The Washington Post asserted in a March 27 editorial that Sen. John McCain is a "champion" of "campaign finance reform," despite having stated less than three weeks before that McCain's decision to "deriv[e] some benefit from the matching funds system and then abandon it when that was to his advantage" was "not Mr. McCain's proudest moment as a reformer."
CNN's John King said of campaign donations from the securities and investment industry, "It appears Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are getting the lion's share, but some wonder if that might make them too cozy with the financial services sector should either of them become president." Brian Todd asserted: "Senator Clinton got nearly $6.3 million from donors in the securities and investment industry. ... Senator Obama got just over $6 million. Both dwarf Senator John McCain's take of over $2.5 million." However, Todd ignored the fact that McCain's "take" from the securities and investment industry represents a larger portion of the total contributions he received than Clinton's or Obama's over the same time period.
The Associated Press reported that Sen. John McCain "has decided not to accept the public matching funds," but that the Federal Election Commission "wants him to assure regulators that he did not use the promise of public money as collateral for [a] loan." The article did not mention that FEC Chairman David Mason has asserted that McCain cannot legally withdraw from the public finance system without FEC approval. Additionally, a Wall Street Journal article did not note that McCain may not be able to opt out of the public financing system.
The Associated Press reported that "[Sen. John] McCain and [Sen. Barack] Obama have bickered over their prior commitment over a general election spending cap should they emerge as their respective party's nominee," without noting that McCain obtained a loan for his campaign in November 2007 that could have required him to stay in the race, regardless of the viability of his campaign, in order to apply for matching funds to pay back the loan.
The New York Times stated in an editorial that Sen. Barack Obama "has backed away from his proposal to run the general election on public funds." In fact, Obama recently confirmed he would "aggressively pursue" an agreement with the Republican nominee on "a publicly funded general election in 2008 with real spending limits."
A post on the MSNBC.com blog First Read stated: "We've noticed today the [Sen. John] McCain/FEC stories -- that McCain very well might have to abide by spending limits before the GOP convention -- are starting to roll in. But why is this only now starting to get more traction, compared with all the stories about [Sen. Barack] Obama waffling on his pledge to accept public funds in the general?" Their question could be asked of Nightly News, which aired a report by Kelly O'Donnell that discussed McCain's criticism of Obama over public financing, but has yet to mention that McCain obtained a loan that involved public financing.
Reporting on Sen. John McCain's "most direct assault yet" against Sen. Barack Obama over "whether Obama would agree to limit campaign spending by accepting public funding for the general election" should he become the Democratic presidential nominee, CNN's Dana Bash noted a "survey from a watchdog group" in which McCain and Obama "both said yes, they'd accept public financing." Bash, however, failed to mention a November 2007 loan agreement and its amendment that could have required McCain to remain an active candidate and apply for federal matching funds in order to repay the loan.
A New York Times article reported that Sen. Barack Obama's fundraising success "has also now put him on the spot, tempting him to back away from indications he gave last year that he would agree to accept public financing in the general election if the Republican nominee did the same. The hesitation has given Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee whose advisers concede he would most likely fall far short of Mr. Obama's fund-raising for the general election, fodder for a series of attacks." However, the article never mentioned the Times' own reporting that the McCain campaign recently waffled on the issue of whether McCain would agree to accept public financing in the general election if his opponent did.
The Associated Press reported that advisers to Sen. John McCain "have said in recent days that he would abide by his proposal" to use public campaign financing if Sen. Barack Obama also agrees to do so. But the AP did not mention that according to The New York Times, days before affirming that "he would abide by his proposal," McCain advisers had said that he would not abide by his proposal and would opt not to use public funds.
The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller claimed that "Senator John McCain began tapping into President Bush's prized political donor base on Tuesday." In fact, four of the five "major McCain fundraisers" Bumiller mentioned in her article were either Bush Rangers or Pioneers -- people who raised $100,000 and $200,000, respectively -- during the 2004 election and signed up to raise money for McCain in 2007 or 2006.
Referring to a video clip of John Edwards discussing campaign finances at an appearance in Emmetsburg, Iowa, Republican pollster Frank Luntz stated: "But the problem with Edwards is, whenever he brings up money, people remember how wealthy he is, and they have a hard time listening to him complain about other candidates spending money when he himself is worth dozens and dozens of millions of dollars." But Edwards did not "bring up money" during his appearance in Emmetsburg; rather, he was responding to a question about campaign finances from an attendee at the event.
Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asserted that Obama's "fundraising receives far less press attention than Clinton's," citing as evidence a November 30 Post article claiming that "Obama's Hopefund Inc. distributed more than $180,000 in donations to political groups and candidates in the early presidential voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina." But Kurtz did not note that the retired Federal Election Commission chief counsel quoted in the article said he was quoted "out of context" and that the "facts as played out in the Washington Post piece are not exactly what I was told. ... I was assuming there was more."
As he had during a previous interview with Rudy Giuliani on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity failed to disclose that he has reportedly helped raise money for Giuliani's presidential campaign.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and guest Craig Crawford discussed a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton who Scarborough said was "on the lam again" and referred to John Edwards' "hedge fund problems " and Barack Obama's "fund-raiser problem." However, neither Scarborough nor Crawford noted that leading Republican presidential candidates are facing questions regarding figures involved in their campaign finances.