UPDATED: AP's Pickler falsely asserted Bill Clinton "said Obama's candidacy was a 'fairy tale' "

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

Associated Press writer Nedra Pickler falsely asserted that former President Bill Clinton "said [Sen. Barack] Obama's candidacy was a 'fairy tale.' " In fact, Clinton's comment -- "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." -- referred to Obama's statements about his position on the Iraq war, not the Obama campaign itself, as Pickler herself has previously reported.

In a June 24 Associated Press article about former President Bill Clinton pledging to help elect Sen. Barack Obama, writer Nedra Pickler falsely asserted that Clinton "said Obama's candidacy was a 'fairy tale.' " In fact, Clinton's January 7 comment -- "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." -- referred to Obama's statements about his position on the Iraq war, not the Obama campaign itself, as Media Matters for America has documented. Indeed, Pickler herself noted in a January 14 AP article that "Bill Clinton said Illinois Sen. Obama was telling a 'fairy tale' about his opposition to the Iraq war."

In a January 13 piece for The New York Times' Week In Review section, reporter Mark Leibovich noted that in using the words "fairy tale," Clinton "was referring specifically to the perception that Mr. Obama was totally pure in his opposition to the Iraq war." Additionally, on the January 11 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Salon.com editor-in-chief Joan Walsh told host Chris Matthews, "I don't think it was a wise remark, but specifically the context of what he was saying was that ... the notion that Obama had always been steadfastly opposed to the war was the 'fairy tale.' Not that his candidacy was a fairy tale."

Media Matters has noted other instances in which news outlets -- including Newsweek and The Washington Post -- similarly misreported that Clinton's "fairy tale" remarks referred generally to Obama's candidacy.

From Pickler's June 24 Associated Press article:

Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke Sunday and talked about Obama connecting with the former president sometime in the future, Burton said.

Bill Clinton was an outspoken critic of Obama during the primary race. He said Obama's candidacy was a "fairy tale" and raised questions about whether the first-term Illinois senator had the experience to lead the country. During one debate Obama snapped at Hillary Clinton, "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes."

UPDATE: The AP issued an amended version of Pickler's article on June 24, which replaced the false assertion about President Clinton's remarks with the following statement: "He said Obama's opposition to the Iraq war was a 'fairy tale.' "

Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Person
Bill Clinton, Nedra Pickler
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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