Cropping and distorting a report by NBC News' Lee Cowan, Rush Limbaugh baselessly suggested that the audience at Sen. Barack Obama's September 9 campaign event in Virginia chanted, "No more pit bull," a reference to Gov. Sarah Palin, in response to what Limbaugh called Obama's " 'lipstick on a pig' joke." In fact, Cowan was reporting live from the Virginia event at which Obama made his "lipstick" remarks and said: "[A]t an Obama rally we were at earlier today in Michigan, the crowd actually started chanting 'No more pit bulls.' "
On NBC's Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell reported former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift's assertion on September 9 that when Sen. Barack Obama said at a rally that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig," he made "disgraceful comments comparing our vice-presidential nominee, Governor [Sarah] Palin, to a pig." However, Mitchell did not report that on September 10 on NBC's sister channel, MSNBC, Swift admitted, "I can't know if it was aimed at Governor Palin."
On MSNBC, PolitiFact.com's Bill Adair said that Gov. Sarah Palin's claim to have put a jet airplane owned by the state of Alaska on the Internet auction site eBay was true and noted that "[t]he state was unsuccessful selling it on eBay, and they had to hire an aircraft broker to sell it, ended up selling it for considerably less than the state had paid for it." However, neither Adair nor Contessa Brewer noted that Sen. John McCain falsely claimed that Palin "took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay. And made a profit."
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 The Lee Rodgers Show, a caller suggested that Sen. Barack Obama's remark that "you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" was directed at Gov. Sarah Palin and said: "[I]t's a little indicative of a Muslim attitude towards women that's creeping up, you know, and he just can't help but say it, how he feels." Brian Sussman responded: "Well, there's no question that Muslims, at least the religious ones, look at women as second-class citizens. ... I don't know if it was his father's genetic DNA welling up inside of him or not, but I'll tell you something: It was stupid."
In an article regarding Sen. Barack Obama's recent comment about Sen. John McCain's policies -- "[Y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" -- AP's Nedra Pickler baselessly asserted that Obama's audience "clearly dr[ew] a connection to [Gov. Sarah] Palin's joke even if it's not what Obama meant." However, Pickler provided no evidence for her assessment of the audience's reaction, and, indeed, the interpretation by New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny of the audience's reaction was completely different.
On Morning Joe, NBC News political director Chuck Todd said of media coverage of Sen. Barack Obama's comment that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" while discussing Sen. John McCain's proposed policies: "I think the McCain campaign is laughing, laughing their butts off this morning. That any of us have taken the bait on this lipstick thing, I mean, this is a joke. It is laughable." Time's Jay Carney stated that the McCain campaign's claim that Obama's comments represented "sexism" was "false" and "ridiculous."
On Hannity & Colmes, Mike Huckabee and Howard Wolfson both disagreed with Sean Hannity's claim that Sen. Barack Obama was "talking about [Gov.] Sarah Palin" when he made his "lipstick on a pig" comment. Wolfson asserted: "[T]here's no question that he was referring to [Sen.] John McCain, not Sarah Palin, and I think anything to the contrary is ridiculous."
While media outlets reporting Gov. Sarah Palin's claim that "I told the Congress 'Thanks, but no thanks' on that 'Bridge to Nowhere' " have noted that Palin had previously supported the bridge, or that Palin did not refuse the funds previously allocated for the bridge or reimburse the federal government, they did not report that Palin's claim is false, because Congress abdicated responsibility for determining how the money would be spent a year before Palin was elected governor.
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote that Gov. Sarah Palin's "description of her role in the infamous bridge [to nowhere] funding is highly selective at best," but falsely suggested that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Palin's claims about her actions on the project are false. Kurtz ignored outright falsehoods in Palin's claims about her opposition to the bridge, including her claim that she "told the Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks' on that 'bridge to nowhere.'"
ABC's Charlie Gibson posed no challenge to several false, contradictory, or dubious assertions made by Sen. John McCain during a September 3 interview. Gibson is scheduled to interview McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, later this week.
On NPR, Renee Montagne asked Juan Williams of Gov. Sarah Palin's claims about the "bridge to nowhere": "Is it surprising that she keeps saying that, or repeating that she told Congress, 'No thanks,' on that bridge?" Rather than note that Palin's assertion is false, Williams responded in part by saying: "Well, what they're [the McCain campaign] emphasizing is that she, you know, did eventually turn down the idea without disclosing that early on she was, as you said, campaigning for it back in 2006. ... So, it's a matter of, you know, omission in their view."
On Studio B, Carl Cameron said, "Fifty-eight days before the elections, and the Obama campaign is accusing the McCainiacs of lying about this 'bridge to nowhere' issue." He went on to claim of Gov. Sarah Palin, "Now, she didn't ask for the bridge, nor did she ask for the money. ... [W]hen people say, 'Sarah Palin asked for earmark money or pork,' it's just inaccurate." In fact, in an op-ed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Palin wrote that in 2008, her administration "requested 31 earmarks, down from 54 in 2007" and that "the federal budget, in its various manifestations, is incredibly important to us, and congressional earmarks are one aspect of this relationship."
In a September 7 New York Times column about Gov. Sarah Palin, Bill Kristol wrote: "[S]hould voters be alarmed by a relatively young or inexperienced vice-presidential candidate? No." The column marks at least the second time that Kristol has dismissed questions of Palin's experience since citing in his August 25 Times column the fact that "Palin has been governor for less than two years" as a possible reason for McCain not to pick her.