Fox News repeatedly aired new McCain ad without noting its falsehoods

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Fox & Friends and America's Newsroom both aired a new ad by Sen. John McCain's campaign that accuses Sen. Barack Obama's campaign of being "disrespectful" to Gov. Sarah Palin. However, none of the hosts on either show gave any indication that the ad contains several distortions.

During the September 12 editions of Fox & Friends and America's Newsroom, Fox News aired a new ad by Sen. John McCain's campaign that accuses Sen. Barack Obama's campaign of being "disrespectful" to Gov. Sarah Palin. However, neither the hosts of Fox & Friends -- Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade -- nor the hosts of America's Newsroom -- Bill Hemmer and Jamie Colby -- gave any indication that the ad contains several distortions.

In its analysis of the ad, FactCheck.org noted that the ad "takes words out of context to make it sound as though the Democratic ticket is belittling Palin" and stated that it "distorts" each of the three Obama campaign statements it uses "to make the case" that Obama is "being 'disrespectful' of Palin," as Media Matters for America previously documented.

From FactCheck.org's September 11 article:

The ad says Obama and [Sen. Joe] Biden "lashed out at Sarah Palin. Dismissed her as 'good looking.' "

That's misleading. The reference is to a report of Biden joking that one of the differences between Palin and him is that "she's good looking." But the report cited in the ad doesn't characterize Biden's remarks as dismissive. Instead, ABC News' Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe describe a moment when Biden "ham[s] it up" for the crowd, with one woman telling Biden that he's "gorgeous." The Democratic candidate then says he'd like to end "on a serious note."

[...]

Our ears don't hear Biden's "good looking" comment as dismissive. To the contrary, it's clearly a self-deprecating remark made in joking about himself and his looks. And by the way, the ad shows a picture of Obama next to the "good looking" quote, but it was Biden, not Obama, who said that.

[...]

The ad continues to imply sexism by claiming that "they said she was doing 'what she was told.' " Presumably "they" are the Democrats. But no one said anything close to that. Rather, the McCain ad took a fragment of an actual statement by an Obama adviser and carefully added language to alter the meaning.

The ad cites a Sept. 4 report from Ben Smith's blog at Politico.com in which he interviewed Obama adviser David Axelrod about Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention.

The full quote reads:

Axelrod, quoted by Politico, Sept. 4: "She tried to attack Obama by saying he had no significant legislative accomplishments -- maybe that's what she was told -- but she should talk to Sen. Lugar, talk to Sen. Coburn, talk to people across the aisle in Illinois where he passed dozens of major laws to expand health care reform welfare, reduce taxes on working families."

Axelrod's statement, as reported, was about information that Palin was given: "maybe that's what she was told." The McCain-Palin campaign manipulated the phrase to make it sound as though he was alleging that Palin took orders: "doing what she was told."

The rest of the interview actually included some praise from Axelrod for Palin. For instance, he said she is a "skilled politician."

And, again, the quote used in the ad wasn't said by Obama, either -- though his photo appears next to it.

[...]

The ad wraps up by saying Obama and Biden "desperately called Sarah Palin a liar." And it adds, "How disrespectful."

The reference is to an ad the Obama-Biden campaign released in which it criticizes Palin for saying she was against the infamous Bridge to Nowhere when she had previously been for it. (We called into question Palin's comments on the bridge last week.) The Obama ad says, "Politicians lying about their records. You don't call that maverick, you call it more of the same." It then quotes an item from the liberal magazine The New Republic, which called the claim that Palin stopped the pork-barrel bridge project "a naked lie."

Indeed, as Media Matters has documented, Palin has put forth outright falsehoods about her purported opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere project.

From the September 12 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

COLBY: Well, the McCain camp is staying on the offensive, as well, today, with their brand new ad, just released this morning. Take a look at this.

[begin video clip]

NARRATOR: He was the world's biggest celebrity --

CROWD: Obama! Obama!

NARRATOR: -- but his star's fading. So they lashed out at Sarah Palin, dismissed her as good looking -- that backfired. So they said she was doing "what she was told," then, desperately, called Sarah Palin a liar. How disrespectful. And how Governor Sarah Palin proves them wrong every day.

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

[end video clip]

COLBY: And of course, Governor Palin considered to have more than held her own in that interview that she gave with Charlie Gibson.

HEMMER: We're going to get to that in a moment, soon, yeah.

COLBY: But does what you wore in 1982, which is what they're trying to point out in that McCain picture of him in that polyester suit, does that -- is that relevant?

HEMMER: An out-of-touch, out-of-date, computer illiterate.

COLBY: You know --

HEMMER: There will be reaction on this. We talked about the sexism. We talk about the ageism. These are the issues that are being laid out with 53 days to go.

COLBY: And not using the computer? It's what's here that counts.

From the September 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: Wow. Got a little personal there.

DOOCY: A little bit.

CARLSON: Yeah, and he's obviously going after the younger demographic by talking about email because who, quite frankly, in American society does not email? So, I think this is effective for the group of people that he's going after as far as age range, but just be -- when you think that you've been swayed one way or another, here's the other side of the story.

[begin video clip]

NARRATOR: He was the world's biggest celebrity --

CROWD: Obama! Obama!

NARRATOR: -- but his star's fading. So they lashed out at Sarah Palin, dismissed her as good looking -- that backfired. So they said she was doing "what she was told," then, desperately, called Sarah Palin a liar. How disrespectful. And how Governor Sarah Palin proves them wrong every day.

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

[end video clip]

DOOCY: OK, so there you've got -- it's nice to see the disco ball --

KILMEADE: Right.

DOOCY: -- back into the campaign.

KILMEADE: That's absolutely true.

DOOCY: Which do you think is more effective? Email us right now: The "Disrespectful" ad or "the John McCain doesn't know how to email" ad? Email us right now at Friends@FoxNews.com.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sarah Palin
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends, America's Newsroom
Stories/Interests
Joe Biden, Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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