In a column about an Elton John concert on behalf of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, The Washington Times' John McCaslin questioned whether the concert violates federal election law and wrote that FEC spokesman Bob Biersack "said he doesn't know whether the Elton John performance would be considered unlawful by FEC standards." While McCaslin later updated his column, he did not note that, according to the Clinton campaign, Biersack said: "I did not intend to convey ... that there is anything unlawful" about the concert. McCaslin also falsely asserted that a 1981 FEC advisory opinion "prohibited a foreign national artist from donating his services in connection with fundraising for a U.S. Senate campaign."
The Associated Press quoted Sen. John McCain claiming that Sen. Barack Obama will "raise taxes" on homeowners. In fact, Obama has proposed "at least $80 billion a year in tax cuts to middle-class workers, homeowners and retirees," and specifically called for "extending a mortgage credit to taxpayers who do not itemize, generating about $500 in savings for 10 million people."
The Washington Post asserted in a March 27 editorial that Sen. John McCain is a "champion" of "campaign finance reform," despite having stated less than three weeks before that McCain's decision to "deriv[e] some benefit from the matching funds system and then abandon it when that was to his advantage" was "not Mr. McCain's proudest moment as a reformer."
A day after falsely claiming that Sen. John McCain "called for Don Rumsfeld's resignation," MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell issued a "clarification," saying: "Yesterday, I suggested that John McCain had called for Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation in the past. In fact, what McCain had said repeatedly was that he lacked confidence in Rumsfeld. But he did not directly call for Rumsfeld to step down back when Rumsfeld was still in office."
Several media outlets reported Sen. John McCain's assertion, in his March 26 foreign policy speech, that "[w]e need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies," without nothing that, during the run-up to the Iraq war, McCain made statements that suggested the opposite of "respect" for the views of U.S. allies. For example, in February 2003, McCain likened France, which opposed the invasion, to an "aging movie actress in the 1940s who's still trying to dine out on her looks, but doesn't have the face for it."
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.