Ignoring contrary evidence, NY Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette uncritically repeated McCain accusation that Obama is "delay[ing] the World Series"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

The New York Times and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's suggestion that Sen. Barack Obama is "delay[ing] the World Series" with his purchase of 30 minutes of network airtime to be broadcast October 29. Neither article noted that, according to the Fox executive who reportedly negotiated the ad buy, Obama's purchase of the airtime would not delay the start of the game.

Reporters Michael Cooper and Jack Healy asserted in an October 29 New York Times article that Sen. Barack Obama's purchase of 30 minutes of network airtime to be broadcast that evening is "possibly adding further delay to the rained-out fifth game of the World Series." The Times article, as well as an October 29 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by reporter Tracie Mauriello, also uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's remark that, "No one will delay the World Series game with an infomercial when I am president." In neither case did the articles note that a Fox television executive reportedly said that Obama's purchase of the airtime would not delay the start of the World Series game scheduled to be played on October 29. Nor did either note that none of the World Series games so far have begun before 8:30 p.m., when Obama's campaign program is scheduled to end, as the Times itself noted in a separate article.

Politico's Ben Smith reported in an October 28 blog post that "[a] Fox Broadcasting executive denied that Barack Obama's half-hour ad, scheduled for tomorrow night, forced Fox and Major League Baseball to delay the start of a World Series game." Smith quoted Fox executive Joe Coppola, who according to Smith, "negotiated the ad buy," as saying: "Our first pitch for the world series is usually around 8:30 anyway -- so we didn't push back the game, it was really just about suspending the pre-game -- you know, [Fox baseball announcer] Joe Buck. ...That's all we did." Coppola continued: "By no means did they push to get us to accommodate them with Game Six. ...We're just missing the pregame, which isn't a big deal for us. It was a business decision."

Similarly, in an October 28 Times article, reporter Jim Rutenberg wrote: "(Fox executives have said that they, and not the Obama campaign, had initially asked Major League Baseball to move the start of Wednesday's game to 8:35 p.m. from 8:20, to make way for his infomercial. But as it turns out, such a delay was not necessary anyway; none of the World Series games has started before 8:30, and two started after 8:35.)"

Coppola referenced "Game Six" because that was the World Series game that was originally scheduled to be played on October 29. However, Game 5 of the World Series was suspended because of rain on October 27, and weather also prevented the resumption of Game 5 on October 28. The resumption of Game 5 is now scheduled for October 29, with Game 6, if necessary, scheduled for October 30.

From the October 29 New York Times article by Cooper and Healy:

And [McCain] mocked Mr. Obama's plans to broadcast a half-hour campaign commercial on Wednesday night, possibly adding further delay to the rained-out fifth game of the World Series. After a wet day in Philadelphia, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that game five, which was suspended Monday night because of bad weather, would not resume until Wednesday evening.

"By the way, no one will delay the World Series game with an infomercial when I'm president!"

From Mauriello's October 29 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article:

Mr. McCain had scheduled another event 50 miles away in Quakertown, but canceled because of the dismal weather. Major League Baseball canceled the completion of Game 5 of the World Series in Philadelphia for the same reason.

The World Series played a role at Mr. McCain's Hershey rally, as well. Mr. Obama is scheduled to deliver a televised address, paid for by his campaign, tonight.

"No one will delay the World Series game with an infomercial when I am president," Mr. McCain told the cheering crowd.

Network/Outlet
The New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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