Several media figures and outlets have uncritically repeated or failed to challenge the discredited GOP talking point that President Obama's cap-and-trade proposal would cost the average U.S. household more than $3,000 per year.
In a recent article, The Washington Times falsely claimed that "[a]t least 61 ex-Guantanamo inmates have returned to terrorism, according to the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency." And CNN.com uncritically reported Rep. Lamar Smith's assertion that "at least 61" former Guantánamo detainees "have returned to terrorist activities against the U.S. and our allies." In fact, according to the Pentagon, the 61-detainee figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having "return[ed] to the fight."
Several media figures are promoting the notion of division among Obama supporters, asserting that "the left" is or should be disappointed with the president-elect's Cabinet selections. But the idea of significant disappointment with Obama runs counter to a USA Today/Gallup poll finding that 94 percent of Democrats "approve of the way Obama is handling his presidential transition."
Suggesting that Sen. Barack Obama had taken a "cheap shot" at Sen. John McCain during the presidential debate, CNN's Bill Schneider wrote: "McCain almost certainly misspoke when he said he wouldn't speak with Spain. ... I am not sure that's a fair thing for Obama to call him on." In fact, McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann reportedly wrote that "there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred" and that McCain in fact "refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero."
In a post on CNN.com's Political Ticker blog, CNN associate political editor Rebecca Sinderbrand wrote: "Before John McCain walked off the stage, his campaign already had a new Web video up featuring footage of the first debate -- clips of Barack Obama agreeing with his Republican rival." However, Sinderbrand did not note that the ad omitted Obama's criticisms of McCain moments later on the subjects which Obama purportedly "agree[d] with his Republican rival."
A CNN.com article reported that Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech at the Republican National Convention "is a sore point with his Democratic colleagues" because Lieberman "attacked Obama." But the article did not mention that the content of Lieberman's speech violated a pledge he had made not to "spend [his] time attacking Barack Obama" at the convention. The article also reported that Democrats "thought Lieberman had gone over the line when he said Obama had not reached across the aisle to work with Republicans," but not that they cited Obama's bipartisan legislative accomplishments to challenge the veracity of that assertion.
In reports that the Log Cabin Republicans have endorsed Sen. John McCain for president, CNN.com and UPI falsely suggested that Gov. Sarah Palin supports benefits for same-sex partners of state employees. In fact, while Palin did veto a bill in 2006 that would have prevented state officials from granting spousal benefits to same-sex couples, Palin has stated that she did so because the Alaska attorney general had advised her that it was unconstitutional, not because she supported spousal benefits for same-sex couples.
In an analysis, CNN.com asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "may have" launched "[t]he first salvo of the general election's age war" when he "argued in an interview ... that [Sen. John] McCain had 'lost his bearings' while pursuing the Republican nomination." But CNN.com did not provide the context of Obama's remark, which would have made clear that Obama was responding to a smear by McCain and was accusing McCain of violating his pledge to avoid negative campaigning when he made the statement.
A CNN online poll asked: "Does [Sen.] Barack Obama show the proper patriotism for someone who wants to be president of the United States?" The Politico's Ben Smith wrote: "[I]t's odd to see the mainstream media drive a largely whispered question that none of his main, named critics -- Hillary, McCain or the RNC -- will touch."