On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist, and NBC News' Savannah Guthrie did not challenge senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt's false assertion that "[w]ith regard to the economy," Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are "talking about raising taxes across the board." In fact, Obama and Clinton have proposed tax cuts -- not tax increases -- for the poor and the middle class.
The Associated Press quoted Sen. John McCain claiming that Sen. Barack Obama will "raise taxes" on homeowners. In fact, Obama has proposed "at least $80 billion a year in tax cuts to middle-class workers, homeowners and retirees," and specifically called for "extending a mortgage credit to taxpayers who do not itemize, generating about $500 in savings for 10 million people."
After playing a video clip of Sen. John McCain's March 25 speech on the housing crisis, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer asked, "Is this a real turning point for him, being this specific and detailed on what the economy needs?" Brewer provided no examples from the speech to support her claim that McCain was being "specific and detailed on what the economy needs." In fact, in the speech, McCain's "specific" proposals consisted of changes to the tax code that he has previously endorsed, raising the down payment requirement for Federal Housing Authority loans and convening two meetings.
Introducing a report on "surprising good news on sales of existing homes," ABC* News' Charles Gibson stated that "[a]fter falling for six straight months, sales rose almost 3 percent in February." But neither Gibson, nor correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi in the subsequent report, noted that home sales were still down nearly 24 percent from February 2007.
On MSNBC Live, Mika Brzezinski stated that Sen. Barack Obama "claimed" that Sen. John McCain "had initially opposed the tax cuts and was flip-flopping, just to get elected," and aired a clip of McCain saying, "Senator Obama has stated very clearly his desire to increase Americans' taxes." But Brzezinski did not acknowledge that Obama's "claim" that McCain reversed his position on the Bush tax cuts is in fact true, or that, contrary to McCain's assertion, Obama has proposed tax cuts for the poor and the middle class.
On Fox News, Sean Hannity said to Sen. John McCain, "You've said three times in the last week or week and a half that you promised no new taxes. You mean none." In response, McCain said, "None." However, in a Wall Street Journal interview, McCain did not rule out raising taxes. Later in the Fox News interview, Hannity suggested that Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care proposal would "nationalize health care," and McCain replied, "We tried this. We've seen this movie before back in 1993, OK? And it is a government takeover." In fact, Clinton's proposal would not "nationalize health care" or seek a "government takeover" of it.
On Hannity & Colmes, Jack Kemp falsely claimed that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have "call[ed] for a halt to trade with Canada and Mexico." In fact, both have spoken of "opt[ing] out" of NAFTA if the agreement is not renegotiated.
Reports by ABC, USA Today, and CNN purported to contrast the positions of President Bush and John McCain on tax cuts by noting only McCain's initial opposition to Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. None of the outlets noted, however, that McCain has changed his position and now supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent, or that McCain has repeatedly claimed that he initially opposed the tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts, reasoning he did not mention in his 2001 floor statement explaining his vote.
On Fox & Friends, Karl Rove claimed that there is "a difference between" Sen. Barack Obama's current position on NAFTA and "what Senator Obama said in 2004, when he ran for the Senate and said we need more trade agreements like NAFTA." Rove cited no specific 2004 comments by Obama or news stories about Obama. In fact, Obama's statement during an interview on the same program echoed his position on trade as reported in a September 27, 2004, Chicago Tribune article, and several other media outlets reported similar statements from Obama in 2004.
An Associated Press article on President Bush's plan to endorse Sen. John McCain reported: "Bush will be giving his stamp of approval to a GOP maverick who's crossed swords with him on things like campaign finance, tax cuts and waterboarding. But the White House insists that Bush's endorsement will be heartfelt." In fact, while McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, he now supports making the tax cuts permanent.
On The Tim Russert Show, Russert falsely claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton said in 2004: "[O]n substance, NAFTA's been good for New York and America." In fact, what Clinton said in 2004 was: "I think on balance NAFTA has been good for New York and America, but I also think that there are a number of areas where we're not dealt with in an upfront way." On Meet the Press, Russert claimed that a video clip showed Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama "coming out against NAFTA"; as the clips made clear, neither candidate "c[ame] out against NAFTA."
In an article about President Bush's February 28 press conference, The New York Times uncritically quoted Bush saying the following in response to a question about the source of funding for his presidential library: "I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices and, you know, my trip to Africa, and haven't seen the fund-raising strategy yet." The Times did not mention that earlier in the press conference, Bush said he "hadn't heard" that gas prices might rise to $4 gallon.
CNN's Tom Foreman uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's claim that he voted against President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts because "he wanted reductions in spending, too." But in a 2001 floor statement explaining his opposition, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
An Associated Press article described Sen. John McCain as a "deficit hawk" but provided no support for that characterization. While the article mentioned that McCain has called for making permanent President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, it did not note the absence of budget offsets to pay for them. Further, McCain repeatedly voted in favor of emergency supplemental spending bills for the Iraq war that exacerbated the deficit.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane claimed that Sen. John McCain is "using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack" against Sen. Hillary Clinton. But in the same article, Kane contradicted his claim that McCain has a policy of "blanket opposition to earmarked spending," reporting: "McCain, who has helped lead efforts to strip some earmarks from Senate bills, has not focused on the money headed to his home state. Other Arizona lawmakers secured more than $214 million in pet projects in fiscal 2008 spending bills."