Fox News' Cameron uncritically reported on McCain ad without noting DNC had denied allegations

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On Fox News, Carl Cameron reported that a McCain campaign ad "will attack the Obama campaign for having sent what it will call a small army of lawyers into Alaska to smear Sarah Palin." But Cameron gave no indication that he had sought any comment from the Obama campaign nor did he note that the DNC has reportedly said the assertion is false and that neither the DNC nor the Obama campaign has sent anyone to Alaska to do research.

During the September 10 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron reported that an ad from Sen. John McCain's campaign "will attack the Obama campaign for having sent what it will call a small army of lawyers into Alaska to smear [Gov.] Sarah Palin." But Cameron gave no indication that he had sought any comment from the Obama campaign nor did he note that the Democratic National Committee reportedly denied the assertion when it was made in a September 9 OpinionJournal.com column cited by the ad.

In his September 9 column cited by the McCain ad, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund claimed, "Democrats have airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau and Mrs. Palin's hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background. My sources report the first wave arrived in Anchorage less than 24 hours after John McCain selected her on August 29." But in a blog post that same day, The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reported that DNC research chief Mike Gehrke called Fund's claim a "flat-out absolute fabrication. We have sent absolutely zero people."

Ambinder also reported:

Mike Gehrke, the DNC's research chief, e-mails to say that Democratic staffers have not traveled en masse to Alaska to join the Sarah Palin hunt.

"Not a single person from DC or Chicago has traveled to Alaska to do research," he writes. Not a single Obama staffer, not a DNC staffer, not a hired gun, he says.

Local Democratic operatives are helping out, and Obama has a field office open, he said, but John Fund's report of an "army" of 30 officials being airlifted to Alaska are false.

From the September 10 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

CAMERON: The second ad, which is expected literally any time in the next couple of hours, is one that will attack the Obama campaign for having sent what it will call a small army of lawyers into Alaska to smear Sarah Palin, to dig up dirt and to push stuff up in order to politically discredit her.

Barack Obama said just a week and a half ago that he thought that Palin's family should be off-limits, and he wouldn't countenance a smear, and anybody engaged in it would be fired. Over the course of his campaign in 2007, Obama said he wouldn't take part in what's called opposition research, the pawing through, not of what was often referred to as votes and quotes, but going into the public record to find out stuff about her personal life. And that's what they will assert in an upcoming ad is exactly what Obama is doing. Very, very tough stuff, not so much on the key issues of the day, as it is on the key components of personality and character, because there are so many people who vote on whether or not they can trust and believe in the man, as opposed to what they say about issues.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Carl Cameron
Show/Publication
Happening Now
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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