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CNN Champions Pelosi Smear, Covers False Washington Times Story Six Days Straight

By ThinkProgress on February 7, 2007 at 2:44 pm

"CNN Champions Pelosi Smear, Covers False Washington Times Story Six Days Straight"

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Last month, when a right-wing publication smeared Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), CNN helped debunk the report and called out media outlets that ran with the false story. Anderson Cooper told viewers: “That’s the difference between talking about news and reporting it. You send a reporter, check the facts, and you decide at home.

Now, the Washington Times (owned by the same entity that published the Obama smear) has launched a series of attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), claiming that Pelosi is “demanding permanent access to a large military jet for herself, her staff, other Members and supporters.”

As with the Obama smear, the Times story is based entirely on quotes from unnamed sources. Yet, instead of investigating the report, CNN’s Lou Dobbs has covered the story every day for six straight days — Feb 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 — amplifying the attacks and repeating the inaccuracies.

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Here are Dobbs’ claims along with the facts:

1) Dobbs: Pelosi “wants the U.S. Air Force for personal accommodation.”

FACT: Pelosi’s use of a military aircraft is about security, not “personal accomodation.” It was House Sergeant at Arms Wilson Livingood who initiated inquiries into the aircraft. “I advised Speaker Pelosi that the US Air Force had made an airplane available to Speaker Hastert” following 9/11, Livingood wrote, and “I offered to call the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense to seek clarification of the guidelines [which governed Speaker Hastert's use of a plane].”

2) Dobbs: Pelosi will use the plane “whenever she sees fit.”

FACT: Pelosi’s office has already said she “will not use the plane for political travel.”

3) Dobbs: Pelosi could fly to her district non-stop “in the plane that Hastert was using.”

FACT: Both the Washington Post and Roll Call have reported that the plane used by Speaker Hastert was too small for Pelosi since it “needs to refuel every 2,000 miles and could not make the nonstop haul to California. ‘The Air Force determined that [Pelosi's] safety would be best ensured by using a plane that has the fuel capacity to go coast-to-coast,’” a Pelosi spokesperson said.

4) Dobbs: Pelosi “wants a plane that accommodates 42 people, private stateroom. … She could take a circus with her.”

FACT: Pelosi’s office says “it is up to the Air Force to decide what type and size of plane will be required,” and that “she has never asked for a plane or space on a plane to accommodate ‘supporters.’”

Email Lou Dobbs and tell him to correct the record.

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