Oct
15
2012

CEOs Tout Austerity–Without Being ‘Ideological’ About It

brokaw-mtp

This passage from Meet the Press (10/14/12) says a lot about how middle-of-the-road elite journalists think about fiscal issues. Here’s NBC veteran Tom Brokaw and host David Gregory: BROKAW:   I was just going to say, I talked to a lot of major business leaders who want Romney to get elected, but almost to a man and a woman, they say, “But you know what, we’re going to have to pay some more taxes in our category.”  What they want to do, however, is to benchmark them against spending cuts, so that they can get spending down to 20 percent of […]

Oct
12
2012

Debate Deceptions Are a Time-Tested GOP Strategy

Corporate journalism is not known for standing up to powerful politicians–or for its long memory. And so, when factchecks of the first presidential debate revealed that GOP candidate Mitt Romney was often not very truthful, sometimes even misstating his own policies, the media not only failed to make much of a fuss over Romney’s falsehoods, they also failed to tie them into a GOP tradition of debate dissembling. Wait, did I just say a GOP tradition of debate dissembling? That’s right–it’s a strategy that was acknowledged as far back as 1984, but it’s gone virtually unmentioned in U.S. media since […]

Oct
05
2012

When Did Checking the Facts Become Taking a Candidate ‘at His Word’?

cnn-foreman

Before the first presidential debate, CNN sent out a press release to promote the idea that they’d be doing factchecking of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It’s kind of sad that this would be considered a novel enough idea to warrant a press release, but the actual factchecking was nothing you’d want to call attention to. Anchor Wolf Blitzer cued up the night’s first “reality check” from correspondent John Berman, “on the president’s claim that Mitt Romney wants a $5 trillion tax cut.” And here comes Berman’s factcheck: Now let’s look at the facts here. Mitt Romney does propose across-the-board […]

Oct
04
2012

Romney: I Like Being Able to Fire Journalists Asking Me Questions

Big Bird (from Daily Kos)

Asked in the October 3 debate what he would do to address the federal budget deficit, Mitt Romney named two specific areas that he would cut: He would repeal Obamacare–which according to the Congressional Budget Office would actually increase the 10-year deficit by $109 billion–and eliminate funding for PBS, which, along with other forms of public media funded through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, gets $445 million from the federal government annually–approximately 0.012 percent of the federal budget. Here’s Romney addressing moderator Jim Lehrer: I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other […]

Oct
03
2012

Time: Obama’s Lies Are Worse Because They’re More Accurate

v_600_cover_1015

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 […]

Sep
28
2012

Romney’s Latest Gaffe: Telling the Truth on Taxes

muir-abc-taxes

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 […]

Sep
19
2012

ABC Misses Real Difference Between Romney, Obama Tapes

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 […]

Sep
14
2012

When Not Saying Who’s to Blame Is to Blame

Romney/Obama graphic from Time (by Lincoln Andrew)

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 […]

Sep
13
2012

The Case of the Disappearing NYT Piece

Mitt Romney

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 […]

Sep
11
2012

‘You Can Look Fair or You Can Be Fair’: Corporate Media’s Dilemma

Ezra Klein (New America Foundation)

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 […]

Sep
10
2012

Iran Coverage Offers Confusion Over Clarity

romney-gregory

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 […]

Sep
07
2012

FAIR TV: Iran Misreporting, Labor Day and CNN’s Unbelievable Romney

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.

Sep
05
2012

Dems Didn’t Start Social Security — and Other False Factchecks From Factcheck.org

Rep. James Clyburn (SEIU)

Under the headline “Democratic Disinformation From Charlotte,” the website Factcheck.org (9/5/12) took aim at this “dubious or misleading claim”: Rep. James Clyburn engaged in partisan myth-making when he said “Democrats created Social Security” while Republicans “cursed the darkness.” History records strong bipartisan support in both House and Senate for the measure President Roosevelt signed in 1935. Later, in explaining this judgment, Factcheck wrote: For sure, there was opposition to the legislation. Sen. Daniel Hastings, a Delaware Republican, warned that it would “end the progress of a great country,” as the New York Times reported. But Hastings was in the minority, […]