Many media conservatives have recently embraced and promoted the accusation, almost in unison, that President Obama has "lied" or broken promises. In many cases, these accusations are based on distortions of comments he has made or misrepresentations of campaign pledges.
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.
Several media figures are promoting the notion of division among Obama supporters, asserting that "the left" is or should be disappointed with the president-elect's Cabinet selections. But the idea of significant disappointment with Obama runs counter to a USA Today/Gallup poll finding that 94 percent of Democrats "approve of the way Obama is handling his presidential transition."
Bill Kristol characterized Sen. Barack Obama's selection of Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate as "Obama's imposition of a glass ceiling." But Kristol showed little concern for "gender equity" in the Democratic Party when he said during the primary that "[w]hite women are a problem" and attributed Sen. Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire primary victory to her "pretend[ing] to cry."
The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama opposed designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. In fact, Obama said he would have voted against the bill Continetti referenced -- the 2007 Kyl-Lieberman amendment -- because it "states that our military presence in Iraq should be used to counter Iran," not because it designated the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Indeed, Obama co-sponsored a different bill in 2007 that also would have designated the group a terrorist organization.
Citing Dean Barnett's Weekly Standard piece about a recent speech by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, radio host Rush Limbaugh and ABC's Jake Tapper promoted Barnett's claim that without a teleprompter, Obama is, in Limbaugh's words, "a different guy." However, in claiming that Obama "improvised" or "ad-libbed" and that the audience "saw a different Obama," Barnett provided several quotes that have been part of Obama's standard stump speech since as early as November 2007.
Echoing other media figures who have made comparisons of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to fictional characters, The Weekly Standard's Joseph Bottum wrote that recent comments by Clinton recalled Lady Macbeth, who in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth orchestrates the murder of the King of Scotland so that her husband can become king.
In his latest column, Fred Barnes wrote that Nancy Pelosi "is the most unpopular national politician in America," ignoring recent opinion polls showing that President Bush, his vice president, his defense secretary, and the Republican leaders of both houses of Congress are far less popular than Pelosi.
William Kristol claimed that Democrats who oppose Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman do so because Lieberman is "unashamedly pro-American," while Ann Coulter asserted that those favoring Ned Lamont as Connecticut's U.S. senatorial candidate are "anti-American."
Numerous conservative pundits offered highly optimistic predictions about the U.S. invasion of Iraq regarding the conflict's duration, difficulty, and human and financial costs -- nearly all of which have proven to be wrong. But rather than hold these "Pollyanna pundits" accountable for their past misjudgments, the media have again provided a platform for their views about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. And echoing their rhetoric on Iraq, these conservative pundits have advocated further military action by the United States and its allies.