In an editorial, The Washington Post asserted that "[t]he worst offenders" of "negative campaigning" were "Republicans, but that probably was because they were the ones on the defensive." In fact, Republicans also employed vicious smears in winning the 2002 and 2004 elections.
A Los Angeles Times editorial described Arizona's 2006 midterm election results as "[a] referendum on immigration policy" and proclaimed Sen. John McCain its "winner," even though he personally campaigned for and endorsed candidates whose defeat the editorial touted as evidence of McCain's supposed victory.
In her syndicated column, Ann Coulter claimed that the Democratic Party made "pathetic gains" in the November 7 midterm elections. In fact, the Democrats' gains in the House are just slightly under the average for the party out of power in the White House in the sixth-year midterm elections over the past century, and the Democrats' Senate gains are above the average. Moreover, the 2006 elections were the first sixth-year midterms since 1918 in which control of both houses of Congress switched parties.
The Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum reported that Sen. John McCain has "long been seen as a champion of independents" and the "good news" for him is that this voting bloc played a significant role in determining the outcome of this year's elections. However, that logic overlooks the fact that independents cited the Iraq war -- which McCain supports -- as one of their top reasons for voting Democratic this year.
In a New York Post op-ed, Deborah Orin-Eilbeck used a poll conducted by a Republican firm to suggest that both Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani would "trounc[e]" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 presidential election. However, recent independent polls show Clinton either favored or much closer in those matchups.
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The Washington Times reported that "Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] emerged from yesterday's elections as one of Republicans' only winners as Democrats made solid gains and both parties turn an eye toward 2008," but offered no explanation to support the claim. In fact, there are indications that the opposite might be true -- issues and candidates supported by McCain were repudiated by voters in the November 7 election.
Media figures have attributed Democratic gains in the House and Senate in the midterm elections to the number of wins by conservative or moderate Democratic challengers and have suggested that because the party's victory in the House was purportedly "built on the back of more centrist candidates," the incoming Democratic majority will be sharply divided. However, a Media Matters for America survey of the policy positions of 27 victorious House candidates found that they all agree on a core set of issues, including raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny purported to show that "bills for catering, flowers and photography" elevated campaign expenses for Sen. Hillary Clinton, contrasting them with more mundane expenses by Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign. But Zeleny ignored Santorum's more costly expenses; in fact, Santorum's campaign spent more money in the third quarter of 2006 than Clinton's did.