During ABC News' coverage of the ABC News-Facebook debates, correspondent Bianna Golodryga asserted that the fact that 66 percent of respondents answered yes when asked, "Could a Democratic president keep America safe?" "surprised us." But she did not say why those results were "surpris[ing]." Other media figures have previously asserted that Republicans have an advantage on issues of national security and terrorism, despite polls showing Democrats either tied or at a slight advantage against Republicans on that issue.
On January 5, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported that Sen. John McCain "told employees at BAE Systems that [Mitt] Romney's loss [in the Iowa caucuses] was due to his negative campaigning." In another January 5 article, the Union Leader reported McCain's assertion that "negative ads don't work." While both articles noted that Romney has been running negative ads "suggesting McCain supports amnesty because of his earlier support for a bipartisan immigration bill," neither article mentioned that McCain has run negative TV and Web ads against Romney including one his campaign released the same day McCain spoke to BAE Systems employees.
On MSNBC Live, anchor Alex Witt claimed that Rudy Giuliani "is spending very little time and even less money in Iowa and New Hampshire, opting instead to stake his claim on the later states." Later, The New York Sun's Nicholas Wapshott agreed, saying, "Well, he really, as you say, he barely attempted to go" to Iowa. In fact, in June 2007, Giuliani's campaign manager said: "We are 100 percent committed to winning Iowa and I believe we will do so."
On Hardball, Chris Matthews again used violent imagery to portray Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, asking, "[W]hat does she do with the body? How does she get rid of a Barack Obama if she ever gets to beat him?" Matthews has previously asked, "Is the Hillary Clinton campaign trying to obliterate Obama's candidacy? Not just beat it, but strangle it in the crib before there's any chance he catches on?" Other media figures have also portrayed Clinton and her aides as violent or ruthless, including Maureen Dowd who once wrote that Clinton, like Tony Soprano, "is so power-hungry that she can justify any thuggish means to get the prize."
Los Angeles Times blogger Andrew Malcolm wrote that two "[Sen. Hillary] Clinton aides" had "told conservative columnist Robert Novak the Clintons had very damaging information on [Sen. Barack] Obama, but they weren't going to use it." However, Novak has acknowledged that his purported "source" for that claim was not involved in the Clinton campaign.
In a New York Post column, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann wrote that Mike Huckabee's "refusal to indulge in negative advertising sent a message to Iowa voters showing his strength under fire." But on Hannity & Colmes, Morris criticized as "a stupid move" Huckabee's actions at a press conference during which Huckabee played an anti-Mitt Romney ad for the assembled media, after stating that he was renouncing negative advertising in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses and had decided not to air the ad.
Numerous print media outlets reported on Sen. John McCain's assertion following the Iowa caucuses that "[t]he lesson of this election in Iowa is that ... negative campaigns don't work." But none of those articles noted that McCain has run negative TV and Web ads against Mitt Romney.
On Morning Joe, Chris Matthews asserted that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton were to "squeak" out a victory in the Iowa caucuses, she will nonetheless have been "rejected here in Iowa by two-thirds of the Democratic Party." Matthews added that she would be "lucky to get 33 percent" and went on to say that a "low 30 percent" result would represent "a resounding rejection" of Clinton.
On Today, David Gregory and Frank Luntz discussed video clips of what Gregory called "the year's best quotes from the campaign trail." However, Gregory and Luntz omitted relevant context for two of the quotations -- an attack on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton by Rudy Giuliani and a separate attack on Clinton by Sen. John McCain.
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."
Slate.com's Mickey Kaus touted a National Enquirer article, the headline of which was posted on the Drudge Report website, stating that former John Edwards campaign worker Rielle Hunter is six months pregnant with Edwards' baby. But neither Drudge nor Kaus have noted that the story contained a statement from the lawyer for Edwards confidante Andrew Young stating that "Young is the father of Ms. Hunter's unborn child." Don Imus on his radio show said about the story: "[W]hat does that say about your judgment, to be -- be president of the United States if you're going around impregnating people?"
Describing it as "nearly a case of Too Much Information," Dana Milbank wrote that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "divulged some startling news: She was dispatching across Iowa 'people who have known me, who can talk about what I do when the lights are off.' As luck would have it, Bill Clinton was campaigning with his wife in the Hy-Vee, and he was asked what he and the senator do in their, um, downtime." But Milbank left off the rest of Clinton's sentence, which makes clear that she was not insinuating what Milbank suggested.
After the Drudge Report displayed an Associated Press photo of Hillary Clinton above the headline "The Toll of a Campaign," the conservative echo chamber went into effect. Rush Limbaugh discussed the photo on his radio show, Drudge then linked to the transcript on Limbaugh's website, and The Washington Times and Michelle Malkin on Fox news' The Big Story, then reprinted or discussed the photograph, characterizing it as representative of the toll the campaign was taking on Clinton.