The Obama campaign is accusing the McCain campaign of trying to lie its way into the White House. The McCain campaign says being accused of lying is a lie. Which side is telling the truth? Media commentator Paul Janensch gives us his view.
Both campaigns have issued their share of statements that are half true, barely true or just plain false. But in recent weeks, the McCain camp is doing more lying than the Obama camp. That’s the conclusion of fact-checkers at major news operations and at non-partisan watchdog websites factcheck.org, of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and politifact.org, of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly.
Here are examples of McCain campaign statements deemed false by the fact-checkers. Did Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin really stop the “bridge to nowhere?” No. She was FOR the bridge as a candidate for governor of Alaska. Only after it became a laughing stock and Congress pulled the funding for it, did she say, “Thanks but no thanks.”
Was Barack Obama referring to Palin when he described John McCain’s positions as “lipstick on a pig?” That’s a stretch. It’s a familiar phrase. McCain, himself, used it to describe Hillary Clinton’s health-care plan.
As an Illinois state senator, did Obama support legislation to teach sex education to kindergarteners before they can read? No. Under the bill, youngsters would have been warned how to look out for predators. Politifact.org called that statement by McCain not just false but “pants on fire” false.
I should point out that the Obama campaign has not always told the whole truth, either. The Democrat claimed in a Michigan TV ad that McCain “refused to support loan guarantees for the auto industry.” The ad failed to say that McCain now supports loan guarantees.
McCain was even criticized by Fox news contributor Karl Rove, once George W. Bush’s top political strategist. Rove told Chris Wallace that Obama’s “lipstick” remark was a slap at Sarah Palin. But then Rove went on to say McCain has “gone one step too far” in some of his ads.
My favorite whopper by the McCain campaign was an ad that quotes factcheck.org as saying Obama’s attacks on Palin were “completely false and misleading.” Factcheck.org said it never said any such thing. You’d think the McCain campaign would know better than to misquote a fact checker.
Oops, I almost forgot. I’m Paul Janensch, and I approve this message.
Media commentator Paul Janensch is a former newspaper editor who teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.