'American Morning' Fact Checks Palin But Not Obama or Biden

September 5th, 2008 1:44 PM

Friday's "American Morning" featured a segment dedicated to fact checking Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech to the Republican National Convention. In introducing the reporter who did the fact checking, co-host Kiran Chetry claimed, "CNN's Deborah Feyerick is here to fact check Palin's speech and I'm sure whenever politics is involved we have to fact check these."

Apparently, though, "American Morning" only feels the need to fact check speeches given by Republican candidates because the morning show did not provide the same fact checking analysis of the Democratic National Convention speeches given by Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden or Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. They did, however, fact check former president Bill Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention and argued that some of his more conservative policies helped to usher in the "mortgage crisis."

Nevertheless, Feyerick's fact check needs a little fact checking of its own. One of the statements in Palin's speech that CNN found "false" was her claim that she "stood up to the special interests and the lobbyists." To negate this claim, Feyerick said, "Palin was the Wasilla mayor to hire a Washington lobbyist, securing $11 million in special funding for the town." However, Palin prefaced this particular statement by saying "This was the spirit that brought me to the governor's office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau," signifying that her claim of standing up to special interests, lobbyists and big oil companies took place when she became governor.

About Palin's claim about the $40 billion natural gas pipeline, Feyerick said "yes and no." After noting that the pipeline projected was approved, the reporter used the fact that the company hasn't started to build the pipeline yet to show that Palin's claim wasn't completely true.

Feyerick also brought up that as governor, Palin asked Congress for $453 million for earmarks, but the network hardly mentions Obama's requests for earmarks, including one for his wife's hospital.

Finally, Feyerick ended her report on a snarky note:

Near the end of her speech, Governor Palin reviewed Barack Obama's positions on energy, taxes, terrorism and government spending. Her review of his record also requires some fact checking.

A transcript of the segment follows:

CINDY MCCAIN: John has picked a reform- minded, hockey-momming, basketball-shooting, moose-hunting, salmon- fishing, pistol-packing mother of five for vice president.

KIRAN CHETRY: Well, that was Cindy McCain talking about Sarah Palin last night. And Palin herself roused the Republicans with her fiery speech. But was everything she said completely true? CNN's Deborah Feyerick is here to fact check Palin's speech and I'm sure whenever politics is involved we have to fact check these.

DEBORAH FEYERICK: It's a little bit relevant.

CHETRY: Right. Exactly.

FEYERICK: Exactly. Well, you know, Kiran, Governor Palin delivered her speech with conviction, a sense of what you see is what you get. But after checking budget records and speaking to government officials and Alaska lawmakers, some of the claims are a bit of a stretch.

GOV. SARAH PALIN: You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.

FEYERICK: Putting Democrats on notice, Sarah Palin fired up Republicans listing what she's done and why she's qualified to be vice president. But is it all true?

PALIN: I stood up to the special interests and the lobbyists.

FEYERICK: Well, not entirely. Palin was the first Wasilla mayor to hire a Washington lobbyist, securing $11 million in special funding for the town.

PALIN: And championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.

FEYERICK: Not true. In her two years as governor, Palin has asked Congress for $453 million for so-called earmarks, including $1 million for rock fish research. That famous $398 million bridge to nowhere?

PALIN: I told the Congress, thanks but no thanks.

FEYERICK: In fact, Alaska got that money but it was used for other projects. Steven Ellis is with an advocacy group that tracks public spending.

STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE ACTION: Certainly she has got Wasilla into the earmarks game. She, you know, worked the system and was able to bring home earmarks and then certainly has been part of the earmark system in Alaska. And so, it's just something that is interesting to juxtapose with Senator McCain's position which has been stalwart no earmarks ever.

FEYERICK: On cleaning up state government.

PALIN: And today that ethics reform is the law.

FEYERICK: That's true. She signed it last year.