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Monday, July 28, 2008
Newsmax 'Editorial' Misleads on Obama
Topic: Newsmax

An unbylined July 27 Newsmax article, billed as a "Newsmax editorial," misleads in its attempt to bash Barack obama over his visit to the Middle East and Europe.

The "editorial" tried to play fast and loose with poll numbers, complaining that "Press reports this weekend have almost completely ignored the Rasmussen poll" that showed Obama with a 5-point lead over John McCain -- thus showing that Obama didn't a bounce from his trip -- "to only report on a Gallup poll, which showed Obama with a nine-point lead. Not as good as the Newsweek poll from June, which had Obama 15 points ahead of McCain." In fact, the Gallup poll showed a trend of increasing support during the trip, suggesting that there was a bounce.

The editorial then tried to downplay the reaction to Obama during his speech in Berllin, asserting that "the crowd’s size was beefed up by the fact that the event was billed as a free rock concert for German citizens, with popular musical performers helping to draw the big crowd. Scant U.S. media even noted the warm-up rock draws of reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn." As we noted when NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard made this claim, it's highly doubtful that anyone at Newsmax has any knowledge whatsoever of the German music scene, much less enough to determine that those bands, and not Obama, were the reason thousands came out to see the event.

The editorial also attacked Obama's speech, "in which he proudly proclaimed he was in Germany as a [sic] 'a fellow citizen of the world.'" Newsmax doesn't note that Obama also said that he was "a proud citizen of the United States." Nor does it note that, while addressing the United Nations in June 1982, Ronald Reagan said, "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world."

The editorial also claims:

Perhaps the most notable -- and reprehensible -- was Obama’s decision to cancel a visit to wounded American soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany.

Apparently, the Pentagon informed Obama that since his visit was a political one, the hospital visit would be only open to him and his official Senate staff. This excluded the press and campaign officials.

The Pentagon did offer to allow Obama’s campaign plane to land at the nearby U.S. air base at Ramstein. The media also was to be accommodated there.

Without the photo opportunity and his press entourage, Obama declined to meet the wounded soldiers. At first, Obama’s campaign claimed to the press he decided to cancel the trip to visit the troops because it was "a trip funded by the campaign," and therefore somehow inappropriate. [What is inappropriate about a presidential candidate visiting wounded troops?]

But the Obama story belies the fact it was only after the Pentagon closed the event to his traveling press, that Obama’s campaign nixed the event.

Rightfully, McCain noted that it is never inappropriate for a candidate or official to visit U.S. troops.

In fact, as NBC's Andrea Mitchell pointed out, Obama never planned to take the press with him to Landstuhl: "The Obama campaign thought that they could go, leave the press corps on the tarmac, and then take off with military escort and make this one last visit, as he did, by the way, in Iraq. He visited a casualty unit in the Green Zone without photographers as part of the congressional delegation. But the military said that the rules are that he could only go as part of a previously arranged congressional delegation to Rammstein." Newsmax never mentions this Green Zone visit.

Then again, if Obama had gone to Landstuhl, Newsmax would likely be attacking Obama for using the event to politicize the troops.

If we were the authors of this misleading "editorial," we would've left our byline off it too.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EDT

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