Several media outlets -- following the lead of Internet gossip Matt Drudge -- have presented Obama's comments on not wearing an American flag pin as a recent decision made by the candidate, and not an explanation of something he chose to do several years ago. CNN, ABC, and Fox News have reported on the "controversy," providing a platform for several conservatives to attack Obama's patriotism. As NBC News' Chuck Todd put it, "this was the media getting a classic case of the Drudges."
In a report on a federal court ruling temporarily blocking new immigration enforcement rules by the Department of Homeland Security, CNN's Jack Cafferty reported that "[t]he lawsuit challenging the government was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the AFL-CIO, and several San Francisco labor groups." However, while the lawsuit was initially brought by those groups, the San Francisco and U.S. Chambers of Commerce, among others, were allowed to join the lawsuit on September 11.
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On CNN's Out in the Open, Rick Sanchez said Bill O'Reilly "told me on the phone that nobody complained about the show that he had done on the air," referring to the radio show in which O'Reilly made controversial comments about race. Sanchez continued: "Guess what? Somebody did complain on the air to him directly." Sanchez then aired audio of a caller's complaint -- identified by Media Matters -- about O'Reilly's race-related comments during the same radio show.
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On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, author Phil Kent asserted that "back in 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union, of all people, rejected some Ford and Rockefeller grants because of fear of terror links." Guest host Kitty Pilgrim did not challenge the claim. In fact, the ACLU has stated that it rejected funding from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations because their "restrictive funding agreements ... might adversely affect the civil liberties of the ACLU and other grantees."
Discussing the Jena Six controversy, CNN host Kyra Phillips said, "Let's talk about the reality of the hate groups that are in that area [Jena, Louisiana] and the reality of a mind-set that does exist." In response, conservative commentator Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson asserted: "I also agree that there are hate groups all around the country. There are skinheads, KKK, and the NAACP. The NAACP is a hate group as well."
During a discussion of Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, CNN's Howard Kurtz asked if it was "plausible" that CBS made Rather "a scapegoat to placate the Bush administration" over the controversial 60 Minutes II report about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, as Rather alleges. Kurtz's guests -- conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and former CBS Evening News executive producer Rome Hartman -- disputed Rather's assertion. But neither Kurtz nor his guests mentioned two other instances in which CBS allegedly acted to placate the White House in 2004.
On CNN's Out in the Open, Rick Sanchez and CNN contributor Roland Martin discussed Bill O'Reilly's statement that he was surprised there was "no difference" between Sylvia's restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and other New York restaurants, even though Sylvia's is "run by blacks." Sanchez reported that during an "animated" phone conversation, O'Reilly denied any "racial intent" in his comments and described the story as "a hatchet job by Media Matters."
During a September 21 interview, CNN's Carol Costello interviewed National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, but she did not ask LaPierre about controversial remarks made by Ted Nugent -- an NRA board member -- during an August concert in which he insulted Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Dianne Feinstein.
Reporting on Sen. Jim Webb's proposal to "specify minimum periods between deployment of units and members of the Armed Forces" deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, several media outlets noted Sen. John McCain's criticism that the amendment is "unconstitutional" without including comments from Webb or any other Democrat defending the constitutionality of the proposal.
In reporting on Sen. Jim Webb's proposal to require that active-duty troops spend at least the same amount of time at home as the length of their previous tour of duty overseas, CNN's Dana Bash stated, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates warns it would actually make him extend tours in Iraq, break up military units, and reduce combat effectiveness." But Bash made no mention of military leaders who have stated that insufficient time at home also reduces overall combat readiness.