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.
On ABC's This Week, George Will falsely asserted that "in the primaries," Sen. John McCain "has achieved more independent voters than [Sen. Barack] Obama." In fact, in calculations based on exit polls, in each of the nine states that have held open or semi-open primaries contested by both Obama and McCain, Obama received more votes from voters who identified themselves as "independent" than McCain.
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.
In endorsing Sen. John McCain's bid for the Republican presidential nomination, The Baltimore Sun asserted that McCain has "stood his ground" on "immigration reform." However, while McCain now says that border security must be addressed first, he previously said that border security could not be disaggregated from other provisions in the legislation on immigration reform. Similarly, the San Antonio Express-News claimed in its endorsement of McCain that his "advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform" is among the positions that may "be attractive" to "independent voters"; but McCain has said he "would not" vote for his own comprehensive immigration reform proposals.
On The Situation Room, Bill Bennett defended Sen. John McCain against criticism he has received from radio host Laura Ingraham and other conservatives. But Bennett and host Wolf Blitzer both failed to disclose that Bennett has given more than $2,000 to McCain's presidential campaign.
Repeating the myth that social conservatives are the only political constituency that votes its "values," the January 24 USA Today twice referred to voters most inclined to support Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as "values voters." A front-page graphic claimed "Huckabee: Has drawn evangelicals and 'values voters,' " while an accompanying article noted that "Huckabee's strength is among just those kind of 'values voters' " who are "uncomfortable" with Rudy Giuliani.
In a Washington Times column, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. wrote that Sen. Hillary Clinton's "experience ... includes lying under oath, and obstructing justice." But Clinton has never been charged with, let alone found guilty of, "lying under oath" or "obstructing justice."
A Washington Times article claimed that Rudy Giuliani "skipped the first six nomination contests"; in fact, Giuliani spent considerable time and money in Iowa and New Hampshire. Indeed, ABC News has reported that Giuliani held more events in New Hampshire than any other Republican except for Mitt Romney and spent more on TV ads there than anyone except for Romney and John McCain.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer asserted, as did a Washington Post blog entry, that Bill Clinton "lashed out" at CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin after she asked him a question following a campaign event in South Carolina that day. Recounting the exchange to Blitzer, Yellin agreed, "He lashed out, Wolf." Similarly, an ABCNews.com report described a "testy exchange" between Barack Obama and New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny. But videos of the two exchanges do not support these sensational descriptions.
CNN's John King, Wolf Blitzer, and Jack Cafferty all mischaracterized Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign strategy in the early states, repeating the media myth that he chose not to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, Giuliani himself has denied that his strategy was to skip the early states, telling NBC's Matt Lauer, "We've actually spent the most time in New Hampshire and then Florida is right behind that."
Hardball host Chris Matthews thanked fellow MSNBC personalities Joe Scarborough and David Shuster on-air for their support in the wake of the firestorm sparked by Matthews' January 9 comments attributing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's political successes to her husband's "mess[ing] around." Scarborough said that it was "outrageous that Chris Matthews ha[d] to apologize"; Shuster stated, "Nobody ... has contributed more in a positive way to our political discourse than Chris Matthews."