After Alex Witt aired a new McCain campaign ad on MSNBC Live that suggests the Obama campaign is being "disrespectful" to Gov. Sarah Palin, neither Witt nor NBC News deputy political director Mark Murray gave any indication that the ad contains several distortions or that, an hour earlier, Chuck Todd had said that the ad "takes some words out of context."
On NPR's Morning Edition, Mara Liasson asserted that a new McCain campaign ad "catalogued all of the false or sexist or awful things that Democrats and Obama supporters have said about [Gov.] Sarah Palin." In fact, the ad did not "catalogue" any "false" statements the Obama campaign or other Democrats have made about Palin and, as FactCheck.org noted, the ad "distorts" each of the three Obama campaign statements it uses "to make the case" that Sen. Barack Obama is "being 'disrespectful' of Palin."
On his radio show, G. Gordon Liddy hosted self-described former terrorist Walid Shoebat to advance the false claim that Sen. Barack Obama, whom Shoebat said would be "extremely dangerous" as president, is a Muslim. Liddy also did not challenge Shoebat's false claim that Hamas supports Obama.
The CBS Evening News devoted five minutes, in two segments, to the back-and-forth between the campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama over Obama's September 9 "lipstick" remark and other McCain attacks before CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante reported of the "lipstick" comments: "The facts: Obama had not mentioned Palin. He was focused on the central argument of his campaign -- that McCain's policies would be no different than President Bush's."
On the Quinn & Rose radio show, co-host Rose Tennent claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's remark regarding Sen. John McCain's policies, "[Y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig," was directed at Gov. Sarah Palin. After saying she was "offended" and "appalled" by Obama's remark, Tennent stated, "You know what, you're a pig, you're a chauvinist pig is what you are, Barack." On previous shows, Tennent's co-host Jim Quinn introduced a segment about Sen. Hillary Clinton by playing the song "The Bitch Is Back" and referred to the National Organization for Women as the "National Organization for Whores."
Specifically, Clinton minds. It's quite a skill: "I know, the Clintons are difficult to deal with and probably hope Obama fails."
Both Bill and Hillary are campaigning for Obama. But according to Fineman, they actually want him to lose. Talk about an historical race.
The Boston Globe reported that former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift "led the Republican charge" that Sen. Barack Obama's "lipstick" comment regarding Sen. John McCain's policies was "an echo of [Gov. Sarah] Palin's joke during her convention speech." But Swift did more than charge that Obama's statement was "an echo" of Palin's joke; she actually accused Obama of calling Palin a pig. Then the next day, she backtracked from that accusation. The Globe reported neither the direct accusation nor the backtrack.
Cropping and distorting a report by NBC News' Lee Cowan, Rush Limbaugh baselessly suggested that the audience at Sen. Barack Obama's September 9 campaign event in Virginia chanted, "No more pit bull," a reference to Gov. Sarah Palin, in response to what Limbaugh called Obama's " 'lipstick on a pig' joke." In fact, Cowan was reporting live from the Virginia event at which Obama made his "lipstick" remarks and said: "[A]t an Obama rally we were at earlier today in Michigan, the crowd actually started chanting 'No more pit bulls.' "
Try to follow this logic:
There's no question that Senator Obama did not refer to Gov. Sarah Palin as a pig during his talk last night in Virginia. Although the allusion to lipstick within a week of Ms. Palin's popular line at the Republican convention has prompted a great deal of chatter around the Internet.
So according to the Times, there's no way anyone could suggest that Obama was referring to Palin with his pig comment. No way. But what created the chatter on the Internet was Palin's previous reference at the convention.
First of all, the incessant chatter about the comment has been coming not from the Internet but from the mainstream press, and especially cable television, which won't stop talking about the non-story. (See below.)
And second, what actually prompted the story were erroneous suggestions by reporters at AP, WSJ, and ABC, among others, who claimed the candidate was referring to Palin; claims based solely on the ability of reporters to read the candidate's mind since he made no verbal references to Palin at the time. That in turn was pounced on by the McCain camp as proof of a personal attack.
This whole episode has been a journalism disgrace. The Times' attempt to blame this non-story on the Internet just adds to the misery.
On NBC's Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell reported former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift's assertion on September 9 that when Sen. Barack Obama said at a rally that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig," he made "disgraceful comments comparing our vice-presidential nominee, Governor [Sarah] Palin, to a pig." However, Mitchell did not report that on September 10 on NBC's sister channel, MSNBC, Swift admitted, "I can't know if it was aimed at Governor Palin."
On MSNBC, PolitiFact.com's Bill Adair said that Gov. Sarah Palin's claim to have put a jet airplane owned by the state of Alaska on the Internet auction site eBay was true and noted that "[t]he state was unsuccessful selling it on eBay, and they had to hire an aircraft broker to sell it, ended up selling it for considerably less than the state had paid for it." However, neither Adair nor Contessa Brewer noted that Sen. John McCain falsely claimed that Palin "took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay. And made a profit."
The AP's Nedra Pickler wrote that "lipstick" has become "a political buzzword, thanks to" Gov. Sarah Palin's "joke in her acceptance speech that lipstick is the only thing that separates a hockey mom like her from a pit bull," and suggested that therefore Palin's joke had something to do with Sen. Barack Obama's reference to "lipstick on a pig." Yet Obama had previously used the expression in this campaign -- before Palin's reference to lipstick at the RNC -- and as Pickler noted in the same article, Sen. John McCain himself has used it. Indeed, the expression, and similar ones, has been used by politicians for years.
On America's Newsroom, in response to Sen. Barack Obama's statement that false rumors are "being promulgated on Fox News" about his purported "Muslim connections," Bill Hemmer asserted that "[n]o one here is promulgating untrue rumors about anyone's faith." In fact, Fox News hosts have repeatedly promoted false reports about Obama's religion, including the false report that Obama was educated in a madrassa.
CNN's Tom Foreman falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain was "getting Barack Obama's record right" when McCain claimed that "during the primary" Obama told the group Caucus4Priorities "that he would cut defense spending by tens of billions of dollars"; Foreman also falsely suggested that Obama has only recently begun to advocate "increasing the size" of the military. In fact, Obama told Caucus4Priorities that he would cut "tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending," not overall defense spending, and Obama repeatedly said during the primary season that he would increase the size of the military.
Contessa Brewer aired a clip of a McCain campaign ad without noting that the clip falsely suggests that Sen. Barack Obama was behind "attacks on Governor [Sarah] Palin" that have been called "completely false" and "misleading" by FactCheck.org. In fact, while FactCheck.org stated that many "dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages" about Palin are "completely false, or misleading," it made no reference to the Obama campaign. Further, Brewer did not note that the Obama campaign has reportedly denied the ad's second claim, that "Obama airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers into Alaska to dig dirt on Governor Palin."