FOX host revived "just plain wrong" RNC spin calling Kerry "most liberal senator"

››› ››› GABE WILDAU

On August 30, the same day that National Journal editor Charles Green wrote a "Convention Daily" column debunking the oft-repeated Republican talking point that Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is "the most liberal member of the United States Senate," Steve Doocy, co-host of FOX News Channel's FOX & Friends, repeated the misleading talking point during an interview with Senator Kit Bond (R-MO).

From the August 30 edition of FOX News Channel's FOX & Friends:

DOOCY: But, you know, a couple of months ago, the big story was that -- wha -- what's it called? -- the National Journal or something like that had rated Mr. Kerry the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate. And yet, he was still neck and neck and even a little bit ahead of the president.

In his National Journal column, titled "When A Rating Becomes A Talking Point," Green observed that "our annual congressional vote ratings edition ... has become a Republican talking point in the 2004 presidential campaign." Indeed, a Republican National Committee research brief first applied the deceptive "most liberal" label to Kerry back in June, as Media Matters for America has noted. Green found this development "disconcerting because the shorthand used to describe our ratings of Kerry and Edwards is sometimes misleading -- or just plain wrong." He proceeded to explain, as MMFA has done repeatedly (including on July 28 and August 4), that Republicans -- and conservative talking heads like Doocy -- have seized on National Journal's 2003 ideological rating of senators based on 62 Senate votes taken during 2003, 37 of which Kerry missed while on the campaign trail.

By contrast, National Journal's lifetime "liberal" rating of active senators, which encompasses Kerry's entire 20-year Senate career, places him twelfth among the 48 Democrats currently in the Senate.

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