A List of Reporters Who Need To Be Set Straight: Let’s Call Them
By Erick Posted in 2008 — Comments (27) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
The media, now inching into campaign mode against the Republican, are willingly giving Barack Obama a free pass on his "100 years" lie about John McCain.
As we’ve noted before, Obama has repeatedly said things along the lines of this from a Hardball appearance:
John McCain got upset today apparently because I had repeated exactly what he said, which is that we might be there [Iraq] for 100 years if he had his way.
Mind you, today David Axelrod told Joe Scarborough, "Senator Obama hasn't said that Senator McCain said we would be at war for 100 years." Well, compare Axelrod's statement to Obama's own words.
More troubling though, the media is willfully circulating Obama's statement without pointing out (A) John McCain never said that; (B) The Annenberg Public Policy Center called Obama’s statement a “serious distortion to the point of rank falsehood”; (C) Washington Post's FactChecker column says the claim does not pass the Pinocchio Test; or (D) the Columbia Journalism Review, not exactly a bastion of Republican support, declares the "Press needs to call Obama on distortion of McCain’s statement."
Here are some examples of inaccurate or incomplete reporting relating to the attack from the past week:
Read on . . .
The Los Angeles Times (Maeve Reston and Peter Nicholas, “Obama, McCain Bicker On Iraq”):
“Obama also stood by his criticism of McCain for saying U.S. forces could stay in Iraq for as long as 100 years. ‘Barack Obama,’ his spokesman Bill Burton said, ‘doesn’t need any lectures from John McCain, who has consistently misunderstood American national security and the history of the Middle East in arguing for an invasion and 100-year occupation of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.’”
The Chicago Tribune (Mike Dorning and Rick Pearson, “Clinton, Obama Aim Populist Salvos At McCain”):
“Meanwhile, Sen. McCain has been saying I don’t understand national security, but he’s the one who wants to keep tens of thousands of United States Troops in Iraq for as long as 100 years,’ Obama said.”
Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette (Timothy McNulty and James O’Toole, “Clinton, Obama Pound On McCain Over Economy”):
“At a subsequent news conference, Mr. Obama defended his repeated references to Mr. McCain's willingness to keep troops in Iraq for 100 years. The Republican has argued that Democrats -- including Mr. Obama -- have unfairly caricatured his comment, which, he said, alluded to a sustained presence on the model of post-World War II troop commitments to Europe or to South Korea after that conflict.
"’I don't think it's unfair at all,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘John McCain -- I mean, we can run the YouTube spot -- has said that we will stay there as long as it takes. And if it takes another 100 years, he's up for that commitment, and that implies that there is some criteria by which we would understand how long it takes.’"
Democratic Media Consultant Dan Payne, writing in the Boston Globe (“So, You Want To Be A McCain Democrat?”):
“No such thing is happening. Iran, a Shi’ite country, has been training and financing Shi’ite extremists, not Al Qaeda, who are Sunni insurgents. No wonder McCain says we’ll have to be in Iraq for 100 years. He doesn’t know who’s fighting whom.”
And, of course, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, speaking here on March 31:
“I wouldn’t want to have to defend a recession. I wouldn’t want to have to defend 100 year occupation in Iraq, even if it was reportedly to be peaceful.”
There’s a dereliction of basic journalistic duty on the part of these reporters and personalities; that much is clear from the above quotes. This isn’t something that Americans concerned about politics descending into the gutter have to take lying down, however. There is, in fact, something we can do about this.
Email or call these reporters and personalities, and their editors and producers and tell them that you want them to report accurately, and without bias-inducing omissions and inadvertent validation of blatant mischaracterizations and distortions. Tell them they’re not doing their jobs, and that you, as someone who reads their newspaper, or watches their show, expect better.
Here are the relevant names, numbers and email addresses:
Maeve Reston: firstname.lastname@example.org; 213-237-5000
Peter Nicholas: email@example.com; 213-237-5000
Mike Dorning: MDorning@tribune.com; 202-824-8223
Rick Pearson: RAP30@aol.com; 312-222-4271
Editor: George De Lama: firstname.lastname@example.org; 312-222-2408
Timothy McNulty: email@example.com; 412-263-1581
James O’Toole: firstname.lastname@example.org; 412-263-1562
City Desk Editor: Tom Birdsong: email@example.com; 412-263-3068
Editorial Writer: Susan Mannella: firstname.lastname@example.org; 412-263-1448
Editorial Page Editor: Tom Waseleski: email@example.com; 412-263-1669
Op-Ed Page Editor: Renee Loth: firstname.lastname@example.org; 617-929-3035
Central feedback receptacle: email@example.com