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Lipstick-gate: Balance vs. truth

Lipstick-gate is currently the top item on Google News. But if you look for the full quote that triggered it, you won't get it from Fox's latest write-up, or the Times's,  or the Wall Street Journal's, or numerous others.

This is a shame, because the quote in question makes it abundantly clear that Barack Obama did not, in fact, liken Sarah Palin to a pig. Here's how the Times reported the quote in question earlier today:

“John McCain says he’s about change, too — except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics,” Mr. Obama told his supporters here [in Lebanon, Virginia]. “That’s just calling the same thing something different.”

With a laugh, he added: “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change; it’s still going to stink after eight years.”

In the latest sign of the campaign’s heightened intensity, Mr. McCain’s surrogates responded within minutes and called on Mr. Obama to apologize to Gov. Sarah Palin for the lipstick remark. But to those in the audience, it was clear that Mr. Obama was employing an age-old phrase — lipstick on a pig — and referring to Mr. McCain’s policies. He had not yet mentioned Ms. Palin at that point of his speech [emph. added].

Given the absurd traction this story is getting, it's absolutely imperative that every news outlet covering it give readers/viewers/listeners the fullest possible account of what Obama actually said.

The alternative, apparently, is reporting the Obama camp's spin and then reporting the McCain camp's spin. This method is "balanced." Problem is, in this particular case, Obama is right and McCain is wrong.

For God's sake, the reporters covering this story don't even need to use those words. They just need to relate what actually happened yesterday.

P.S.--For those who'd like to watch Obama's comments, here they are. Also, here's McCain using the same phrase in reference to Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan. 

Also, in reference to commenter Oldspice: a case could be made that, in this particular case, the word "lipstick" referred to Palin--in Obama's mind, in the audience's, or both. But "pig"? How, given what Obama is talking about here, can that be considered Palin-centric at all? Especially given that politicians were using the expression long before Palin talked lipstick at last week's RNC?

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