NBC correspondent John Yang falsely asserted, "At current rates, analysts say Social Security will run out of money by 2041." Later, Yang uncritically aired a clip of Sen. John McCain claiming, "The Social Security system is going to go broke; it will not be there for present-day men and women who are working." In fact, the Social Security program will not "run out of money" in 2041; after that point, it is projected that without a change in the law, the program will be able to cover 78 percent of scheduled benefits immediately thereafter, according to the 2008 Social Security trustees' report.
Yesterday we noted Pearlsteain, during a Post online chat with readrs, mocked liberal bloggers for not understanding the Wall Street bailout story. He said thank God the mainstream media was around to explain it to everyone.
Greenwald took issue with that (and this was just Greenwald's warm up):
Nothing is easier and cheaper -- or more worthless -- than making sweeping, categorical criticisms of large groups without bothering to identify a single specific. Who specifically are the "left-wing bloggers" spouting ill-informed and misleading statements in opposition to the bailout? Specifically, what have they said that isn't true, and which "mainstream media" reporters have "actually do[ne] reporting" and "understand things" and thus saved the country from being misled by the blogging-morons who dare to oppose the bailout?
On his radio show, Michael Savage said: "[Y]ou may say, 'Why should we care about homosexuals trying to destroy families through the mock marriage that they perform in order to mock God, the church, the family, children, the fetus, the DNA of the human species? Why should we care about it while we have a financial meltdown?' Because the spiritual side of the downturn on Wall Street is directly related to the moral downturn in the United States of America."
The first AP article about tonight's debate notes that "Palin said Obama had voted to raise taxes 94 times" -- but fails to mention that number has beed widely debunked. Factcheck.org, for example, calls it "inflated and misleading" and "padded" and noted the figure includes "Double, Triple and Quadruple Counting."
But the Associated Press uncritically reports Palin's charge. Rather than fact-checking Palin, the AP touted her folksiness:
As is her custom on the campaign, she spoke in familiar terms, saying "betcha" rather than "bet you" and "gonna" rather than "going to."
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity and Mary Matalin falsely claimed that cutting taxes raises revenues. In fact, several former and current Bush administration economists have stated that tax cuts -- including those passed under President Bush -- produce a net decrease in revenue. For example, Treasure Secretary Henry Paulson said during his confirmation hearing, "As a general rule, I don't believe that tax cuts pay for themselves."
Steven Pearlstein piles on the disdain regarding the unfolding financial crisis:
Other than not really understanding the problem and not really having studied the proposal, you guys are doing just great! Thank God there is a mainstream media out there that actually does reporting and has people who understand thing, because if the flow of information and news to the American people were left solely to bloggers, we'd be in a big mess.
Yes, thank God the mainstream media cast such a skeptical eye on Wall Street over the years. We can't thank Pearlstein's pals enough.
In a September 30 blog post, Daniel Libit uncritically repeated Newt Gingrich's false claim that Democrats wanted "provisions to provide money to" ACORN in the financial bailout bill, despite the Politico's having noted two days earlier that ACORN "was not specifically directed any funds in the ... proposal."
Media figures have recently accused Democrats of attempting to direct millions of dollars in government money to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in the financial bailout bill. The accusation is false. Neither the draft proposal nor the version of the bill that was voted down in the House contained any language mentioning ACORN. Those making the false claim were misrepresenting a provision -- since removed -- that would have directed 20 percent of any profits realized on troubled assets purchased under the plan into the Housing Trust Fund* and the Capital Magnet Fund.
In a blog post, Jay Carney claimed that Sen. John McCain's "campaign has released a 60-second ad that uses Bill Clinton's words to pin the blame for the mortgage crisis on Democrats" without noting that in the interview clipped in the ad, Clinton actually said that "the biggest mistake" was the SEC's repealing of a regulation on short selling, when President Bush was in office.
Fox News host Brit Hume and correspondent Bret Baier suggested that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were heavily involved in the subprime mortgage market "years ago," and falsely suggested that Rep. Barney Frank has opposed stricter regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Neither Hume nor Baier noted that Fannie and Freddie were not active in the subprime market in 2003, or that Frank has supported and authored bills to strengthen oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker asserted that Republicans "responded" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's speech before the vote on the financial bailout plan "by voting against the bill," even after House Minority Whip Roy Blunt backed off a claim that a dozen Republicans who might have supported the bill were alienated by Pelosi's speech and several Republicans denied that Pelosi's speech swayed any votes.
The Washington Post uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Barack Obama "would raise taxes." In fact, the Tax Policy Center concluded that, compared with McCain, "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers" -- those households earning more than $250,000 per year.
The Los Angeles Times reported that "Republican leaders said they lost 12 votes at the last minute" for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 because of a "partisan speech" given by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and quoted House Minority Leader John Boehner asserting that "we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave." However, the Times did not note statements by members of Congress, including Republicans, that Republicans did not have the votes to pass the legislation.
Time's Karen Tumulty described an "underplayed story of the day":
On A17 of the Washington Post: The U.S. Attorney scandal now has a new prosecutor of its own, after a scathing report confirms that there were, indeed, political motives at work in the firings.
A17? That is, indeed, an underplayed story.
You know who else has underplayed it? Time magazine. Tumulty's post is the only Swampland mention of the "scathing report" that "confirms" the central question of the scandal: that the Bush administration fired the U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. Time's web page has no other mentions of the report, other than a reprint of an Associated Press article.
But that's nothing new: Time has been underplaying this story for more than a year and a half. When the scandal first broke in January 2007, Time Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney mocked liberals for "seeing broad partisan conspiracies where none likely exist." He and his magazine then ignored the story for months, leaving the journalism to Josh Marshall and the TPM crew, among others.
And Time continues to underplay the story to this day, even as Tumulty chides the Washington Post for burying its coverage on page A17.