Several media figures have asserted that Gov. Sarah Palin faces "low" or "lowered" expectations in the upcoming vice-presidential debate and that she therefore faces a lower bar for victory than Sen. Joe Biden. They have made these assertions despite criticism by at least one member of the media over the media's setting of a lower bar for Palin and despite praise of her performance in the Alaska gubernatorial debate by others in the media and by McCain campaign surrogate Mitt Romney.
In a column, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank "sat by as mortgage brokers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made bad loans." Also, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace did not challenge a similar claim by Sen. Jon Kyl that efforts by the Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress to regulate Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae "were stopped at every turn by Democrats." In fact, more than a year ago, Frank sponsored a bill to create the Federal Housing Finance Agency, granting that agency "general supervisory and regulatory authority over" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and directing it to reform the two companies' business practices and regulate their exposure to credit and market risk.
Karl Rove falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama's statement that "you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig" "was a deliberate slap at Governor [Sarah] Palin." In fact, Obama did not mention or refer to Palin in the comments immediately preceding his "lipstick" comment. Rove also falsely asserted, "The only time this word has intruded in recent months in the campaign was in her [Palin's] you know, self-deprecating remark at the convention"; in fact, McCain himself used the phrase "putting lipstick on a pig" in a public appearance on May 2.
During separate interviews on NBC's Nightly News and Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama was a community organizer when Gov. Sarah Palin was in elected office. Neither NBC's Brian Williams nor Fox's Chris Wallace noted that McCain's claim is false. In fact, Palin was an undergraduate at the University of Idaho when Obama was a community organizer.
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace did not ask Sen. John McCain about the current ethics investigation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, despite McCain's statement that Palin is "a reformer" and that his selection of her as his vice-presidential running mate "brings a spirit of reform and change that is vital now in our nation's capital."
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain said that regarding the "bridge to nowhere" project, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "stood up and said, 'We don't need it. And if we need it, we'll pay for it ourselves.' " Chris Wallace did not note in response that during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Palin reportedly supported the proposal to build a bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island and suggested that Alaska's congressional delegation should continue to try to procure funding for the project.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer and John King both cited an August 15-18 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in which 52 percent of Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters said they will support Sen. Barack Obama, but neither noted that an August 19-22 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 70 percent of Clinton supporters "back Obama," according to the Post.
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace said that "after giving Hillary Clinton a speaking role on Tuesday night and Bill Clinton a speaking role on Wednesday night, now Hillary Clinton's going to get her name placed in nomination and to have a roll call. Question: Is that the way President Obama would negotiate, to just keep caving in?" Wallace also asked if placing Clinton's name in nomination was "[s]mart politics or a show of weakness."
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace did not challenge McCain campaign manager Rick Davis' assertion that "[y]ou'll never find [Sen.] John McCain changing his stripes just because of an election," despite criticism of Sen. John McCain's shifts on policy, some of which he has acknowledged. Indeed, McCain has "chang[ed] his stripes" and reversed his position on comprehensive immigration reform and the religious right.
On Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams asserted of a recent campaign ad from Sen. Barack Obama: "He makes himself out to be born in Kansas, Kansas values. He's in Hawaii." However, as Media Matters for America has noted, in the ad, Obama does not "make himself out to be born in Kansas"; rather, he makes clear he was "raised" by his mother and grandparents, who "grew up" in Kansas. Karl Rove made a similar claim in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol, who previously declared that "[w]hite women are a problem ... we all live with that," stated of Sen. Hillary Clinton: "She's put behind her the horrible sexism and misogyny the Democratic primary voters demonstrated, which I'm appalled by, personally. Never would have happened in the Republican Party. You know, we're -- Republicans are much more open to strong women."
On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol criticized the Supreme Court's decision striking down portions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) and suggested that fears about that law's denial of the writ of habeas corpus were overblown because "American citizens ... and anyone arrested in this country [have] a right to habeas corpus." But contrary to Kristol's suggestion, the MCA explicitly denied habeas rights to noncitizens, regardless of where that person is detained.
On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."
Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace did not challenge Gov. Tim Pawlenty's false assertion that Sen. Barack Obama "is somebody who has first said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard isn't a terrorist group, and now he's changed his views on that and several other foreign policy issues." In fact, Obama has consistently supported designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, having co-sponsored a bill in 2007 to do so.
On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol falsely claimed that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "didn't denounce MoveOn.org when they ran the 'General Betray Us' ad when General [David] Petraeus was testifying before Congress." In fact, both Clinton and Obama voted for an amendment in September 2007 that condemned the ad. Additionally, Clinton stated at the time, "I am an admirer of General Petraeus, as I've said on numerous occasions. I don't condone it, and I joined in voting for a resolution that condemned such attacks."