Advancing a false Republican accusation, CNN contributor Alex Castellanos falsely claimed that Democrats "gave" AIG executives bonuses. In fact, the economic recovery bill did not create the right for AIG -- or any company -- to pay bonuses. Rather, AIG reportedly disclosed that it had entered into agreements to pay these bonuses more than a year ago, and the special inspector for the TARP program has testified that the Bush administration Treasury Department knew about the AIG bonus contracts and did not insist on their abrogation as a condition of AIG's receiving bailout money.
Media figures have advanced the false claim that President Obama promised during his campaign to stop earmark spending and is breaking that promise by signing the omnibus spending bill currently being considered in the Senate. In fact, Obama promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending.
Many media conservatives have recently embraced and promoted the accusation, almost in unison, that President Obama has "lied" or broken promises. In many cases, these accusations are based on distortions of comments he has made or misrepresentations of campaign pledges.
In recent days, several media figures, including MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski and CNN's Tom Foreman and Campbell Brown, have either uncritically reported or echoed Dick Cheney's assertion that the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies have kept the United States safe. These media figures did not note that a 2008 GAO report found that the U.S. "has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven" in Pakistan, or that many CIA analysts reportedly believe Al Qaeda leaders have declined to attack the U.S. again for strategic reasons, not due to the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies.
On Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull, Campbell Brown and Ali Velshi repeatedly claimed that provisions in the economic recovery bill that extend food stamps and unemployment insurance payments are, in Velshi's words, "not stimulus." But the same day, the Congressional Budget Office director stated in congressional testimony: "Transfers to persons (for example, unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance) would also have a significant impact on GDP. Because a large amount of such spending can occur quickly, transfers would have a significant impact on GDP by early 2010."
Since President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring that the Pentagon's detention facilities at Guantánamo be closed within a year, numerous media figures and outlets have repeated or failed to challenge the claim that 61 former detainees held there have returned to the battlefield. In fact, the figure, which comes from the Pentagon, includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having "return[ed] to the fight."
On CNN's Campbell Brown, discussing whether Republicans are "still raising concerns" about Tim Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary, neither Brown nor Jessica Yellin noted that several Republican senators, including Sen. Orrin Hatch and Judd Gregg, support Geithner. Additionally, Sen. Lindsey Graham has also reportedly expressed support for Geithner.
Since initial reporting that President-elect Barack Obama was considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, many in the media have raised the specter of personal and political "drama" -- which they claim follows Hillary and Bill Clinton wherever they go -- negatively affecting the Obama administration. The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page acknowledged that the media are hoping for "drama" resulting from a Clinton appointment; Page responded to the question of how Obama is "going to keep the drama at bay" by saying: "Well, do we want that? We're journalists."
On July 9, CNN Election Center uncritically aired Sen. John McCain's false claim that he "voted to condemn" the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization "when a amendment was on the floor of the United States Senate" -- the Kyl-Lieberman amendment. However, a July 10 CNN.com blog post reported that "McCain was in New York instead of being in the Senate chamber for the vote in question. The McCain campaign admits the error." But CNN Election Center has yet to report that the McCain campaign has admitted that McCain's assertion was false.
CNN anchors Kyra Phillips and Campbell Brown each uncritically aired Sen. John McCain's false suggestion that Sen. Barack Obama opposed designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. In fact, Obama co-sponsored a bill in 2007 that would have designated the group a terrorist organization.
CNN's Campbell Brown played a video clip of Sen. John McCain praising Sen. Hillary Clinton and then said, "[T]his has certainly got to reverberate with Clinton supporters, the die-hards," without noting that McCain reportedly denied having made the comments aired in the clip.
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