Reporting on a rally Gov. Sarah Palin held in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted an audience member saying of Sen. Barack Obama: "Tell him to go back to Indonesia. Tell him to show his birth certificate." The Post-Gazette did not note that the charge that Obama has not released a valid U.S. birth certificate has been widely debunked.
Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Jerome Corsi suggested or asserted that the true purpose of Sen. Barack Obama's current trip to Hawaii is not to visit his ailing grandmother, as Obama claims, but rather to address rumors -- widely debunked -- that Obama has failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate. However, in addition to FactCheck.org and a Hawaiian Health Department official, even Corsi's employer, the right-wing website WorldNetDaily, has reportedly determined that the birth certificate provided by the Obama campaign is authentic.
G. Gordon Liddy asserted on his nationally syndicated radio show: "[W]e still don't have a birth certificate for [Sen. Barack] Obama. There are claims that he was actually born in Kenya." The Washington Times' Wesley Pruden similarly wrote that a "summer-long controversy continues about when and where the senator was actually born" and falsely asserted that "[t]he Obama campaign has been reluctant to produce a birth certificate." In fact, the Obama campaign has released Obama's birth certificate, and even the right-wing website WorldNetDaily has reported that claims about Obama's birth certificate being fraudulent are false.
On Fox News, David Asman falsely claimed of Sen. Barack Obama's reported plans for a White House transition months before the November election: "It's never been done before." Similarly, on MSNBC Live, U.S. News & World Report's Kenneth Walsh asserted that Obama is preparing for taking office "very early, and it plays into this notion that the Republicans are talking about, about Obama being too arrogant, that he has sort of a sense of inevitability that has set in there." However, a Media Matters review confirms that Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter all planned for a White House transition months before the election.
On MSNBC Live, Alex Witt reported on a statement by Sen. John McCain's campaign criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for reportedly having "already set up a White House transition team." Witt did not challenge the suggestion that it is unusual or inappropriate for a presumptive nominee to plan for a presidential transition; indeed then-Gov. George W. Bush did in the summer of 2000. Nor did Witt note that Bush-Cheney transition director Clay Johnson said at the time that it would be "irresponsible not to be doing this."
In an article on President Bush's plans for his last year in office, The Washington Post included a quote from "a senior White House official" saying, "Don't ever underestimate the leverage of the presidency. ... Many of us here still believe there are a number of things that will get done." The Post, which has repeatedly allowed administration officials to praise Bush anonymously, gave no indication as to why a White House source required anonymity in order to express confidence in the White House's ability to achieve its goals.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich mischaracterized Tim Russert's question to Sen. Hillary Clinton during the October 30 Democratic presidential debate regarding a 2002 letter written by former President Bill Clinton to the National Archives and Records Administration. Rich wrote that "Bill Clinton exercised his right to insist that all communications between him and his wife be 'considered for withholding' until 2012," adding, "When Mrs. Clinton was asked by Mr. Russert at an October debate if she would lift that restriction, she again escaped by passing the buck to her husband: 'Well, that's not my decision to make.' " In fact, Russert falsely claimed that Bill Clinton's letter asked that the communications "not be made available to the public until 2012."
CNN's Jessica Yellin uncritically reported Sen. Mitch McConnell's claim that a recently released report on the Iraq war by the Government Accountability Office was "not equal" in significance to an upcoming report from the Bush administration because the administration's report "is written into law." In fact, the GAO report is required by the same law as the president's report.
On Hardball, Chris Matthews did not challenge a claim by David Rivkin, a former Justice Department official, that the impeachment of Bill Clinton by the House of Representatives "is tantamount to what the jury found with regard to [Lewis] Scooter [Libby]." In fact, the two impeachment articles passed by the House constituted a compilation of accusations against Clinton. These accusations were then considered by the Senate, which acquitted him on both charges.