Several media outlets reported on Sen. John McCain's recent efforts to highlight his Vietnam War experience as part of his presidential campaign without noting that, in 2004, he reportedly told Sen. John Kerry that Kerry should not use his Vietnam war record during his campaign, or that McCain falsely asserted in 2004 that he "didn't talk about" his own service during his 2000 presidential campaign "because," he said, "I didn't need to."
CNN's Lou Dobbs claimed that, "with the exception of Iraq, there isn't much difference among" Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. In fact, on health care, Obama and Clinton have both proposed plans to expand coverage, which McCain has denounced. Obama and Clinton also both support comprehensive immigration reform; McCain abandoned his previous support for comprehensive immigration legislation during his campaign for the Republican nomination.
On The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Mark Shields asserted that Sen. John McCain "emphasized a lot of places of disagreement" with President Bush during his March 26 foreign policy speech, including "the sense of communality and collegiality among nations, reaching to the allies." But neither Shields nor the others in the discussion noted any of the highly critical statements McCain made about U.S. allies who opposed the Iraq war.
CBS News' Andante Higgins reported in a blog post that "[o]ne of [Sen. John] McCain's claims to fame is his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, something he didn't like to discuss a lot before this campaign," adding, "Perhaps he didn't speak about it sooner because he learned from his father not to." In fact, McCain and his campaign repeatedly invoked his experience as a POW during his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.
In a blog post, ABC's Jake Tapper wrote, "Campaigning in Indiana on Friday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, claimed to have been a 16-year vocal opponent of NAFTA." But in the very comments Tapper cited, Clinton did not assert that she had "been a 16-year vocal opponent of NAFTA"; rather, she said she "spoke out" against NAFTA starting in 1992.
During an interview with Sen. Chuck Hagel, Charlie Rose falsely asserted that Sen. John McCain "early on call[ed] for the firing of Secretary Rumsfeld." In fact, while McCain expressed "no confidence" in Rumsfeld in 2004, he did not call for him to be fired; he said the decision about whether Rumsfeld should leave was the president's.
The New York Times' David Brooks asserted that Sen. John McCain's March 26 foreign policy speech "was so important because he broke with Bush on several ways" and described one of those ways as, "Should the U.S. go it alone on certain issues? He said no, we are -- we need a strong America, but in the community of nations. And he detailed that." Similarly, The Washington Post's David Broder wrote that McCain "outlin[ed] a vastly different approach from President Bush's" in the speech, in part by offering a "repudiation of unilateralism." Yet neither Brooks nor Broder accounted for any of the statements McCain made during the run-up to the Iraq war about France, Germany, and Belgium, which revealed a very different attitude to U.S. allies.
Discussing Howard Dean's assertion that Sen. John McCain is a "blatant opportunist," on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace stated, "I think you can call John McCain a lot of things. Opportunist?" Bill Kristol responded that polls on the Iraq war show "that most people would like to be told, 'Hey, we can get out of there soon, no problem, no damage,' " and added: "I think the opportunist line is just ludicrous." The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman asserted: "McCain actually revels in saying the thing that you don't want to hear. And he says it first." No member of the Fox News Sunday panel mentioned that McCain has reversed his positions on issues such as taxes, immigration, and his view of the religious right to align himself more closely with the base of his party.
On ABC's This Week, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman claimed that Sen. John McCain "actually stepped out and was much more forward-leaning on immigration reform than Barack Obama was -- Senator Clinton wasn't involved in those negotiations." Host George Stephanopoulos did not point out that McCain abandoned his previous support for comprehensive immigration legislation during his campaign for the Republican nomination.
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama has "never reached across the aisle as a senator in legislation." In fact, Obama was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. In a press release upon Senate passage of the bill, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn himself referred to the legislation as the "Coburn-Obama Bill." Obama has also worked with Republicans on other bills.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and an article in the Los Angeles Times both uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's statement regarding possible responses to the home mortgage crisis: "What is not necessary is a multibillion-dollar bailout for big banks and speculators, as Senators Clinton and Obama have proposed." In fact, neither Clinton nor Obama has proposed "a multibillion-dollar bailout" for "speculators." Moreover, neither Malveaux nor the Times noted that McCain recently expressed support for the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of the near-bankrupt investment bank Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that Sen. John McCain, in the words of Times reporters Michael Powell and Jeff Zeleny, "argued this week against a vigorous federal intervention to address the [housing] crisis, saying Washington should not bail out banks and homeowners who in his view had knowingly taken on risky mortgages." However, neither article noted that McCain reportedly expressed support for the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
In a report on congressional action in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, National Public Radio's Brian Naylor uncritically reported McCain's statement that it's not the government's job to "bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers." Naylor did not note that McCain reportedly agreed with the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
A Washington Post article claimed that "[o]f the three candidates, budget analysts said [Sen. John] McCain has been most aggressive at identifying ways to reduce spending." While the article noted that "McCain's proposals come nowhere near generating the sums necessary to meet the costs," it did not note that, in addition to his proposals to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, those "costs" include the war in Iraq, for which, unlike Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, McCain does not support a timetable for withdrawal.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer highlighted Sen. John McCain's assertion that he has "always been committed to the principle that it's not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they're big banks or small borrowers," but did not mention that McCain reportedly said he didn't think the Federal Reserve "went too far in helping" investment bank Bear Stearns avoid bankruptcy.