Mainstream media outlets echoed a deceptive framing, created by the conservative media and amplified by House Republicans, of comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), leaving the false impression that he dismissed the plight of cancer-stricken patients denied care by the government shutdown.
From the October 2 edition of CBS' CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
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Face the Nation guest host Nancy Cordes falsely suggested that President Obama does not have a plan to cut the deficit. Cordes compared Obama to Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who Cordes claimed has released a plan that makes "tough choices." In fact, Obama has a detailed plan to reduce the deficit.
Cordes said to Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter:
What about this argument by Republicans who point to Paul Ryan's plan and say, "hey, it may not all be popular, but at least he's making the tough choices"? We've got a $15 trillion debt, we've got entitlements that are exploding, and at least he's willing to put his plan out on the table while the president, at least initially, did not embrace his plan, the Bowles-Simpson plan.
Cutter responded that Obama has a plan, which is available on the White House website. She added that Obama's plan "does make those tough choices," but is "not an ideological document like Paul Ryan's plan."
Later, Cordes claimed that Obama may have a plan on his website, but on the campaign trail, Obama mostly talks about "raising taxes on the two percent. Where are the other bold plans that require sacrifice from the rest of the country?" Cutter pointed Cordes again to the White House website and noted that Obama has not only talked about his budget cutting plans, he has given an address to a joint session of Congress about it.
Cutter proceeded to provide details of Obama's plan to reduce the deficit.
CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes forwarded the Republican suggestion that the House and Senate health care reform bills are a "trillion-dollar scam" because the bills "impos[e] new taxes years before the tax credits would kick in to help Americans buy insurance," and thus would only reduce the deficit in the first decade after enactment. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that both bills would also reduce the deficit beyond the first 10 years.
From the November 13 edition of the CBS Evening News:
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During their September 10 editions, the three evening network news programs cumulatively devoted more coverage to Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's September 9 joint address to Congress on health reform -- in which Wilson claimed President Obama lied when he said "our reform efforts" would not "insure illegal immigrants" -- than they allotted to the speech itself. Moreover, while ABC's Jake Tapper explicitly stated that "the president's reforms" would not "apply to illegal immigrants" and NBC's Kelly O'Donnell said that "the bill, as it's written now, is explicit saying that illegal immigrants will not get any health care benefits in reform," the CBS Evening News did not attempt to fact-check Wilson's interjection.
CBS' Nancy Cordes reported: "Today, the McCain campaign released her voter registration records to prove Palin is a lifelong Republican with no connection to the [Alaskan] Independence Party." But Cordes did not note that Palin addressed the AIP's 2008 state convention in a video message in which she said the group "plays an important role in our state's politics," that she reportedly addressed the party's convention with a video message in 2006, that the McCain campaign has acknowledged that Palin "visited" the AIP's 2000 convention, or that her husband reportedly was a registered member of the party.
Both the CBS Evening News and NBC's Nightly News repeated accusations by Sen. John McCain regarding Sen. Barack Obama's statements on Pakistan and his commitment to use public financing in the general election, without offering a response from Obama or assessing the accuracy of McCain's allegations.
CBS' Nancy Cordes reported that Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney aired Spanish-language campaign ads in Florida, but at no point did Cordes note that Giuliani has said that English proficiency should be a requirement for citizenship, or that Romney has said that "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America."
The CBS Evening News and CNN's The Situation Room noted Sen. John McCain's opposition to displays of the Confederate flag, but did not report that during the campaign for the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000, McCain had equivocated on whether the flag should fly atop South Carolina's state Capitol. Nor did the reports mention McCain's subsequent admission his equivocation "was an act of cowardice" and that he had "broke[n] [his] promise to always tell the truth" in order to try to "win the South Carolina primary" in 2000.