Fox News' Steve Doocy asserted that Sen. John McCain "has not really talked much about his time in the Hanoi Hilton for five years, and what happened to him, and they are including some of that archival stuff in a [campaign] video. And now, Howard Dean says that that is 'blatant opportunism.' " In fact, Dean said: "John McCain can try to reintroduce himself to the country, but he can't change the fact that he cast aside his principles to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush for the last seven years. While we honor McCain's military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn't understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years."
On Fox News' The Live Desk, Martha MacCallum, discussing with correspondent Major Garrett a report about Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Maggie Williams, stated that Williams "sat on the board of one of the nation's once-largest and now bankrupt mortgage lenders, Delta Financial." However, neither Garrett nor MacCallum mentioned Sen. John McCain's reported ties to the mortgage industry.
On MSNBC Live, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama was discussing abortion when he said of his two daughters at a March 29 campaign event: "I don't want them punished with a baby." In fact, as CNN reported, Obama's comments were in response to "a question about how his administration, if he's elected, would deal with the issue of HIV and AIDS and also sexually transmitted diseases with young girls."
During a washingtonpost.com online discussion, Howard Kurtz falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain did not use his military service in television advertising during his failed 2000 presidential campaign. In fact, Kurtz's own reporting during the 2000 Republican presidential primary campaign contradicts his statement.
On NBC's Today, Chris Matthews asserted that Sen. John McCain "has campaigned brilliantly against Bush," adding, "He won this by basically running against the Bush administration." But when President Bush endorsed him on March 5, McCain said, "All I can say is that on the fundamentals and the principles of our Republican Party and most of the specifics of our shared conservative philosophy, Bush and I are in agreement."
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.