Media figures have claimed or suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is only now admitting that he may have to scale back his campaign agenda as a result of the weak economy. In fact, Obama repeatedly said prior to the November 2008 election that some policies he proposed on the campaign trail might need to be delayed because of economic conditions.
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley A. Strassel claimed that Al Franken "has been manipulating the socks off the Minnesota system ... by litigating back to life absentee votes that had been rejected on Election Day." In fact, any rejected absentee ballot that was counted in the race was approved by the campaigns of both Franken and his opponent, Norm Coleman. Strassel also claimed the recount "took place behind the scenes"; in fact, the public was able to view the recounting of all ballots and attend all canvassing board meetings concerning the recount.
In a promotion for his upcoming Fox News program, Glenn Beck claims: "I'm tired of the politics of left and right. It's about right and wrong. We argue back and forth -- 'If you haven't voted for the donkey, you're just a hatemonger.' The other side -- 'Oh, those donkeys trying to turn us into communist Russia.' Stop!" But on his CNN Headline News program, Beck repeatedly compared progressives -- including President-elect Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards -- to Russian communists, Marxists, and socialists.
On Fox & Friends, Michelle Malkin falsely suggested that Minnesota's State Canvassing Board is comprised of no Republicans, while, in a column, Newsmax's Lowell Ponte claimed that the "selection of the Canvassing Board and the recount were controlled by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie." In fact, the board is bipartisan.
In a column about the "coming war" over the Employee Free Choice Act, Portfolio's Matthew Cooper wrote that "[p]olitical veteran Mark McKinnon, a former media adviser to George W. Bush, says he's 'never seen business this fired up.' " But Cooper did not identify McKinnon as a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute, an organization opposing the legislation.
Disregarding U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's warning to "not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed" in the criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several in the media have used the scandal as an opportunity to engage in suggestions of guilt-by-association against President-elect Barack Obama, by rehashing Obama's purportedly "questionable associations," or suggesting that Obama is a product of corrupt "Chicago politics."
The Washington Post's Michael A. Fletcher quoted political strategist Mark McKinnon in an article criticizing the Employee Free Choice Act but failed to identify him as a spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute, which Fletcher described, elsewhere in the article, as "one of a growing number of business coalitions working to defeat the measure."
Politico's Ben Smith contrasted President-elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush's church attendance in the weeks after their elections, but Smith failed to note numerous reports of Bush's infrequent church attendance over the past eight years, as well as Bush's reported lack of membership in a Washington, D.C., congregation. Smith cited another Politico article that also ignored reports about Bush's church attendance.
The falsehood that autoworkers employed by the domestic automakers receive $70 or more per hour in wages and benefits -- advanced by dozens of media figures and outlets while Congress has discussed a potential bailout for the auto industry -- was advanced by automakers during 2007 union contract negotiations. However, while GM recently has reportedly pointed out that its labor cost figure includes benefits to current retirees, the media continue to repeat the $70 or more per hour myth.
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.