During a May 29 campaign appearance, Sen. John McCain falsely stated that U.S. troops in Iraq "have [been] drawn down to pre-surge levels." As the Associated Press reported, "[T]here are 17 brigades in Iraq" right now, as opposed to the 15 brigades in place before the increase. In 2003, then-Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was criticized in the media for his response to a question about the number of active-duty soldiers, with Tim Russert and others questioning his fitness to be commander in chief. In light of McCain's troop-surge falsehood and numerous national security gaffes, will the media similarly question his suitability to be commander in chief?
CNN's Candy Crowley uncritically reported that Sen. John McCain is "continually suggesting Obama wants to surrender in Iraq without knowing what's happening there," and Fox News' James Rosen said, "Obama's absence from the war zone over the last two and a half years, McCain argued, has left the first-term senator divorced from the reality that now prevails on the ground in Iraq." However, neither Crowley nor Rosen mentioned any of the misstatements McCain has made that have raised questions about whether McCain himself "know[s] what's happening" in Iraq.
On Fox News' America's Election HQ, GOP strategist Terry Holt said that Al Gore "claimed to have invented the Internet," and on Fox News' On the Record, Politico reporter Ken Vogel stated: "And they're going to try to show him [Sen. Barack Obama] as a chronicle -- a chronic exaggerator, like they did with Al Gore in 2000, when they seized on his every claim, starting memorably with his claim that he invented the Internet, as some say that he said." In fact, Gore did not claim that he "invented the Internet." Rather, he said: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, who in February stated that "the story about Senator [John] McCain and lobbyists and ethics and money -- that continues," again ignored the issue of "McCain and lobbyists and ethics and money" on the May 25 edition of Meet the Press, despite numerous recent, related developments bearing on that issue.
In his column, Robert Novak wrote, "[Sen. Barack] Obama, while asserting that 'nobody is pro-abortion,' has said that if his two daughters 'make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby,' " falsely suggesting that Obama was discussing abortion when he said that if his two daughters were to "make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." However, as video of the campaign event at which Obama made his comments shows, he was not referring to abortion but was instead referring to sex education.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Sen. John McCain "notably call[ed] Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell 'agents of intolerance' in the 2000 presidential campaign," without noting that McCain later said he no longer believed Falwell was an "agent of intolerance" and delivered the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University in May 2006.
The Politico stated that Sen. Barack Obama is "blaming Republicans for the smears" about his religion, patriotism, and citizenship "even though they have not been traced back to GOP sources." In fact, there have been numerous instances in which Republicans, including on Sen. John McCain's own staff, have promulgated or promoted these smears, some of which the Politico itself reported on.
In two separate appearances on MSNBC Live, NBC News political director Chuck Todd discussed the announcement that Sen. John McCain will make his medical records available on May 23, suggesting first that the McCain campaign scheduled the records' availability before Memorial Day weekend to minimize coverage of them and later that such a strategy would be effective. But it is within NBC's power to prevent the strategy from working by covering the issue adequately.
The Boston Globe reported in an article that Sen. John McCain has "accus[ed] [Sen. Barack] Obama of going back on his word to take part in the public system" without noting that the Obama campaign has also criticized McCain on public financing or that the FEC chairman has taken the position that McCain cannot legally opt out of public financing during the primary season without FEC approval.
The Hill reported that Sen. John McCain "sponsored legislation with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) that would offer a path to citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants" and said "[t]his damaged his credibility with conservatives, and they do not trust him on the issue." While asserting that McCain took a "harder stance" on immigration during the primary, the article did not note that McCain now says he would no longer support the bill he co-sponsored with Kennedy if it came up for a vote in the Senate.
On Hannity & Colmes, discussing issues that purportedly "have totally changed the narrative on Senator [Barack] Obama," Sean Hannity repeated a falsehood that he has promoted numerous times before, that Obama would advocate "possibly invading an ally, Pakistan."
In criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for proposing to "lift the tax cap on earnings subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax, which now covers only the first $102,000," an Investor's Business Daily editorial quoted a false assertion made by George Will that a "Chicago police officer married to a Chicago public-school teacher, each with 20 years on the job, have a household income of $147,501, so you (Obama) would take another $5,642 from them." Newsweek issued a correction of Will's false claim the day before the IBD editorial appeared.
On Hannity & Colmes, Kellyanne Conway falsely suggested that Sen. John McCain has been consistent in voting for funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Purporting to contrast McCain with Sen. John Kerry, Conway asserted: "John McCain never voted against and then voted for, and then voted against and for." In fact, in March 2007, McCain himself voted against an emergency spending bill that would have funded both wars.
Newsweek has corrected George Will's false assertion in his Newsweek column that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Will made the same assertion on ABC's This Week, but ABC has yet to issue a correction on the show.
The Washington Times ignored reports that President Bush was referring to Sen. Barack Obama when he said, "Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals," and uncritically quoted a memo from presidential counselor Ed Gillespie, who called the controversy a "media-manufactured story line." The Times also quoted Gillespie saying Bush was "reiterat[ing] a long-standing policy" regarding Iran, but did not note that Robert Gates has, like Obama, reportedly said that the United States needs to be willing to meet with Iran.