Media figures have continued to advance the claim that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has failed. In fact, many economists believe that it is too early for the stimulus package to have fully taken effect.
The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb notes that Alaska, unlike the federal government, does have a "Department of Law" and asks: "Is it really that crazy that Governor Palin would suggest that the White House equivalent of her Department of Law would handle the kind of frivolous ethics complaints she's been forced to deal with on her own?"
Well, let's see: Sarah Palin was the Republican Party's nominee for Vice President just last year. She has presidential ambitions. So, yes, it seems pretty reasonable to expect her to know that there is no "department of law there in the White House."
But that's a judgment call. Goldfarb apparently doesn't require that level of knowledge from would-be presidents; that's his prerogative. But Goldfarb's defense of Palin collapses under the weight of its own illogic. Here's Goldfarb again:
"Is it really that crazy that Governor Palin would suggest that the White House equivalent of her Department of Law would handle the kind of frivolous ethics complaints she's been forced to deal with on her own?"
So, according to Goldfarb (and Palin), Alaska's Department of Law has left Palin to handle ethics complaints "on her own."
And according to Goldfarb, it makes sense for Palin to assume that the White House equivalent of Alaska's Department of law -- which has left her to handle ethics complaints on her own -- would not leave her to handle ethics complaints on her own.
Does Goldfarb know what "equivalent" means?
(By the way: Goldfarb worked for the McCain-Palin campaign.)
The Weekly Standard's John McCormack takes issue with the idea that the Palin family -- with assets in excess of $1 million -- are wealthy. McCormack writes under the header "The Palins are Middle Class":
In 2006, the Palins reported taxable income of $127,869 -- 3.8 times the poverty line for a family of six in Alaska. For single person living in the lower 48 states, 3.8 times the poverty line was $37,400 that year. Does DeBoer really believe that someone who makes $38,000 is rich?
Click on the word "reported," and you'll go to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article that indicates that in 2007, the Palins reported taxable income of $166,080 -- and that they failed to report another $17,000 in per diem payments Sarah Palin received, for a total of $183,080 in income. Now, why would John McCormack use the 2006 income data rather than the 2007 data, when both are available in the source he cites? Could it be because the 2006 amount is so much lower -- nearly $60,000 less -- and he wanted to mislead readers? What other possible explanation is there?
Then McCormack jumps through a bunch of hoops to try to make $127,869 look like much less than it is, comparing it to the Alaska poverty threshold, then comparing that to the (lower) threshold for the 48 contiguous states, then translating that into an income level for a single person rather than a household, which is a neat trick, but it ignores the economies of scale that exist in multi-earner households.
The most recent data available in the very source McCormack used shows that the Palins brought in $183,000 in 2007. The contortions he goes through to try to make that look like $38,000 say more about McCormack than about anything else.
In a June 18 blog post, Stephen Hayes claimed that President Obama "has gone to great lengths to avoid saying anything casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Ahmadinejad government" and said that during a CNBC interview, Obama repeatedly referred to the "Iranian government." In fact, Obama noted challenges to Ahmadinejad's legitimacy and did not refer to the "Iranian government" in that interview.
When considering what kind of platform to offer conservative commentators' criticism of President Obama's reaction to events in Iran, the media should remember these commentators' previous discredited claims, predictions, and analysis about other foreign policy issues, particularly the Iraq war.
Many media figures have dubbed President Obama's health care reform proposal "ObamaCare," reinventing the terms "HillaryCare" and "ClintonCare" that were used by opponents of the Clintons' reform proposal. In doing so, these media are often seeking to frame the debate in negative terms.
Media figures have used President Obama's second overseas trip to Europe and the Middle East to stoke fears that he may be too close to the Muslim world or harbors a secret, anti-American agenda.
Numerous media figures have compared President Obama and his administration to the mafia, frequently referencing films and television shows such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.
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.