Print media reported McCain ad congratulating Obama, ignored McCain attacks on the same day

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

Articles in several print media outlets reported on an ad by Sen. John McCain congratulating Sen. Barack Obama on accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. But none of these articles pointed out that, notwithstanding the ad's suggestion that McCain was taking the day off from attacking Obama, the McCain campaign ran attack ads the night of Obama's speech and issued a web video and accompanying press release criticizing Obama earlier in the day.

Articles in several media outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Times, and Reuters, reported on an ad by Sen. John McCain in which McCain congratulates Sen. Barack Obama -- who accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech -- that states: "Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, 'Congratulations.' How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow we'll be back at it, but tonight, senator, job well done." But none of these articles pointed out that, notwithstanding the ad's suggestion that McCain was taking the day off from attacking Obama, the McCain campaign ran attack ads the night of Obama's speech and issued a web video and accompanying press release criticizing Obama earlier in the day. Nor did these articles note that McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds issued a statement that evening criticizing Obama's acceptance speech.

A McCain ad asserting Obama is "ready to raise your taxes, but not ready to lead," ran on Washington, D.C., TV station WRC prior to the station's coverage of Obama's speech. The same ad also ran that evening on TV stations in Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.

Moreover, following the conclusion of Obama's acceptance speech, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds issued a statement criticizing the speech:

Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama. When the temple comes down, the fireworks end, and the words are over, the facts remain: Senator Obama still has no record of bipartisanship, still opposes offshore drilling, still voted to raise taxes on those making just $42,000 per year, and still voted against funds for American troops in harm's way. The fact remains: Barack Obama is still not ready to be President.

The statement was followed by a section listing Obama's "Top Misleading Claims."

By contrast, separate articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as a Bloomberg article, reported on McCain's ad, but also noted criticism of Obama's speech by the McCain campaign. The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny reported that "the softer tone did not last; Mr. Obama was still on stage, watching the fireworks, when Mr. McCain's campaign issued a statement attacking him."

Media Matters for America previously noted that on August 28, Meet the Press host Tom Brokaw aired the McCain ad congratulating Obama and called it a "pretty smart ad" without noting the McCain campaign's attacks on Obama that day.

From Washington, D.C., NBC affiliate WRC's broadcast of NBC's August 28 coverage of the Democratic National Convention:

ANNOUNCER: Celebrities don't have to worry about family budgets. But we sure do. We're paying more for food and gas, making it harder to save for college, retirement. Obama's solution? Higher taxes, called a "recipe for economic disaster." He's ready to raise your taxes, but not ready to lead.

McCAIN: I'm John McCain, and I approve this message.

ANNOUNCER: The Redskins Report, returning September 6 on NBC 4.

BRIAN WILLIAMS (NBC Nightly News anchor): We're back here in Denver. We mentioned this is the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's speech. In the crowd tonight, a member of Congress who, as a civil rights worker in the struggle, was beaten to within an inch of his life. He, these days, is U.S. Congressman John Lewis. Our own Savannah Guthrie is with him in this crowd. Savannah?

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Reuters
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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