Russert suggested GOP would run ads against Obama featuring "Pledge of Allegiance" charge without noting it's false

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

On Meet the Press, Tim Russert asserted that "many Democrats fear Republicans in the fall will string together an ad which shows," among other things, "[Sen.] Barack Obama with his hands clasped in front of him rather than holding his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance." However, the photo to which Russert was apparently referring appeared in Time magazine with a caption indicating it was taken during the national anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance.

On the April 20 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert asserted that "many Democrats fear Republicans in the fall will string together an ad which shows," among other things, "[Sen.] Barack Obama with his hands clasped in front of him rather than holding his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance." Russert then asked David Axelrod, chief strategist for Obama's presidential campaign, "Are you concerned that all those kinds of issues could be strung together to create an impression of Obama that would make him almost unelectable to a lot of swing voters?" However, as Media Matters for America has noted, the photo to which Russert was apparently referring -- which is being spread in a chain email -- appeared in Time magazine with a caption indicating it was taken during the national anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance.

Washington Post "fact checker" Michael Dobbs noted in a November 2, 2007, item about the email: "Contrary to the e-mails attacking Obama for disrespecting the flag, the candidates were not reciting the pledge of allegiance. They were standing for the national anthem." Dobbs also wrote: "Asked whether Obama normally puts his hand over his heart while listening to the national anthem, Obama spokesman Bill Burton replied by e-mail: 'Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. In no way was he making any sort of statement, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous.' " Indeed, other photos show Obama with his hand over his heart during the national anthem.

TPM Media editor and publisher Josh Marshall also noted that Russert failed to mention that the charge against Obama was false in an April 20 post titled "Russert Dumpster Diving."

From the April 20 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

RUSSERT: Let me ask about two final issues. David Axelrod, based on the last couple of weeks, many Democrats fear Republicans in the fall will string together an ad which shows Michelle Obama saying that she really never had pride in America until this campaign, when Barack Obama's running. Barack Obama with his hands clasped in front of him rather than holding his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. Barack Obama not wearing a flag pin. Barack Obama talking about clinging to faith and to guns. Suggesting -- Barack Obama meeting with Bill Ayers, a former Weatherground Underman -- Weatherman Underground figure. Are you concerned that all those kinds of issues could be strung together to create an impression of Obama that would make him almost unelectable to a lot of swing voters?

Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
Tim Russert
Show/Publication
Meet the Press
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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