On Thursday, the cabler started running the controversial spot that CNN had rejected and Fox News personalities had criticized. Late Friday, MSNBC reversed course and announced the ad, produced by independent liberal groups, would no longer run.
A new Associated Press article about seven top aides to Sarah Palin defying a subpoena in the Alaska Troopergate probe notes that the state Senate Judiciary chairman who threatened to hold the aides in contempt is a Democrat.
Then, in the next paragraph, the article noted that the state's Attorney General "filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven state workers Thursday challenging the subpoenas. He claims the committee has no jurisdiction to issue subpoenas in the investigation."
But nowhere does the article tell readers that the Attorney General is a Republican ... a Republican who was appointed by Sarah Palin.
Michael Calderone at Politico flags the wire service for trying to suggest Biden recently kept journalists at bay just like Palin has.
And yikes, even Fox News claims AP got the Biden/press story wrong.
Meanwhile, Greg Pollowitz needs to update his National Review's Media Blog. He chided Biden -- and the media -- based on that initial, false AP report.
On Special Report, Brit Hume said, "A $100,000 grant that then-Illinois state Senator Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a one-time campaign volunteer is under investigation by the Illinois attorney general." But Hume did not note that a spokesperson for Attorney General Lisa Madigan said "Obama's actions in awarding the money are not a focus of the investigation," according to the Chicago Sun-Times article Hume cited in his report.
On CNN's The Situation Room, Jeffrey Toobin asserted that the media are "being kind of gullible in falling for" Sen. John McCain's announcement that he was going to suspend his campaign. Minutes earlier, however, Wolf Blitzer and correspondent Brian Todd had repeatedly asserted as fact that McCain "suspend[ed]" his campaign, without noting, as Toobin did, that McCain ads were running; that his surrogates repeatedly attacked Sen. Barack Obama on cable networks; or that McCain gave interviews with the three broadcast networks following his "suspension."
A County Fair readers points out the absurdity of the Washington Post today inserting the name of McCain's campaign plane into a news article about delicate bailout negotiations:
McCain's "Straight Talk Air" landed at Reagan National Airport just after noon, and his motorcade headed toward the Senate.
Compare that with how the New York Times handled the same set of facts:
Mr. McCain's campaign plane landed in Washington shortly before noon, when there was already tentative word of a bailout deal before he even set foot in the Capitol.
It seems obvious that by including the boosterish name of McCain's plane, the Post was simply inserting campaign talking point into a news story and propping up, on behalf of the candidate, his preferred image of a straight talker.
Rather than simply repeating John McCain's assertion that he has suspended his campaign, Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein actually did a little work to determine if that is true. His conclusion? "McCain Campaign Still Active Across The Country."
And yet MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell is still saying -- just now -- "John McCain suprised many yesterday by suspending his campaign and announcing that he was returning to Washington." O'Donnell certainly isn't unique -- she's just the person who happened to say it as I was writing this post. The major media, almost across the board, is repeating the McCain line that he has suspended his campaign.
This is really simple: John McCain has not suspended his campaign. His campaign staffers are on television, attacking Barack Obama. His ads are still running. His campaign offices are still buzzing with activity.
He. Has. Not. Suspended. His. Campaign.
Anyone who says he has simply isn't telling the truth.
Fox News co-host Megyn Kelly did not challenge McCain campaign senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer to reconcile her criticism of Sen. Barack Obama during the segment with her assertion that Sen. John McCain said, 'I'm going to put politics on hold 40 days out from an election, withdraw some $12 million in paid media and advertising off the airs in order to do what's right and put the country first.' "
Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg writes:
Voters shouldn't judge a candidate by his skin color. Maybe, but is it any more unfair than, for example, saying that because McCain and President Bush are both Republicans that a McCain administration would produce a third Bush term? No, it isn't.
