CBS & NBC React to Palin Bounce with Fact Checks to Discredit Her

With fresh media polls showing Sarah Palin causing a sizable percent of women to shift to support John McCain from Barack Obama, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night devoted full stories to fact check examinations to discredit her, specifically on the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” even though all the newscasts have already run stories on how she was for the bridge earmark during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Introducing a “Reality Check,” CBS anchor Katie Couric asserted:
There's also controversy over the way Governor Palin is trying to attract voters by portraying herself as a reformer opposed to government earmarks. And the example she continues to cite is her opposition to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But she doesn't quite tell the entire story...
Wyatt Andrews concluded: “By repeating the claim she said no thanks to the bridge, the implication is that Governor Palin confronted a Congress recklessly wasting money. The record shows, she wanted that bridge until the end and kept the money.” Over on NBC, anchor Brian Williams recalled how Palin's convention speech had “several memorable applause lines. It's how a lot of people came to know her.” But, he asked, “how do they all match up against the truth? Our senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers takes a closer look.”

CBS's Andrews, unlike Myers on NBC, did at least point out that earmark requests from the Alaska Governor's office are down 44 percent from the previous Governor. Both stories outlined how Palin supported the money for the bridge when running for Governor in 2006 and only came to oppose it when Congress removed the specific earmark, but as Governor she spent the federal money on other projects.

Not to be left out, on ABC's World News Ron Claiborne included in his story on McCain's day of campaigning how when she was Mayor of Wasilla the town had a lobbyist in DC trying to obtain earmarks, and on the bridge she was in favor of it as a gubernatorial candidate.

Unmentioned by any of the three networks, which all ran full stories Tuesday night about Obama, a distortion told by Obama as he targeted education during the day. FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume played a clip of Obama complaining about inadequate federal spending on education: “Our children and our country can't afford four more years of neglect and indifference.” With a graphic on screen showing Department of Education spending has soared under Bush from 42.2 billion in 2001 to 59.2 for 2009, reporter Major Garrett corrected Obama:
If that's indifference, it sure is expensive: $59 billion next year according to the Education Department. That's a 40 percent increase during the Bush years.
Couric introduced the “Reality Check” story on the Tuesday, September 9 CBS Evening News:
There's also controversy over the way Governor Palin is trying to attract voters by portraying herself as a reformer opposed to government earmarks. And the examples she continues to cite is her opposition to the infamous bridge to nowhere. But she doesn't quite tell the entire story, so tonight Wyatt Andrews fills you in on what the Governor leaves out in this Reality Check.
Brian Williams set up the NBC Nightly News piece:
Hard to believe, it was just six nights ago Sarah Palin introduced herself to the GOP convention and to the TV viewing nation with a speech that really made her a star while containing several memorable applause lines. It's how a lot of people came to know her, they remember those stories and Governor Palin repeated them on the stump. But how do they all match up against the truth? Our senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers takes a closer look.
In addition to the bridge, Myers also highlighted how while the state plane was put on E-Bay it was sold, at a loss, by an airplane broker.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center