Minutes after Begala debunked the falsehood, CNN caption claimed Casey "was denied a speaking role ... because he opposed abortion rights"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

During CNN's Democratic National Convention coverage, Paul Begala debunked the claim that Bob Casey Sr. was not allowed to speak at the 1992 Democratic convention because of his opposition to abortion rights. Less than 15 minutes later, CNN displayed the false on-screen caption: "FACT: Casey's father was denied a speaking role at the 1992 Democratic convention because he opposed abortion rights." MSNBC's Chris Matthews also repeated the false claim.

Less than 15 minutes after CNN political analyst Paul Begala debunked the oft-repeated falsehood that late Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey Sr. was denied a speaking role at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because he opposed abortion rights, CNN displayed the false on-screen text: "FACT: Casey's father was denied a speaking role at the 1992 Democratic convention because he opposed abortion rights."

Prior to the convention speech of Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), CNN host Anderson Cooper asserted that Casey's father "was not allowed to speak here" because of his opposition to abortion rights. Begala replied, "[T]hat's a bit of a myth." Begala went on to say that Casey Sr. "was a client of mine" and asserted: "He refused to endorse Bill Clinton and he wanted to give an entire speech about abortion, and nobody wants a 30-minute speech about abortion at a Democratic convention." In response, CNN host Wolf Blitzer said: "That myth has survived all of these years, Paul. Thanks for clarif -- clearing that up."

Notwithstanding Blitzer's acknowledgement of the inaccuracy of the claim, approximately 12 minutes later, during Casey's speech, CNN displayed the false on-screen text:

Casey

In addition, during MSNBC's August 26 coverage of the Democratic National Convention, anchor Chris Matthews said of Sen. Casey: "Sixteen years ago, this young guy's father, the governor of Pennsylvania and his namesake, was refused the right to speak on the floor of the Democratic Convention in New York because he took a pro-life or anti-abortion rights position."

As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, other Democrats who opposed abortion rights spoke at that convention and at every convention since, so Casey's opposition to abortion rights could not have been the sole reason he was not given a speaking role.

From CNN's August 26 coverage of the Democratic National Convention:

BEGALA: Can I say he's a -- I worked for Bob's father and I worked for Bob. So, he's a former client of mine and he showed me the speech. And what he wants to do are two things: I think Hilary's [Rosen] right. He wants to make the blue-collar economic case. Casey voters are overwhelmingly exactly the people Barack needs -- blue-collar, working class voters in that state of Pennsylvania. He's also going to touch on the biggest issue on which he disagrees with Senator Obama --

COOPER: Which is abortion.

BEGALA: -- which is abortion. And he will see this as -- and he does see it -- his invitation to speak here. Barack's reaching out to Senator Casey and to his voters as an example of Senator Obama's ability to find common ground.

COOPER: His father was not allowed to speak here for that very same reason in 19 --

BEGALA: That's not -- that's bit of a myth.

COOPER: It's a bit of a myth?

BEGALA: He was a client of mine, too, and I loved him. There were two things: He refused to endorse Bill Clinton and he wanted to give an entire speech about abortion, and nobody wants a 30-minute speech about abortion at a Democratic convention. So it was actually a little more sophisticated than the myth.

COOPER: We're going to take a short break, Wolf, but that speech obviously going to be very important.

BLITZER: That myth has survived all of these years, Paul. Thanks for clarif -- clearing that up.

From MSNBC's August 26 coverage of the Democratic National Convention:

MATTHEWS: We're watching on the floor right now the beginning of short remarks by Senator Robert Casey, the new senator from Pennsylvania. Sixteen years ago, this young guy's father, the governor of Pennsylvania and his namesake, was refused the right to speak on the floor of the Democratic Convention in New York because he took a pro-life or anti-abortion rights position.

The son we're watching right now was elected in 2006 on the same position, also anti-abortion rights. And the Democratic Party, what it's trying to do here is build a coalition, largely of pro-choice people, but with some -- a few -- pro-lifers, in order to win 60 seats in the U.S. Senate. You're watching here the construction of a very political campaign to win control of this government. He is an example of that. The organization worked by Chuck Schumer. So we're going to go to the speech right now.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC, CNN
Person
Chris Matthews, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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