Accompanying the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to the U.S. Senate is the return of comparisons in the media between a female public official -- previously Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, and now Gillibrand -- and the character Tracy Flick from the book and movie Election -- a character who has been described as "one of those people who manages to get very far in life while being thoroughly unlikable."
In an article about President Obama's economic stimulus package, The Washington Times reported that Rep. John Boehner "called for 'fast-acting tax relief, not slow-moving government spending,' in a ... response to Mr. Obama's weekly address." But the Times did not note that Obama's stimulus package proposes several tax credits and that according to the director of the Office of Management and Budget, "at least 75 percent of the overall package ... will be spent over the next year and a half."
The Washington Times' Donald Lambro falsely claimed that in a January 2008 paper, President Barack Obama's campaign economic adviser Jason Furman "doubted any infrastructure spending 'would generate significant short-term stimulus.' " In fact, in that paper, while stating that infrastructure projects are "difficult to design in a manner that would generate significant short-term stimulus," Furman also said that infrastructure spending "might be more useful if policies could be designed to prevent cutoffs in ongoing infrastructure spending (such as road repair) that would exacerbate an economic downturn."
A Washington Times editorial asserted that "[j]ust as a few MPs at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq acted disgracefully ... there may be legal wrongs and/or morally questionable acts that interrogation personnel conducted at Gitmo or other sites." But in suggesting that responsibility for detainee abuse at those detention facilities was limited to "a few MPs" at Abu Ghraib and "interrogation personnel" at Guantánamo, the Times ignored the conclusions of a Senate Armed Services Committee report that found: "The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees."
On Fox News' Special Report, reporting on reactions to the disclosure that Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy F. Geithner failed to pay certain taxes while employed at the International Monetary Fund, Major Garrett asserted: "Senate Democrats are closing ranks ... and Senate Republicans are keeping their powder dry." In fact, less than two hours before Garrett's report, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg made statements in support of Geithner on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto.
A Washington Times article about President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Bishop Gene Robinson to deliver a prayer as part of the inauguration ceremonies quoted Catholic League president Bill Donohue criticizing the choice as "polarizing" but did not note Donohue's own "polarizing" comments regarding gays and lesbians, Muslims, Jews, and others.
Articles by The Washington Times and CNN.com reported that Attorney General-designate Eric Holder has come under criticism from Senate Republicans and that Holder's confirmation hearings will be "bruising" and "grueling," respectively, without noting that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has reportedly said he will support Holder's confirmation.
The Washington Times reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "back a card-check bill that would allow unionization of a workplace if the majority of employees sign union cards, eliminating the secret ballot that workers cast to decide whether to allow a union." In fact, the Employee Free Choice Act does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization."
The Washington Times' Tara Wall said regarding the selection of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation: "The fact is most Americans, most Californians, oppose gay rights. This is reflective of the nation." Wolf Blitzer interjected: "Not gay rights, but same-sex marriage." Wall responded: "Excuse me, same-sex marriage. This is reflective of the nation as a whole." But simply characterizing Warren's position on same-sex marriage as mirroring that of most Americans, Wall and Blitzer ignored Warren's degrading comments about same-sex marriage and his mischaracterization of Proposition 8.
In the absence of any actual allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several media figures have in recent days ominously asserted that a "cloud" hangs over Obama because of the Blagojevich scandal, or that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
The headline of a Washington Times article about the implications of the charges against Gov. Rod Blagojevich baselessly asserted: "Scandal casts cloud over Obama presidency." In fact, the article itself noted that "[a]uthorities stressed that Mr. Obama was not involved in the far-flung corruption probe" and that U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald "told reporters, '[t]he complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever.' "
In a Washington Times column, Armstrong Williams claimed that secretary of state nominee Sen. Hillary Clinton's "antics and brokering of deals on how many times she gets to stand with Mr. Obama have signaled the beginnings of a rogue element." Williams then asked: "Does she see her powerful position as some shadow Oval Office when it comes to international diplomacy?" Williams also asserted: "I fear the incoming Obama White House will be forced to engage in hours upon hours of groveling and hand-holding down in Foggy Bottom."
The Washington Times uncritically reported a claim by Pennsylvania attorney Philip J. Berg, as stated in an ad Berg placed in the newspaper, that the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's campaign has "clearly been altered." The Times did not note that FactCheck.org reported that it has "seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate," concluding that it "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship," nor did it note a statement by Health Department director Chiyome Fukino that "the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."
Claiming that President-elect Barack Obama's "wiggle-room talk is making his party's hard-line, antiwar base very unhappy and there is growing anger in the leftist blogosphere," The Washington Times' Donald Lambro falsely suggested that Obama has only recently proposed a "residual force" of U.S. troops in Iraq, claiming that Obama "now says the U.S. will have 'to maintain a residual force to provide potential training for the Iraqi military, logistical support to protect our civilians in Iraq' " [emphasis added]. In fact, Obama talked throughout the presidential campaign about the likely need for such a force to remain in Iraq.
An editorial and a column published in The Washington Times included the false claim that U.S. autoworkers earn an average of $70 an hour or more in wages and benefits. In fact, according to General Motors, the figure is based not only on current workers' hourly wages and benefits, such as health care and retirement, but also retirement and health-care benefits that U.S. automakers are providing for current retirees.