On CNN's American Morning, reporting on Sen. Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing for the general election, Candy Crowley asserted that "you can expect that [Sen. John McCain] will hit Obama on two scores: One, you went back on what you said you would do; and two, this is not how to reform Washington." But Crowley did not report that McCain may actually be breaking campaign finance law.
On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough insisted in eight different segments of the program that Sen. Barack Obama's campaign had a strategy to highlight Sen. John McCain's age, failing to note the denials of Obama campaign surrogates Susan Rice and Sen. John Kerry that their description of McCain as "confuse[d]" referred not to McCain's age but, rather, to numerous misstatements that McCain has made. Scarborough also asserted that Obama's claim that McCain had "los[t] his bearings" was evidence of a strategy to "mak[e] him out to be a doddering old fool" while failing to provide the context of Obama's comment -- a response to a smear by McCain in which he accused McCain of violating his pledge to avoid negative campaigning.
The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "has vowed ... to end the cap on Social Security taxes, which amounts to a tax hike on anyone who makes more than $100,000 in income," and he later asserted that "New York Rep. Joseph Crowley says a couple with earnings of $100,000 could be 'a police officer and nurse.' 'In New York City,' he adds, 'they'd be struggling.' " Moore's inclusion of a reference to "a couple ... [who] could be 'a police officer and nurse' " falsely suggests that Social Security taxes are assessed on households. In fact, Social Security payroll taxes are assessed on individual income.
Fox News' Carl Cameron falsely suggested that Sen. John McCain acknowledged weakness on economic issues only once, "[i]n one of those marathon interactions with reporters on the bus," while NBC's Andrea Mitchell baselessly asserted that McCain was "obviously joking" when he admitted his lack of knowledge about the economy. In fact, McCain has made such an acknowledgement on numerous occasions over the course of the campaign, and when confronted with one such remark at a Republican presidential debate, McCain did not respond by asserting that he had been "joking" -- he suggested he hadn't said it.
The Washington Post falsely suggested in an editorial that, in contrast with Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain has said definitively that he will accept public financing for the general election. In fact, in recent interviews with ABC News and USA Today, McCain did not give a definitive answer. According to USA Today, McCain "said he has not decided whether to accept about $85 million in public financing for the fall campaign."
CNN's Carol Costello and Ed Henry, and Fox News' Brit Hume falsely suggested that only the Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence approved the committee's June 5 "Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq by U.S. Government Officials Were Substantiated by Intelligence Information." In addition to the committee's Democrats, Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe endorsed the report and stated that it "accomplished its primary objective."
In an article discussing Sen. Barack Obama's and Sen. John McCain's positions on direct diplomacy with Iran, the AP reported that "Condoleezza Rice, a key player for eight years in the Bush administration's strategy to try to isolate Iran, told AIPAC on Tuesday that there is no point engaging Iran 'while they continue to inch closer to a nuclear weapon under the cover of talks.' " But, while noting that Madeleine Albright took a different position in a speech two years ago, the article did not note that President Bush's own secretary of defense, Robert Gates, has also reportedly said the United States should "sit down and talk" with Iran.
Discussing in February a New York Times article about Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyists, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle, and Pat Buchanan criticized the Times for its use of anonymous sources. However, Scarborough, Barnicle, and Buchanan offered no such criticism in their discussions of a Vanity Fair article that also relied on anonymous sourcing in purporting to report on "post-presidential sexual indiscretions" by former President Bill Clinton.
On Mike Gallagher's radio show, Mike Allen said of Scott McClellan's new book: "Scott does adopt the vocabulary, rhetoric of the left-wing haters. Can you believe it in here he says that the White House press corps was too deferential to the administration ... in the run-up to the war?" By contrast, two of Allen's former colleagues echoed the media criticism of Allen's so-called "left-wing haters." Michael Dobbs asserted that "on the question of whether the American press did its job properly during the run-up to the Iraq war, it is difficult to argue with his conclusions. We failed you." Similarly, Howard Kurtz stated that print coverage during the run-up to the war was "flawed," adding: "It was only when violence surged in Iraq and public opinion began turning against the war that ABC, CBS, NBC, and the rest of the media turned more skeptical."