Media Blog

Joe Biden Today

<a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/09/biden_slams_mccain_palin_in_mi.html” target=”_blank”>Here’s the prepared text of Joe Biden’s speech today in Saint Clair Shores, Mich.

This jumped out at me:

It bothers me that — as one media watchdog put it — John’s recent commercial is the, “latest in a number that resort to a dubious disregard for the facts.” As another news organization put it: The wheels have come off the straight talk express.

The “media watchdog” in question is the New York Times:

SCORECARD The advertisement is the latest in a number that resort to a dubious disregard for the facts. The nonpartisan political analysis group Factcheck.org has already criticized “Disrespectful” as “particularly egregious,” saying that it “goes down new paths of deception,” and is “peddling false quotes.” Even the title is troublesome. “Disrespectful” is one of those words that is loaded with racial and class connotations that many people consider offensive.

Factcheck.org never mentioned racial or class connotations in its analysis. Factcheck criticized McCain for reading too much into Biden’s comments:

Our ears don’t hear Biden’s “good looking” comment as dismissive. To the contrary, it’s clearly a self-deprecating remark made in joking about himself and his looks. And by the way, the ad shows a picture of Obama next to the “good looking” quote, but it was Biden, not Obama, who said that.

But if we apply Times standard that if “many people consider” something offensive, it’s offensive, then the claims against Team Obama in the “Disrespectful” ad are, in fact, true. This also makes Obama’s “lipstick” reference offensive.
And two, this statement, “As another news organization put it: The wheels have come off the Straight Talk Express,” looks to be from MSNBC. But MSNBC is asking a question, not making a statement of fact.
But if Joe Biden really wants to use FactCheck.org as the neutral referee, he has some trouble. Consider this from Biden’s speech:

Like the McCain advertisements that misrepresent a vote by Barack Obama to protect young children from sexual predators. Like Senator McCain’s effort to obscure the fact that Barack Obama’s tax cuts will benefit 95 percent of all working people. Like John McCain’s attempt to cloak himself in reform by misrepresenting his running mate’s record.

And here’s FactCheck.org on Obama’s “lie” about giving tax cuts to 95 percent of Americans:

He said McCain would fail to lower taxes for 100 million Americans while his own plan would cut taxes for 95 percent of “working” families. But an independent analysis puts the number who would see no benefit from McCain’s plan at 66 million and finds that Obama’s plan would benefit 81 percent of all households when retirees and those without children are figured in.

As for the kindergarten claim, don’t take McCain’s word for it. Listen to Obama delegate and Illinois state senator James Meeks on the state of Chicago public schools:

“I want the whole nation to look at Illinois,” said a defiant Meeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church and a state senator. “I want the whole nation to ask, ‘Why is Illinois racist?’ I want them to ask, ‘Why is Illinois treating low-income students like that?’ “
Illinois ranks second to last in the country for state funding of public education, according to a recent survey by the National Center for Education Statistics.
Speaking on a local level, Meeks derided Chicago’s public schools — many of which serve African-American communities — for valuing sex education programs over academic ones. “And the same school is not teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. How did we get here?”