The New York Times' Patrick Healy reported that Sen. Hillary Clinton had said she "would support a gay marriage law in New York" and suggested that she had changed her position from her previous opposition to same-sex marriage -- an account that MSNBC's Chris Jansing echoed. Healy later amended his report to say that Clinton had said she "would not stand against a gay marriage law" and appeared on MSNBC to "correct the record." But he failed to acknowledge that his own flawed original reporting may have led to MSNBC's inaccurate report.
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While discussing a new campaign ad by Rep. Harold Ford Jr., in which Ford appears in a church, Tucker Carlson criticized Ford for "drag[ging] religion into the political arena." He added that "it's wrong, it's immoral, indeed, Democrats have argued, to imply that God's on your side." But Carlson praised an ad by Kinky Friedman, in which Friedman "quot[ed] Jesus from the Gospel of John." Carlson said, "I'm for it."
Responding to criticism of an RNC ad attacking Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. -- an ad described by former Republican senator and Secretary of Defense William Cohen as "overt[ly] racist" -- CNN political analyst Bill Bennett and Ron Christie, former special assistant to President Bush, revived the dubious claim that, in 2002, Maryland Senate candidate and lieutenant governor Michael Steele (R), who is an African-American, "had Oreos thrown at him" by Democrats as a racial insult. In fact, there is significant evidence that calls into question the Oreo cookie claims.
On Fox News, Ann Coulter asserted that Democrats "ought to be picking up 60 or 70 seats" in the House of Representatives in this November's midterm elections or "they may as well go away as a party." Coulter based her assertion about Democratic gains on her false claim that "[t]he average of the midterm election pickup since World War II is about 40 seats." In fact, since World War II, the average gain in the House after a midterm election has been about 25 seats.
ABC News political director Mark Halperin falsely suggested that while progressive 527 organizations with ties to the Democratic Party attacked President Bush during the 2004 election, there were no comparable groups on the right. But one of the most prominent 527 groups in the 2004 election cycle was the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, a group with ties to both the GOP and the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign whose attacks on Democratic candidate John Kerry -- which included numerous false and discredited allegations -- received broad coverage in the media.
While it cannot definitively be said that the reason the senior Iraqi court in charge of Saddam Hussein's trial postponed its verdict in the case until two days before the November elections so that it would influence the midterms, the postponement suggests several obvious questions, including, most importantly: Given the Bush administration's history of timing national security-related actions to the political calendar, has the date for the verdict's release been set to provide maximum political benefit for the administration and congressional Republicans?
Numerous Republican lawmakers and candidates have echoed President Bush's repeated assertions that the United States must "stay the course" in Iraq. But now that Bush has "stopped using" the phrase when talking about the Iraq war, will the media ask GOP candidates who have stressed the need to "stay the course" in Iraq whether they will follow the president's lead in abandoning this language, or adhere to his, and their, original position?
Fox News host Neil Cavuto stated that an October 23 report in Barron's that predicted the GOP would retain control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections was "a possible reason for the uptick" in the stock market that day while not challenging Barron's Washington bureau chief Jim McTague -- who declared, "[T]he numbers don't lie" -- about the false suggestion in the Barron's report that it has used a consistent methodology in predicting Republican victories in 2002, 2004, and now in 2006.
ABC's Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos juxtaposed actor Michael J. Fox's recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill with the Republican National Committee's (RNC) new advertisement featuring clips of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists making threats against the United States. Roberts claimed Fox's ad is "raising a lot of eyebrows," but she did not note that Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, has endorsed McCaskill because she supports embryonic stem cell research. Introducing the RNC ad, Stephanopoulos asserted that Republicans have a "big card" to play on "terrorism," but recent polling is mixed on whether the public trusts Democrats or Republicans more on dealing with terrorism.