The Sacramento Bee's public editor claimed that "there's a key bit of context missing" from a Media Matters item about a Bee article reporting on the controversial Republican-backed California ballot initiative that would award the state's electoral votes by congressional district. But the sentence that the public editor suggested was missing from the Media Matters item was in fact included -- in boldface for emphasis -- in the item.
In the last week, several news outlets have reported on recent developments in the case of Wayne DuMond, a convicted rapist sentenced to life in prison in 1984, who was paroled in 1997 after "[then-Arkansas Gov. Mike] Huckabee and a senior member of his staff exerted behind-the-scenes influence." While both The New York Times and The Washington Post have published articles discussing Huckabee's rise in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, and several reporters at each newspaper have written blog posts citing Huckabee's role in the DuMond case as potentially politically damaging, neither newspaper has published a news article discussing recent developments about Huckabee's role in the case.
In reporting on a Republican-backed California ballot initiative that would award the state's electoral votes by congressional district, The Sacramento Bee stated that "Republicans behind the initiative said it would force presidential candidates to visit California more often and give more voters a voice in the presidential outcome." But the Bee did not note that there are only three congressional districts in California that Sen. John Kerry or President Bush carried by 5 percentage points or less during the 2004 presidential election; thus, if the initiative passed, campaigns would presumably have little incentive to "visit California more often," as the initiative's backers reportedly claimed. Moreover, California voters would have less influence on the outcome of elections, because voters would likely deliver fewer than the current 55 electoral votes to the winner.
The Los Angeles Times reported that supporters of a controversial Republican-backed California ballot initiative that would award the state's electoral votes by congressional district portray the proposal "as a way to make California's elections fair." But the article did not mention opponents' argument that the measure would not "make California's elections fair." Further, the article did not note that several of the key initiative supporters it named are prominent Republicans, or that the initiative was endorsed by the party's state convention.
On Hannity & Colmes, Tom DeLay claimed that the questions asked during the November 28 CNN/YouTube Republican debate "were nothing but gotcha questions with a liberal bias," and that "there was no gotcha questions like these" during the July 23 CNN/YouTube Democratic debate. Co-host Sean Hannity asserted, "Now I don't remember seeing Republican questioners at the Democratic debate. Do you?" But several questions from the July 23 Democratic debate could be classified as Republican "gotcha" questions, and the Los Angeles Times reported that a "review" of the Democratic debate found that "[a]t least two of the citizen-interrogators had clear GOP leanings."
Politico.com's "update" of an article by Michael M. Rosen -- which had reportedly echoed the false smear that Sen. Barack Obama "spent part of his youth studying in an Indonesian madrassa" -- stated that the "article was edited on Nov. 28 to clarify writer Andrew Sullivan's description of Obama's educational background." But the update gave no indication what Rosen's article originally included about "Sen. Barack Obama's educational background" or why it needed to be "clarif[ied]."
A Washington Post article on how Sen. Barack Obama "has had to address assertions that he is a Muslim" reported that an "early rumor about Obama's faith came from Insight, a conservative online magazine. The Insight article said Obama had 'spent at least four years in a so-called madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia' " [emphasis in original]. But rather than citing the investigative reports conclusively debunking the smear, or providing his own reporting on whether the school Obama attended was, in fact, a madrassa, Bacon reported only that "Obama denied the rumor," portraying the issue as a "he said/he said" dispute. CBSNews.com featured the Post article as the top story on its home page.
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell aired a clip of a television ad by the Fred Thompson campaign, in which Thompson is described as a "courageous reformer, fighting corruption in both parties" who "[h]elp[ed] to expose the truth during Watergate." But rather than address the content of Thompson's ad -- contrary to the ad's claims, Thompson leaked key information to the office of then-President Richard Nixon about the Watergate investigation and reportedly canceled his 1997 Senate hearings on allegations of improper campaign fundraising before Democrats were able to present evidence of Republican wrongdoing -- O'Donnell went on to ask Thompson supporter Liz Cheney, "How well does Fred Thompson have to do in Iowa?"