Media Matters have made about Will's false statements on global warming, nor does he mention that Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander has raised questions about the claims and the editing process that allowed them into Will's column.
Asked on Fox & Friends about the "damage done" by having Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews anchor MSNBC's election coverage, the Media Research Center's Tim Graham responded, "Not only is the damage already done, the damage continues. I mean, not only are they keeping these people on for an hour a night, they're adding this lesbian Air America radio host, Rachel Maddow, on every night."
Tim Graham, the Media Research Center's director of media analysis, wrote in a NewsBusters blog post that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "show[ed] she's more of a shallow politician than a devout Christian" for calling the Dalai Lama "His Holiness." However, Graham did not mention another prominent politician who has referred to the Dalai Lama as "His Holiness": President George W. Bush.
Media Research Center director of communications Seton Motley questioned Barack Obama's allegiance to the United States, asserting that Obama's membership in Trinity United Church of Christ, which is predominantly African-American, "seems to stand in diametric opposition to ... the oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States." Motley also claimed that: "Our prohibition on the Presidency...could reasonably be extended to Obama ... who chooses to pledge allegiance elsewhere as an article of faith."