Numerous media figures have asserted that the proposed stimulus package supported by President Barack Obama would amount to spending at least $223,000 for every job created, echoing a press release issued by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee. But by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the stimulus package by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- these media figures ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and education, health, and public safety investments.
In recent weeks, several conservative media figures, echoed by Republican lawmakers, have responded to comparisons in the media of President-elect Barack Obama to FDR, or assertions in the media that a New Deal-level of government intervention will be necessary to resolve the current economic crisis, by asserting that the New Deal was a dismal failure, plunging the 1930s economy into a depression, an assertion that prominent progressive economists flatly reject.
ABCNews.com falsely asserted that an Obama campaign ad questioning why Sen. John McCain is "trying to link [Sen.] Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers" is "incorrect in insinuating that John McCain himself has brought up Ayers," adding, "[I]t is in fact McCain's campaign that has sought to use the Ayers association against Obama." In fact, McCain himself brought up Ayers unprompted during an April interview on ABC's This Week. Further, ABCNews.com gave no indication that McCain has repudiated or in any way distanced himself from his aides' comments linking Ayers to Obama.
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.
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The New York Times reported that during an interview on This Week, Sen. John McCain criticized Sen. Barack Obama "for proposing to withdraw American forces from Iraq within 16 months," but did not mention that only days earlier, McCain told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that 16 months is "a pretty good timetable." The Times not only failed to mention McCain's comment about a timetable, it did not report that McCain denied having used the word "timetable" when asked about it by George Stephanopoulos.
On This Week, Hugh Hewitt claimed that a comment he made during the June 25 edition of his show -- that the September 13 Ohio State-USC football game will "probably [be] the last football game we'll ever get to see before the United States gets blown up by the Islamists under Obama" -- was distorted by Arianna Huffington.
On This Week, George Stephanopoulos did not challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's false suggestion that Sen. Barack Obama "borrow[ed] money" from Antoin "Tony" Rezko "to build his house." In fact, the Obamas established a land trust to purchase the property and took out a $1.32 million mortgage on the home, financed through the Northern Trust Co. And the Obamas did not "build" the house -- they purchased an existing home.
Newsweek has corrected George Will's false assertion in his Newsweek column that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Will made the same assertion on ABC's This Week, but ABC has yet to issue a correction on the show.
In his Newsweek column, George Will falsely claimed that Social Security taxes are levied on household income. He had similarly falsely asserted on ABC's This Week that Sen. Barack Obama "wants to raise taxes on a lot of people, beginning with those earning about $100,000 a year, a household." In fact, Social Security taxes are levied based on individual income, and contrary to his assertion in Newsweek, a married couple with each spouse making less than $102,000 would not face a payroll tax increase if the income cap was raised, even if combined they made more than the current cap.
This Week's George Stephanopoulos did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that "history shows every time you have cut capital gains taxes, revenues have increased -- going back to Jack Kennedy." Stephanopoulos did not note that, notwithstanding a potential short-term revenue increase, many economists have challenged the claim that revenue goes up over the long term as a result of capital gains tax rates being cut.
On This Week, Sen. John McCain asserted that Sen. Barack Obama's reference to Sen. Tom Coburn when Obama was asked about William Ayers was an "incredible statement" that "borders on outrageous." However, at no point during the exchange did George Stephanopoulos point out the actual comments Coburn made that elicited Obama's reference to Coburn, much less confront McCain with the issue of whether he agreed with Coburn's comments.
Discussing on ABC's This Week former President Jimmy Carter's planned meeting with a Hamas leader and the "two schools of thought about how America should deal in the world," Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin -- citing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- said of Sen. Barack Obama: "Obama's position: Talk to your enemies." But Halperin did not mention that Obama has repeatedly said his willingness to meet with international adversaries "does not include Hamas."
On ABC's This Week, while discussing the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, Cokie Roberts asserted that Sen. John McCain is "even or winning in the polls." On MSNBC Live, Reuters' Jon Decker similarly stated that McCain is "running either ahead of both" Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "or running even with both of them." But neither Roberts nor Decker mentioned that in that same poll, both Clinton and Obama beat McCain in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups.
On ABC's This Week, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman claimed that Sen. John McCain "actually stepped out and was much more forward-leaning on immigration reform than Barack Obama was -- Senator Clinton wasn't involved in those negotiations." Host George Stephanopoulos did not point out that McCain abandoned his previous support for comprehensive immigration legislation during his campaign for the Republican nomination.