Several media figures have asserted that Gov. Sarah Palin faces "low" or "lowered" expectations in the upcoming vice-presidential debate and that she therefore faces a lower bar for victory than Sen. Joe Biden. They have made these assertions despite criticism by at least one member of the media over the media's setting of a lower bar for Palin and despite praise of her performance in the Alaska gubernatorial debate by others in the media and by McCain campaign surrogate Mitt Romney.
A Time/SRBI poll asked likely voters with an "unfavorable opinion" of Sen. Barack Obama to respond to various "reasons that voters give us for having an unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama," which included: "He's really a Muslim and not a Christian"; "He's an elitist who doesn't understand the needs of ordinary people"; and, "He's not as patriotic as he should be."
On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Megyn Kelly falsely suggested it was publicly revealed that PBS' Gwen Ifill was the author of the forthcoming book, The Breakthrough, only after it was announced she would moderate the upcoming vice presidential debate. In fact, media outlets, including the Associated Press, reported that Ifill was the book's author well before the announcement.
We've noted before how the campaign press seems reluctant to ask pointed questions about Palin's religious beliefs. Specifically, if she believes that Christ will come again in her lifetime as part of the End Times theology her former church preached, and how that End Times belief might guide her decision-making as vice president.
The Real News Network just posted an informative video about Palin's fundamentalist faith and asks why the press isn't posing direct questions about it.
The Los Angeles Times quoted a new Vets for Freedom ad that claims, "Barack Obama skipped 45% of Senate votes but did manage to show up to vote against emergency funding for our troops," but the Times failed to note that Sen. John McCain has voted against legislation to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- a point Obama made during the first presidential debate when McCain accused him of voting against troop funding.
Still convinced Pennsylvania is a swing state (despite recent polling), a FNC reporter visited a local lunch hangout around the corner from Dunder Mifflin in Scranton, and asked for a show of hands for McCain and Obama supporters.
Click on Gawker for the must-see clip of how the Fox reporter announced the results.
P.S. Did the Pa. locals actually laugh at the FNC correspondent after he reported the tally?
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.
We wrote about this last week; how right-wing bloggers, led by the mighty Jawa Report, set out to uncover the trivial mystery of who was behind a long-forgotten anti-Palin clip on YouTube.
We filled out our critique (here it is) and put it into context with regards to how far the bloggers have fallen since 2004, when they were toasting their CBS Memogate scandal.
Sammon, who helped gin up phony stories about Al Gore during the 2000 campaign, raises doubts about a story Biden has told in the past about a fact-finding visit to Afghanistan he made last winter, and how the helicopter he was traveling in was forced down in the mountains there.
Sammon includes the Biden anecdote in his article at Fox News online because he's trying to support a larger narrative that Biden has been making up, or exaggerating, stories about his military-based travels overseas. And that Biden has "raised eyebrows" with his Afghanistan story.
Here's Sammon quoting Biden:
"If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me," Biden bragged to the National Guard Association. "Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are."
Having set the trap, Sammon then pounced: "But it turns out that inclement weather, not terrorists, prompted the chopper to land in an open field during Biden's visit to Afghanistan in February. [Emphasis added.]
Why the "but" at the beginning of the sentence, though? Go back and read Biden's description and see if he ever said he was forced down because of terrorists. Clearly he never made that claim. Even Sammon conceded, "Biden never explicitly claimed his chopper had been forced down by terrorists."
So what, exactly, was Sammon's point? The point seemed to be that Sammon caught Biden not saying something he never said.
The New York Post reported that "Barack Obama apparently broke his promise to the family of a fallen Wisconsin soldier when he mentioned the slain sergeant's name in his Friday debate with Sen. John McCain." The article added that "Brian Jopek, the father of the late Ryan David Jopek, told National Public Radio in March that the family asked Obama to stop wearing his son's bracelet, but the Illinois senator continued to do so." However, the Post provided no evidence that Obama ever "promise[d]" the Jopek family that he would "stop wearing" Ryan Jopek's bracelet. In fact, during the March 20 interview, Brian Jopek made no such claim.
In the revised version of his book Stealing Elections, John Fund claims that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now "runs something called 'Camp Obama,' which trains campaign volunteers in the same tactics that Obama honed as a community organizer." In the "Notes" section of the book, Fund attributes this assertion to a Chicago Sun-Times article, but the article does not link "Camp Obama" to ACORN -- indeed, it does not mention ACORN at all. Moreover, "Camp Obama" reportedly was established and run by the Obama campaign.
A McClatchy article stated that Sen. John McCain "appeared before the press in Iowa ... and said: 'Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship in the process.' " But the article did not note that in the next sentence of the same speech, McCain contradicted himself on whether it was appropriate to affix blame, saying: "Now is not the time to fix the blame. It's time to fix the problem."
We realize we're entering pet peeve territory with this topic, but we can continue to be amazed that reporters seem blind to the idea that having the first presidential debate on a Friday night pretty much guaranteed that viewership would be, relatively, soft.
The New York Times is latest to look right past the obvious.
ABCNews.com's Terry Davis and Rigel Anderson reported that "[Sen. John] McCain's top policy adviser hammered [Sen. Barack] Obama for a set of prepared remarks which incorrectly assumed that the bailout would pass," but they did not note that both McCain and another key McCain campaign adviser prematurely touted McCain's role in achieving passage of the bill.