Topic: Media Research Center
In an Aug. 27 NewsBusters post and Aug. 28 MRC CyberAlert item, Brent Baker noted that a CBS reporter described as a "stretch" a John McCain ad taking Barack Obama's claims that Iran is a "tiny" country and doesn't pose a "serious threat" out of context. Baker writes:
CBS then played a clip of Obama on May 18, part of the statement the McCain campaign cited to support its ad: "Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. I mean, think about it, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us."
Sounds like he said what the ad quotes him as having said.
Um, no, Brent. What say you, PolitiFact.org?
While Obama did call Iran "tiny" and questioned whether it posed "a serious threat," we find that this new McCain ad mangles their context to the point of misrepresenting Obama's statement.
Obama was speaking about whether to negotiate with Iran, which the Bush administration resisted. Obama noted that previous presidents had met with adversaries from the Soviet Union and China that were willing to destroy the United States, but that President Bush refused to meet directly with leaders of smaller global players such as Iran, Cuba and Venezuela.
Rather than dismiss those countries as insignificant, Obama was urging direct talks to engage them.
We find the McCain ad, like the McCain speech before it, is grossly distorting Obama's remarks by suggesting that Obama was dismissing Iran as too small to be taken seriously as a threat. We find the claim in the McCain ad, like the McCain speech before it, to be False.
Is Baker so in the tank for McCain that he refuses to acknowledge a clear and unambiguous factual distortion and instead pretends it's the truth? It appears so.