A major media outlet slammed Barack Obama today for misleading and untruthful advertising. Was it Fox? ABC? The Washington Post? Not in this case, at least. The New York Times, which has come under fire for a series of slanted and misleading attacks on John McCain themselves, scolds Obama for misrepresenting McCain’s positions on a number of issues:
Mr. Obama began his own run of advertisements on radio and television that have matched the dubious nature of Mr. McCain’s more questionable spots.
A radio advertisement running in Wisconsin and other contested states misleadingly reports that Mr. McCain “has stood in the way of” federal financing for stem cell research; Mr. McCain did once oppose such federally supported research but broke with President Bush to consistently support it starting in 2001 (his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, does not support it).
A commercial running here on Thursday morning highlighting Mr. McCain’s votes against incentives for alternative energy misleadingly asserts he supports tax breaks for “one source of energy: oil companies.” Mr. McCain’s proposed corporate tax break would cover all companies, including those developing new sources of power.
A new television advertisement playing in areas with high concentrations of elderly voters and emphasizing Mr. McCain’s support for President Bush’s failed plan for private Social Security accounts misleadingly implies Mr. McCain supported “cutting benefits in half” — an analysis of Mr. Bush’s plan that would have applied to upper-income Americans retiring in the year 2075.
A much criticized Spanish-language television advertisement wrongly links the views of Mr. McCain, who was a champion of the sweeping immigration overhaul pushed by Mr. Bush, to those of Rush Limbaugh, a harsh critic of the approach, and, frequently, of Mr. McCain.
Jim Rutenberg and Julie Bosman find five egregious claims by Team Obama. That’s five more than anyone would have expected from the Gray Lady, and all the more interesting because of Rutenberg’s reporting. Rutenberg was the lead reporter on the execrable Vicki Iseman story in February, when the Times attempted to claim that McCain had a romantic fling with a lobbyist on the basis of nothing more than unsubstantiated gossip from two disgruntled former staffers.
Obama’s campaign has wallowed in victimhood over supposedly misleading advertising, but their Exhibit A is flat-out wrong. They claimed that the bill Obama supported in Illinois to teach sex education to kindergartners was only to make them aware of sexual predators, but the bill itself and its co-sponsors both render that claim inaccurate. Instead of making a case for age-appropriate sexual education in kindergarten, which is what the bill required and Obama supported, he decided to lie about it and accuse McCain of dishonesty.
Rutenberg and Bosman get this wrong. They continue the claim that McCain “wrongly asserted” that Obama’s bill supported comprehensive sex education for kindergartners, which it did by any fair reading of the bill. I suppose it’s too much to ask for the Times to revisit its previous reporting with some actual research, as Byron York did at the National Review, or even to just use York’s work as a shortcut for their own research rather than lazily rely on Obama’s claims about the ad. We should at least be grateful that they’re willing to report when Obama lies in his own advertising.
Maybe at some point, they’ll stop waiting for the opposing sides to complain and actually do their own work. They can start by putting as many resources into Chicago to investigate Obama as they have in Wasilla to investigate Sarah Palin.