During the 2000 campaign, New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye promoted the image of Al Gore as a liar and exaggerator -- and she did so by making up things that he never said, then explaining that they weren't true.
This morning, Seeyle posted a preview of tonight's VP debate on the Times blog The Caucus. In it, she outlined what she'll be "watching for," both generally and for each candidate. Given her previous obsession with falsehoods and exaggerations, and given Sarah Palin's well-documented penchant for both, you might assume Seeyle would mention the danger for Palin in saying something that isn't true, or in exaggerating her record.
Wrong. Seeyle didn't devote so much as a single word to the possibility that Palin might say something incorrect or unduly self-aggrandizing. Apparently, that isn't as important to Seelye as the crucial question of whether Biden will "help Ms. Palin with her chair."
On his radio show, Sean Hannity did not challenge Sen. John McCain's false claim during an interview that Alaska "provides 20 percent of America's energy requirements." In fact, according to the most recent figures of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Alaska is responsible for "just 3.5 percent of the country's domestic energy production," and only 2.4 percent of the energy the U.S. consumes.
News orgs are all over a McCain adviser's contention that the Arizona senator, through his legislative leadership, helped create the Blackberry. But why does the media have to dig up the old Al Gore-invented-the-Internet tripe?
From AP: "Move over, Al Gore. You may lay claim to the Internet, but John McCain helped create the BlackBerry."
Al Gore did not "lay claim" to the Internet. That wasn't true in 1999 when the press, and the GOP, peddled it. And it's not true today.
On Fox News' The Live Desk, Trace Gallagher repeated a debunked oil drilling myth, claiming that "more oil seeps through the ground off the coast of California than is ever spilled out there. So you're going to have much more environmental damage." In fact, according to a County of Santa Barbara report, "The evidence is clear that, far from being invisible against a background of seeps, major spills can have far greater and qualitatively different impacts on the environment than do seeps."
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain falsely claiming that Sarah Palin is "governor of a state that 20 percent of our America's energy supply comes from." In fact, as Factcheck.org noted, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Alaska is responsible for "just 3.5 percent of the country's domestic energy production," and only 2.4 percent of the energy the United States consumes.
It's amazing how so many pundits who spent the entire 2000 mocking Al Gore, telling us how phony and abnormal and boring he was, and how authentic George W. Bush was, now try to rewrite history and pretend that they saw right through W. eight years ago. Add Maureen Dowd to the list of fictional I-told-you-so's.
In her Sunday column, Down writes:
The really scary part of the Palin interview was how much she seemed like W. in 2000, and not just the way she pronounced nu-cue-lar. She had the same flimsy but tenacious adeptness at saying nothing, the same generalities and platitudes, the same restrained resentment at being pressed to be specific, as though specific is the province of silly eggheads, not people who clear brush at the ranch or shoot moose on the tundra.
Palin's a lightweight just like W. in 2000, Dowd warns us. It would have been nice if Dowd had, y'know, actually warned us about that eight years ago instead of obsessing over Gore's trumped up faults.
On CNN Newsroom, Ali Velshi falsely claimed, "In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 40 of these [offshore drilling] platforms, but still no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico because of that." In fact, a 2007 report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm identified damage from Katrina to 27 platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum products into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post all reported Sen. John McCain's assertion at a forum hosted by Pastor Rick Warren that he believes "a baby [is] entitled to human rights" "[a]t the moment of conception." But none of the articles raised the question of how McCain reconciles this statement with his support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and certain exceptions to a ban on abortion.
A Washington Times article uncritically repeated an assertion by Sen. John McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds that "[i]n the Senate, Barack Obama has voted in lockstep with President George W. Bush nearly half the time" and did not mention that, according to Congressional Quarterly, McCain voted with the Bush administration 95 percent of the time in 2007 and has voted with Bush 90 percent of the time over the course of Bush's presidency.
On his Milwaukee radio talk show, Mark Belling referred to schoolteachers who talk to their students about global warming as "idiot union teacher[s]," "liberal unionized hack[s]," "greedy, overpaid unionized schoolteacher[s]," and "fruitcake[s]."
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On his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck did not challenge former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister's assertion that drilling in ANWR would "probably" produce oil in "two or three years." In fact, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration concluded that any benefit from drilling in ANWR would not impact the U.S. oil supply for at least a decade.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said of the environmental effects following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, "[N]ature cleaned it up faster than we ever could." However, an NOAA research chemist reportedly said "very little of the oil actually disappeared," while scientists employed by the state and federal governments recently reported that the effects of the oil spill remain.
The New York Times and The Washington Times uncritically reported that the McCain campaign "ridiculed" Sen. Barack Obama for encouraging people to properly inflate their tires to increase fuel efficiency without noting that the practice has been to shown to reduce fuel consumption or that two Republican governors and McCain surrogates have referred to the fuel economy benefits of properly inflated tires.