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Echoing a March 22 Politico article that was hyped by the Drudge Report, the March 23 editions of Today, Morning Joe, MSNBC Live, and Fox & Friends all featured segments on President Obama's laughter during a 60 Minutes interview. The segments are reminiscent of the media's echoing Drudge by seizing on Hillary Clinton's laugh as a new subject of attention following Clinton's talk show appearances in September 2007.
In the past few days, MSNBC has repeatedly used misleading graphics of the Dow Jones industrial average showing a decline since the beginning of November 2008, suggesting that the drop started with the election of President Obama. In fact, the Dow was on a downward trajectory months before the election, dropping 3,738 points from May 2, 2008, to November 3, 2008.
On MSNBC Live, Contessa Brewer stated, "Since Election Day, the Dow Jones industrial average has dropped nearly 3,000 points. It's shed a quarter of its value in just the past two months." But the Dow was on a downward trajectory months before the election, dropping 3,738 points from May 2, 2008, to November 3, 2008.
MSNBC uncritically repeated a Twitter post by Newt Gingrich in which he attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for "standing up to applaud the private jet line" in President Obama's address to Congress "while she flies around in a government jet at taxpayer expense." Gingrich has repeatedly attacked Pelosi over her use of the plane while also falsely claiming that her predecessor, Dennis Hastert, did not use one.
On MSNBC Live, Melissa Francis cited what she called the "legitimate" "complaints" of opponents of the economic recovery plan and stated, "Only 64 percent of the money is going to be spent within the next 19 months." Contessa Brewer replied, "And how do you justify that?" However, the CBO director has stated in congressional testimony that unlike ordinary "periods of economic weakness" that "are fairly short-lived," "CBO projects that economic output will remain significantly below its potential for several more years, so policies that provide stimulus for an extended period of time may be appropriate."
On MSNBC Live, Contessa Brewer suggested that there is "a cloud over" Al Franken because a potential legal challenge by Sen. Norm Coleman or filibuster by Sen. John Cornyn could impede efforts to seat Franken in the Senate. Additionally, Brewer said that despite a potential legal challenge or filibuster, Sen. Chuck Schumer is "saying we should get him [Franken] in right away." But in purporting to represent Schumer's remarks, Brewer did not mention that Schumer reportedly said "there are still possible legal issues that will run their course."
In the absence of any allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, media figures continue to warn that a "cloud" hangs over Obama or assert that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
Disregarding U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's warning to "not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed" in the criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several in the media have used the scandal as an opportunity to engage in suggestions of guilt-by-association against President-elect Barack Obama, by rehashing Obama's purportedly "questionable associations," or suggesting that Obama is a product of corrupt "Chicago politics."
MSNBC Live co-host Contessa Brewer baselessly speculated that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's arrest for, among other allegations, allegedly trying to sell President-elect Obama's Senate seat, might "taint" Obama and "whoever gets named to the Senate seat." Newsweek's Michael Isikoff responded, in part, that "this is a very sticky matter for Obama," adding: "There are a lot of -- a web of interrelationships between Obama and Blagojevich's political world that's gonna make this awkward." Neither noted that, as U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald did later, the criminal complaint "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever."
On MSNBC Live, Contessa Brewer cited a London Daily Mail report that said, in Brewer's words, President-elect Barack Obama is "buying a $30,000 diamond ring for his lovely bride as a thank-you for her support during the election." But Brewer did not note that the Obama transition team has reportedly denied the report, which had been featured as the lead headline on the Drudge Report. Unlike Brewer, the Drudge Report subsequently noted the denial.
On MSNBC Live, after citing a New York Times article reporting that voters are being removed from rolls or being blocked from registering, Contessa Brewer asserted that at a campaign stop, Sen. John McCain "was talking about the importance of making sure that voters who register get a chance to go vote." But in the clip she aired, McCain was not talking about alleged voter disenfranchisement or allegations that people were being illegally barred from voting; rather, he was criticizing alleged efforts to register people who are not eligible to vote.
On MSNBC Live, Contessa Brewer asserted that President Clinton "seemed to give" Sen. Barack Obama "a half-hearted endorsement" during an interview broadcast on NBC's Meet the Press. She then aired a heavily cropped version of Clinton's remarks, falsely suggesting that Clinton had not said he "admires" Obama and omitting his statement that Obama's "greatness will ... become apparent" when he is elected.
Contessa Brewer cited the Tax Policy Center's finding that Sen. Barack Obama's spending and tax plan would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt while ignoring its finding that Sen. John McCain's plan would increase the debt by more than $5 trillion.
On MSNBC, PolitiFact.com's Bill Adair said that Gov. Sarah Palin's claim to have put a jet airplane owned by the state of Alaska on the Internet auction site eBay was true and noted that "[t]he state was unsuccessful selling it on eBay, and they had to hire an aircraft broker to sell it, ended up selling it for considerably less than the state had paid for it." However, neither Adair nor Contessa Brewer noted that Sen. John McCain falsely claimed that Palin "took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay. And made a profit."