First, people aren't saying that a McCain administration would produce a third Bush term because McCain and Bush are both Republicans. They're saying it because McCain voted with Bush 95 percent of the time last year - highest in the Senate - and 90 percent of the time since Bush took office. They're saying it because McCain has bragged about how much he agrees with Bush. They're saying it because McCain supports Bush's war. They're saying it because McCain supports Bush's tax cuts for the rich.
Aside from that ... seriously? Rothenberg thinks it is no more unfair to judge a candidate by his skin color than to judge him by the political party he chooses to join? Candidates presumably choose which party to join based on their assessment of which party best reflects their values and policy views. They are intentionally telling voters something about themselves by the party they choose. I assume it is obvious how that differs from skin color.
Thanks to Media Matters intern Varun Piplani for flagging Rothenberg's claim.
I guess the consensus is that McCain is making a not very smart bet with this $700B move. I'll just note that, whatever else it is, his decision to "suspend" his campaign and rush to the sort of rescue is a genuine reflection of McCain's temperament and as good an indicator as any of what kind of president he'd be: impulsive, active, involved, somewhat immune to advice.
"Active"? "Involved"? As of Tuesday, McCain still hadn't bothered to read Paulson's three-page bailout proposal. Yesterday afternoon, he claimed he was "suspending" his campaign to focus on the bailout negotions. Yet he took his time getting back to Washington to do so -- long enough that an agreement seems to have been reached without him.
That's what counts as "involved" these days?
On Morning Joe, Nicolle Wallace, senior adviser to Sen. John McCain's campaign, stated that "our campaign is suspended" pending agreement on legislation to address the country's current financial situation, and later accused Sen. Barack Obama of having "done exactly zero" to produce bipartisan legislation. Hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski did not ask Wallace to reconcile her appearance and her attack on Obama with her claim that McCain's campaign is "suspended."
On NBC's Today, Meredith Vieira said of Sen. John McCain: "His campaign on hold, political advertising suspended, and he's asking his rival to postpone tomorrow night's debate." However, according to a Media Matters search of the TVEyes.com database, dozens of NBC affiliates ran McCain ads during the hour prior to, or following, her statement on Today.
Or, how the McCain camp has gone all in trying to eliminated the press from the campaign process. Jonathan Chait at TNR in "Liar's Poker":
After years of portraying him as a uniquely honorable figure in American politics, the national press corps has started to take note of his brazen distortions, a development that may threaten his most precious asset. But we should consider an alternate possibility. Suppose that McCain has committed himself, with the Palin pick, to running a campaign centered around mobilizing the Republican base. He has enjoyed clear success with this since the Palin pick, attracting larger crowds, drawing higher fund-raising totals, and even seeing dramatically higher numbers of voters identifying themselves as Republicans in polls.
If this is McCain's strategy, then a bunch of news reports debunking his claims isn't going to hurt. Indeed it may even help.
P.S. Chait asserts, "McCain's untruths, in their frequency and their audacity, defy any modern historical precedent."
Really? We're pretty sure we could make a compelling case that in 2004 and 2000 George Bush was just as liberal with his campaign trail lies. But for some reason back then, the press didn't think it was its job to fact-check the GOP falsehoods.
On Fox News, Rush Limbaugh claimed that in a U.N. speech, Iran's President Ahmadinejad was "echoing [Sen.] Barack Obama talking points -- talking about how America is responsible for all the problems of the world, talking about how American defense spending is -- led to the crisis here." Limbaugh provided no evidence that Obama has said anything remotely similar to Ahmadinejad's remarks, which, according to a translation, included references to "Zionist murderers" and to the purported influence of "Zionists" on the "political decision-making centers of some European countries and the U.S."
It just was not sustainable, writes Jack Shafer at Slate, who recalls the sunnier days in that relationship:
This, of course, is the same press corps that adored John McCain during the 2000 race, as this comprehensive study by FAIR shows. The press corps liked his honesty. They liked the access he provided them. They liked his maverick stance. They liked the way he made them feel. And they didn't mind cutting him slack whenever he acted like a regular politician-which he was, most of the time.