Accuracy in Media

Over the last few weeks, various media outlets have repeated
the mantra that the McCain campaign desires to talk about anything
the economy, avoids
the issue
, or doesn’t give “specifics.”
Today’s New York Times article provides the most transparent example of misleading, if not false, reporting to
date. It also gives Americans another reason to Boycott
the New York Times
, an initiative that Accuracy in Media is spearheading.

“As the financial crisis continued to engulf
the nation, Senator John McCain devoted most of two campaign appearances to
lusty attacks on Senator Barack Obama and gave less attention, and offered very
few specifics, to the economic woes of American voters.”

What “few specifics” did the presidential candidate give
about the economy? The article gives the reader a clue:

“In both appearances
Wednesday…McCain’s stump speech followed the same pattern: In broad, quick
strokes, he reiterated the economic proposal he raised at his debate
with Obama on Wednesday night—a “home ownership resurgence plan,” in which the
government would buy mortgages directly from homeowners and mortgage services
and replace them with what he called “manageable” mortgages.

After that, he raced through promises
of jobs, tax cuts, lower prices, better health care, a spending freeze and a
balanced federal budget by the end of his first term
. With that done,
McCain then launched into the core of his speech, a lengthy, full-throated and
crowd-pleasing criticism of Obama’s record, character and judgment.”

Apparently jobs, balanced budgets, tax cuts, and mortgage
relief don’t count as specific policies to help an ailing economy. 

“McCain has never been comfortable
talking about the economy, and in these final weeks of his nearly two-year,
second-time quest of the presidency, with polls showing him losing increasing
ground to Obama, McCain and his advisers have made the calculation that
negative attacks will move at least some voters.”

The author, Elisabeth Bumiller, later writes that “Much of
McCain’s addresses on the economy are delivered to voters through the prism of
his attacks on Obama” and points to how his speeches connect Obama to the
“narrative of bad mortgages that had been backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie

Would news reporters be willing to write that Obama delivers
his lectures “through the prism of his attacks on” Bush and McCain? Not likely.
Yet, Obama has repeatedly attributed the economic crisis to the deregulation
and mismanagement of the “last eight years.” Obama said during the Tuesday debate:

“And I believe this is a final
verdict on the failed economic policies of the last eight years, strongly
promoted by President Bush and supported by Senator McCain
, that
essentially said that we should strip away regulations, consumer protections,
let the market run wild, and prosperity would rain down on all of us. It hasn’t
worked out that way, and so now we’ve got to take some decisive action.”

And again:

“And so while it’s true that
nobody’s completely innocent here, we have had, over the last eight years, the
biggest increases in deficit spending and national debt in our history. And Senator
McCain voted for four out of five of those George Bush budgets

And again:

“That is a fundamental difference
that I have with Senator McCain. He believes in deregulation in every
circumstance. That’s what we’ve been going through for the last eight years.
It hasn’t worked. And we need fundamental change.”

But Bumiller doesn’t take time to discuss that.

She does, however, take time to highlight that Sarah Palin
and McCain speak to “conservative and almost all-white crowds that come to see
McCain and Palin.” She also points outs the County
Chairman’s use of “Barack Hussein

According to
diversity and racial ethics specialist (also a former reporter),
injecting  off-point racial demographics
into a story is a sign of poor journalism.

The story was reprinted for the International Herald Tribune
(the “global edition” of the Times) and promoted on the MSNBC “First
Read” page.

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