Saturday, September 6, 2008

Begala allowed to lie on CNN

Another example of fake story telling on CNN. About 4:45 into this video, ex-Clinton aide Paul Begala passionately blasts Sarah Palin for cutting special needs funding as Governor. The only problem is that it's not true.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Let me give you an example. On CNN earlier this week Soledad O'Brien picks up something apparently from e-mails, although perhaps from bloggers because it's circulating in both places, and takes as fact that Governor Palin has cut special needs funding. Now, if she has, that evocative moment in the speech in which she promised to be the advocate for special needs children is an act of hypocrisy. So very important moment. However, it's raised on the assumption that it's true. It's asserted as true by Soledad O'Brien. When Soledad O'Brien raises it, the McCain spokesperson responds by defending what the governor will do in the future, the reasonable viewer watches and says, "Well, the McCain spokesperson isn't defending and saying she didn't do it. Perhaps she did."

Now you have a moment in which journalism has deceived its audience because in the rush to make this point about possible hypocrisy, a major commentator on a major network has asserted as fact something which doesn't hold up. It took the researcher that I called on my staff about four hours to get back to the primary research documents.

BILL MOYERS:And it said?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON:That Sarah Palin had increased funding for special needs children. There was a change in the category in the budget in which it was housed. And as a result, there was some confusion. And some people had generalized from the budget proposed by the predecessor that she defeated. And so the problem I have with some of the press coverage is that in the rush to vet, they made the mistake they were accusing the McCain campaign of. But I don't think that has anything to do with gender. I think that has something to do with the nature of 24-hour-a-day journalism.

It's amazing how the cable networks just allowed the flow of Palin rumors to flow right from the left-wing blogosphere onto the air without any attempt at checking facts.

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