CNN's Dana Bash uncritically reported the assertion by Sen. John McCain's campaign that he simply "misspoke" when he falsely claimed Iranian operatives are training members of Al Qaeda. In fact, McCain has made that error more than once. Also, Wolf Blitzer adopted the McCain campaign talking point that McCain -- in Blitzer's words -- "usually takes pride in" his "straight talk," despite McCain's repeated falsehoods and his stark inconsistencies on numerous issues.
Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace criticized the hosts of Fox & Friends for engaging in "two hours of Obama bashing" and for "distorting" comments Sen. Barack Obama made about his grandmother in a radio interview on March 20.
On Hardball, USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page asserted of John McCain's admittedly false claim that "[i]t's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and is receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran": "I think it's a verbal error. And, you know, most Americans can't tell you the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, either."
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.
Echoing the assertion that Sen. John McCain simply "misspoke" when he falsely claimed during a March 18 press conference that Iran is training Al Qaeda, Fox News' Shepard Smith said, "I mean, as much as these people talk, and ad-lib and live speeches and all the rest, slip-ups like that can happen." In fact, McCain had previously made the same misstatement to radio host Hugh Hewitt and did so more than once during the press conference.
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN correspondent Louise Schiavone falsely asserted that in votes cast last week, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "said no to additional funding for border security, immigration enforcement, and deportation of criminal aliens." Additionally, Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that Obama and Clinton are "not for border security."
In noting Sen. John McCain's false statement that "[i]t's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and is receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran," PolitiFact.com asserted: "We're not trying to pile on to Sen. John McCain over his misstatement on the link between Iran and al-Qaida. Maybe he was confused just for a moment. He did correct himself quickly." PolitiFact did not mention that McCain made the same error twice, and that he had made it the previous day.
On Today, Tim Russert discussed the schedules from Sen. Hillary Clinton's time as first lady and asserted: "Senator Clinton has made her experience such a part of this campaign, particularly her eight years as first lady. So this may be very rich in terms of exactly how did she spend her time, who did she meet with?" Russert added that "this, I think, today will be analyzed very closely by all of us at NBC News and media organizations across the country." Indeed, while NBC and MSNBC journalists discussed more substantive issues related to her schedules, they also repeatedly discussed what the schedules say, or do not say, about where Hillary Clinton was during Monica Lewinsky's encounters with President Clinton, in many cases teasing segments or leading them with that information.
After Chuck Todd acknowledged a media double standard in coverage of Sen. John McCain's Al Qaeda-Iran gaffe, CNBC's John Harwood asserted on Morning Joe: "I think that at the end of the day, John McCain has got sufficient credibility on that issue that people are not going to look at that and say, 'Oh, John McCain is confused' or 'John McCain's too old' or 'John McCain doesn't get it.' ... But he obviously can't do that too many times or he's got a problem." Harwood was not alone in misrepresenting or excusing McCain's false claim on MSNBC; several MSNBC reporters and anchors have ignored or excused McCain's false claim.
The New York Times quoted a woman who "said she would vote for Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, 'because he spent all those years in a P.O.W. camp and he doesn't talk about it,' an indicator of a reserve that she sees as a sign of the character and good manners she admires in her neighbors." In fact, in his campaign ads, McCain has repeatedly touted his experience as a prisoner of war.
On Glenn Beck, Ken Blackwell stated of Sen. Barack Obama: "Here is a guy who basically said that, while he was in Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright's church, he embraces [Nation of Islam founder] Louis Farrakhan." In fact, Obama has called himself "a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan," which neither Beck nor Blackwell noted.
MSNBC's David Gregory did not challenge Republican strategist Mike Murphy's false claim that "Barack Obama's talked about paratroopers in Islamabad, for heaven's sake." In fact, Obama has stated that "[i]f we have actionable intelligence about high-level Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan's border region, we must act if Pakistan will not or cannot." A Media Matters review found no examples of Obama calling for dropping "paratroopers in Islamabad" or anywhere else in Pakistan.
Noting the National Archives' release of Sen. Hillary Clinton's daily schedule during her time as first lady, ABC's Brian Ross stated, "Senator Clinton, unlike Senators [Barack] Obama and [John] McCain, has still not released any of her tax returns." In fact, McCain reportedly has not released any of his tax returns.
In a report on the controversy surrounding Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, NBC's Lee Cowan uncritically aired clips from a YouTube video that Cowan said "hits not just on Obama's pastor and his faith ... but on the senator's patriotism, too." Cowan did not mention who was behind the video or comment on any of the video's content. However, the Politico reported that the video was created in part by Lee Habeeb, "a former producer of the Laura Ingraham Show" and currently "director of strategic content at Salem Radio Network, the conservative talk radio powerhouse." Cowan's uncritical airing of the video echoes similar reporting on Fox News, which has aired several YouTube videos smearing Democrats.
Several media figures have falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama contradicted previous statements when he said during a March 18 speech on race: "Did I ever hear him [Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor] make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes." In fact, Obama previously asserted he had not been present for particular statements Wright made that were repeated by various media outlets and that spurred the recent controversy. He did not claim to have never heard Wright make "remarks that could be considered controversial."