In Time magazine's new cover story ("Blue Truth, Red Truth," 10/3/12), Michael Scherer attempts to sort out the puzzle of campaign season factchecking. But while the cover promises to tell us which candidate is telling the truth, it mostly manages to capture some of the corporate media's worst factchecking tropes. The article kicks off with a hefty helping of false balance–the tendency to see all problems as coming more or less equally from both sides. Obama complains about Romney's sustained, false claims that the White House is doing away with work requirements under welfare. Scherer notes this is false–and then […]
We're familiar with campaign reports that don't do enough factchecking. But here's a strange one from ABC World News (9/25/12), which seems to be complaining that Mitt Romney departed from his usual misleading claims about how Obama's been raising your taxes. Pointing this out would be a good thing. The problem is that you have a hard time figuring out what the facts are, because the truth doesn't seem to be the primary concern of the segment. Here's what correspondent David Muir said: MUIR: Today, something from Romney about the President we haven't heard before. Romney has long argued the […]
From last night's ABC World News (9/18/12): DIANE SAWYER: But we do remember four years ago the president, then candidate, was at a fundraiser, it was during the primary, but he too was caught on tape. JAKE TAPPER: That's right, he was talking about the difficulty of reaching small-town Pennsylvanians and how, because of tough economic circumstances, they get bitter, they cling to religion and guns and xenophobia. But here is the key difference between what then-Senator Obama said four years and this Mitt Romney tape. What Obama said then, that was seven months before the election. He had time […]
Time magazine's James Poniewozik (9/24/12–subscription required) says it's been "a banner year for the factcheckers," and yet the facts keep on getting mangled: Yet the traffic violations keep coming. Scads of fibs, exaggerations and misleading statements have been swept up in the dragnet: a super-PAC ad implying that Mitt Romney was responsible for the cancer death of a laid-off worker's wife, a Republican claim that Barack Obama was ditching welfare work requirements, a charge by Senator Harry Reid that someone told him Romney hadn't paid taxes for years, a boatload of statements from Paul Ryan's vice-presidential acceptance speech. Poniewozik has […]
At Huffington Post (9/13/12), Ryan Grim and Michael Calderone are raising questions about the somewhat mysterious disappearance of a New York Times news article: On Wednesday, the New York Times published a provocative story bylined by David E. Sanger and Ashley Parker, leading with the news that Mitt Romney had personally approved the blistering Tuesday night statement on the attacks in Libya and Egypt that landed his campaign in trouble. But hours later, the newspaper wiped the story out and replaced it with a significantly rewritten piece bylined by Peter Baker and Ashley Parker…. The later version, which appeared on […]
Ryan Cooper of Political Animal (9/8/12) called attention to a column by Washington Post's Ezra Klein (8/30/12) that I think really sums up the corporate media's problem with false balance. After arguing at length that "quite simply, the Romney campaign isn't adhering to the minimum standards required for a real policy conversation," Klein wraps up: I don't like that conclusion. It doesn't look "fair" when you say that. We've been conditioned to want to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame, and the fact of the matter is, I would like to give both sides relatively equal praise and […]
On NBC's Meet the Press (9/9/12), Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and host David Gregory had a discussion about the failures of the Obama administration's foreign policy that included this: ROMNEY: The president has not drawn us further away from a nuclear Iran. And in fact Iran is closer to having a weapon, closer to having nuclear capability, than when he took office. This is the greatest failure, in my opinion, of his foreign policy. He ran for office saying he was going to meet with Ahmadinejad. He was going to meet with Castro, Kim Jong Il. All the […]
The new episode of FAIR TV is here, featuring misreporting on Iran's nuclear energy program, NewsHour lecturing labor leaders on Labor Day, and some of the most embarrassing biographical puffery for a presidential candidate you're likely to ever hear. Please share it with your friends, and let us know what you think in comments below.
NBC's Tom Brokaw from the Republican National Convention last night (8/30/12): The best line, I think, in the speech was the one in which he said: "President Obama wants to slow the growth of the oceans, I want to help you and your family." Yeah, wasn't that great when Romney pretended we weren't facing an ongoing global catastrophe, and made fun of people who thought we should do something about it? How can you top that?
In an attempted factcheck of Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Republican convention, AP's Calvin Woodward (8/30/12) takes on Romney's big laugh line: President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family. Woodward looked into it and found that, indeed, Obama had said something like that. But aren't the important factual questions here whether ocean levels actually are rising, and if so whether it's possible to do anything about them? (The answers are "yes" and "yes," as it turns out.) The Washington Post […]
It appears someone has posted a hilarious send-up of Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. On his site there's a Talking Points commentary so wrong-headed and contradictory that it has to be a joke–and a pretty convincing one. "As you may know, we cover politics a bit differently here. We are not much on party propaganda or political bloviating," the guy who looks just like Bill O'Reilly explained. He went on to say that his coverage from the Republican convention will not be the Republicans are good and Democrats are bad or vice versa. We are not in the business of […]
In a New York Times story (8/24/12) about Mitt Romney's energy proposals, reporters Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss make this observation: With gasoline prices again approaching $4 a gallon, Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, is also trying to merge energy and economic policy in a way that will make voters see increased energy production as a pocketbook issue. Note that Lipton and Krauss don't say that increased U.S. energy production will actually affect the $4-a-gallon price of gas and hence the voters' pocketbooks; that would be inaccurate, since oil is a global commodity and it's impossible for the U.S. […]
"Mitt Romney Sees Path to Energy Independence," an L.A. Times piece by Seema Mehta (8/22/12), doesn't mention climate change at all. It also doesn't mention tar sands, the Canadian oil deposits whose extraction would devastate the environment, even though that's what Romney's talking about when he says that approving the Keystone pipeline will be one of the keys to energy independence for "North America." Nor does it mention the ongoing ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, even though that's surely relevant to Romney touting offshore drilling as the other major piece of his energy plan. The story also leads […]