NYT Bluntly Calls McCain Accusations Against Obama "False"
For "McCain Barbs Stirring Outcry As Distortions - Backlash Focuses on 2 Attacks on Obama," the Times again trained its fact-checking apparatus mostly on McCain and found his campaign unjust in its attacks on Obama, using blunt language rarely used by the paper to characterize false Democratic attacks on Republicans.
From Saturday's off-lead story by Michael Cooper and Jim Rutenberg:
Harsh advertisements and negative attacks are a staple of presidential campaigns, but Senator John McCain has drawn an avalanche of criticism this week from Democrats, independent groups and even some Republicans for regularly stretching the truth in attacking Senator Barack Obama's record and positions.
Mr. Obama has also been accused of distortions, but this week Mr. McCain has found himself under particularly heavy fire for a pair of headline-grabbing attacks. First the McCain campaign twisted Mr. Obama's words to suggest that he had compared Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, to a pig after Mr. Obama said, in questioning Mr. McCain's claim to be the change agent in the race, "You can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig." (Mr. McCain once used the same expression to describe Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's health plan.)
Then he falsely claimed that Mr. Obama supported "comprehensive sex education" for kindergartners (he supported teaching them to be alert for inappropriate advances from adults).
Those attacks followed weeks in which Mr. McCain repeatedly, and incorrectly, asserted that Mr. Obama would raise taxes on the middle class, even though analysts say he would cut taxes on the middle class more than Mr. McCain would, and misrepresented Mr. Obama's positions on energy and health care.
Some who have criticized Mr. McCain have accused him of blatant untruths and of failing to correct himself when errors were pointed out.
On Friday on "The View," generally friendly territory for politicians, one co-host, Joy Behar, criticized his new advertisements. "We know that those two ads are untrue," Ms. Behar said. "They are lies. And yet you, at the end of it, say, 'I approve these messages.' Do you really approve them?"
"Actually they are not lies," Mr. McCain said crisply, "and have you seen some of the ads that are running against me?"
"The View" is friendly to conservative politicians? Tell that to liberal hosts Barbara Walters and Joy Behar (not to mention former host and 9-11 conspiracy-monger Rosie O'Donnell).
The Times at least breaks up the monotony with some Obama criticism, although the reporters make it clear they think he's not the worst offender of the two:
Mr. Obama's hands have not always been clean in this regard. He was called out earlier for saying, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain supported a "hundred-year war" in Iraq after Mr. McCain said in January that he would be fine with a hypothetical 100-year American presence in Iraq, as long as Americans were not being injured or killed there.
More recently, Mr. Obama has been criticized for advertisements that have distorted Mr. McCain's record on schools financing and incorrectly accused him of not supporting loan guarantees for the auto industry - a hot topic in Michigan. He has also taken Mr. McCain's repeated comments that American economy is "fundamentally sound" out of context, leaving out the fact that Mr. McCain almost always adds at the same time that he understands that times are tough and "people are hurting."