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.
Politico's Mike Allen wrote, "It looks like Senator [John] McCain will resist pandering when he speaks later today on the housing crisis." Allen cited prepared remarks in which McCain said: "Let's start with some straight talk. I will not play election year politics with the housing crisis," and claimed that he has "always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers." But Allen has yet to note that McCain said he does not think the Federal Reserve acted improperly by extending a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of the near-bankrupt investment bank Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
Reporting on a YouTube video that CNN's Wolf Blitzer described as portraying Sen. Barack Obama and his wife as "America-hating racists," correspondent Carol Costello quoted, without challenge, a Republican National Committee official saying attacks on Obama's patriotism "do[n't] come from us." Costello did not note that Sen. John McCain's campaign has suspended one staffer for circulating the video and that the campaign also reportedly said it was "an error" when it sent out a Wall Street Journal op-ed attacking Obama's minister.
On MSNBC, Norah O'Donnell falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain "called for [former Defense Secretary] Don Rumsfeld's resignation." In fact, McCain did not call for Rumsfeld to resign; he said the decision about whether Rumsfeld should leave was the president's.
After noting former first lady Nancy Reagan's endorsement of Sen. John McCain, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer uncritically reported, "Mrs. Reagan says she typically waits until after the GOP convention to announce her support but says it's clear the Republican Party has chosen its nominee." However, Reagan endorsed George W. Bush well before the convention in 2000.
Despite saying that "we should [not] be putting our focus... on the feelings of the Clintons," and "we got to stop talking about this as if this were a sitcom," Chris Matthews devoted a six-minute segment on Hardball to speculation about Sen. Hillary Clinton's motivations and preferred outcomes in the event that she loses the Democratic nomination for president, including wondering whether the "worst-case scenario" for Clinton is "[t]hat [Sen.] Barack Obama becomes the greatest Democratic president in modern times, and everybody forgets her husband and forgets she ever ran."
Media Matters has extensively documented the disparity in media coverage devoted to controversial comments made by supporters of Sen. Barack Obama and to those made by supporters of Sen. John McCain. Several major publications have reported only on the controversy over remarks by McCain supporter John Hagee targeting Catholics, but not his controversial statements about Hurricane Katrina, Islam, women, and homosexuality. Most of those same publications have yet to report on pastor Rod Parsley and his controversial remarks in the context of McCain's campaign.
In an article discussing whether Sen. Barack Obama "can transcend the starkly red-and-blue politics of the last 15 years, end the partisan and ideological wars and build a new governing majority," The New York Times noted that the National Journal rated Obama's "voting record ... the most liberal in the Senate." But the Times did not mention that the Journal's rating conflicts with that of a respected study that, in contrast to the Journal's, uses every non-unanimous vote cast within a given year.
The Washington Times' Donald Lambro asserted that Sen. John McCain's "fact-finding foreign policy trip" "burnish[ed] his defense and foreign policy credentials." Lambro wrote this despite McCain's admittedly false claim during the trip that "it's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that ... Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran."
The Boston Globe's Peter S. Canellos reported that Sen. John McCain's "opposition to Bush on a range of issues, combined with his nonideological voting record, gives him an image of moderation." In fact, McCain himself has stated, "My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstream conservative," and has said that he will "offer Americans ... a clearly conservative approach to governing." Furthermore, academic studies of McCain's voting record have ranked him among the most conservative members of the Senate.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz has devoted a total of approximately 18 minutes to the controversy surrounding remarks made by Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In contrast, Kurtz has led only brief discussions on two religious figures who have endorsed Sen. John McCain and who have made controversial comments -- a single two-minute discussion on Rev. John Hagee and only seven seconds on Rev. Rod Parsley.
In an article on immigration as a campaign issue, the Chicago Tribune reported that Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain "essentially agree on the need for an overhaul of U.S. Immigration law that would combine increased border enforcement with a new guest-worker program and measures to permit the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country to eventually apply for citizenship." In fact, McCain has said he "would not" support his original comprehensive immigration proposal if it came to a vote on the Senate floor and now says that "we've got to secure the borders first."
On his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh suggested that Sen. Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton would react violently to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, stating: "Governor Richardson is alive and well. ... The lesson for you superdelegates is that you can vote against Hillary Clinton, and for at least four days, you can survive."
Lou Dobbs introduced the March 21 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight by announcing: "Tonight, Senator [Barack] Obama wins the endorsement of the nation's only Hispanic governor, Bill Richardson. Is Obama pandering to ethnocentric special interests again? We'll have complete coverage." The subsequent report included no discussion of whether Obama is "pandering to ethnocentric special interests."
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.