After Gov. Sarah Palin was announced as Sen. John McCain's running mate, Dick Morris characterized the media's coverage of Palin as the result of "the deep sexism that runs through our society." Two days later, Morris said that "when a woman wants to attack, it's hard because she's seen as strident or shrill," adding: "[Sen.] Hillary [Clinton] has that problem perhaps because she is strident and shrill."
The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva repeated Gov. Sarah Palin's claim that "the Obama-Biden Democrats have been vicious in their attacks directed toward ... my family," but gave no indication that he had challenged Republican aides to substantiate Palin's charge with examples of purported attacks. By contrast, while reporting the charge, NBC, ABC, and the AP all reported that when asked to provide examples of such attacks, Palin aides, the McCain campaign, and the RNC did not provide any.
In a September 3 interview, Charles Gibson did not challenge the claim by Sen. John McCain that after Sarah Palin obtained millions of dollars in earmarks as mayor of her home town, she "learned that earmarks are bad" when she became governor and said, "No more for my state." At no point did Gibson point out that as governor, Palin, by her own account, requested hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks for Alaska just this year. ABC News did not air that part of the interview on the September 3 broadcast of World News, much less note that McCain was promoting a false claim.
The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post have previously challenged Gov. Sarah Palin's assertion that she "told the Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that bridge to nowhere," but they did not report that she repeated the false claim in her September 3 vice-presidential acceptance speech.
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.
In reports on Gov. Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the RNC, the AP and Bloomberg both reported her accusation that Sen. Barack Obama "wants to raise taxes," without noting that, in fact, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families and raising them only on households earning more than $250,000 per year.
Numerous print media outlets uncritically reported Gov. Sarah Palin's claim that Sen. Barack Obama "is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform -- not even in the state senate," without noting that Obama has played key roles in the passage of reform legislation at both the federal and state levels, including a bill that McCain co-sponsored and thanked Obama for his work on.
On The O'Reilly Factor, pollster Frank Luntz stated of his discussions of Gov. Sarah Palin "with groups of independents here in Minneapolis": "[A]s the discussion goes on, they start to turn negative until they hear about her stopping a bridge to nowhere." However, Palin reportedly supported the proposal to build a bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island and suggested that Alaska's congressional delegation should continue to try to procure funding for the project. Luntz gave no indication that his focus group participants were told about Palin's prior support for the bridge.
On Hannity & Colmes, Dick Morris said of Gov. Sarah Palin: "[T]here's a fight going on between her sister and her husband and the husband tasered the kid." But the issues raised by this "fight" are not merely issues of family discord; Palin has been accused of misusing her office in allegedly pressuring the Alaska public safety commissioner to fire Palin's sister's former husband, a state trooper, which the commissioner, who was subsequently fired, refused to do.
In reports that the Log Cabin Republicans have endorsed Sen. John McCain for president, CNN.com and UPI falsely suggested that Gov. Sarah Palin supports benefits for same-sex partners of state employees. In fact, while Palin did veto a bill in 2006 that would have prevented state officials from granting spousal benefits to same-sex couples, Palin has stated that she did so because the Alaska attorney general had advised her that it was unconstitutional, not because she supported spousal benefits for same-sex couples.
On MSNBC Live, The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller uncritically repeated the McCain campaign's suggestion that "because of the rumors that were on the Internet" concerning the 17-year-old pregnant daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin, the campaign "felt they had to get the story out" about the pregnancy. But according to the Times, the McCain campaign released the information about the pregnancy on Labor Day because the media were focused on Hurricane Gustav and because "the nation was busy with family and social activities."
In his syndicated column, Robert Novak claimed that Gov. Sarah Palin "shares [Sen. John] McCain's loathing for earmarks, which are ingrained in the corruption-tainted politics of Alaska." But contrary to Novak's assertion that Palin has a "loathing for earmarks," she has repeatedly sought and requested hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks as governor of Alaska, and reportedly hired a D.C. lobbying firm to acquire tens of millions of dollars in earmarks while serving as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.
David Brooks wrote that Gov. Sarah Palin "made mortal enemies of the two people [Sen. John] McCain has always held up as the carriers of the pork-barrel disease: [Rep. Don] Young [R-AK] and [Sen. Ted] Stevens [R-AK]." Brooks' characterization of Palin and Stevens as "mortal enemies" is undermined by substantial evidence, including a joint Stevens-Palin press conference in July in which Stevens said he has "never known of any animosity between" them and Palin said she had "great respect" for Stevens, as well as Palin's previous service as co-director of a 527 organization bearing Stevens' name.
On MSNBC Live, Norah O'Donnell did not challenge Transportation Secretary Mary Peters' claim that if Sen. Barack Obama really stood by his denunciation of any public discussion of Gov. Sarah Palin's children, "he would put a stop to everything that's going on in the liberal blogosphere." O'Donnell did not ask Peters how Obama "would put a stop" to what is being written by people unconnected to his campaign, nor did she note that commenters on McCain's own website have posted falsehoods and smears about Obama.
Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer did not challenge an assertion by McCain campaign senior adviser Nicolle Wallace that the "fervor with which the Democratic-leaning blogs and a few in the mainstream media pursued" questions about Gov. Sarah Palin's pregnancy " forced the Palin family ... maybe ahead of a schedule that worked best for the family, to make this news yesterday about their daughter." But contrary to Wallace's claim, according to The New York Times, the McCain campaign released the information about Palin's daughter's pregnancy on Labor Day because that was when the media were focused on Hurricane Gustav and because "the nation was busy with family and social activities."