Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that the ACLU's lawsuit over the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program "was basically an attempt ... to try to overcome a law which was passed by Congress, through the courts." In fact, the ACLU's lawsuit claimed, in part, that the program was in violation of several, as O'Reilly put it, "law[s] ... passed by Congress," including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and asked that the courts enforce those laws by ordering the program shut down.
Robert Novak asserted that "[a] closed-door caucus of House Democrats" had "instructed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Bush's bluff on extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists" and that "Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there was no danger in letting the FISA legislation lapse temporarily." In fact, FISA did not lapse or expire; what expired was the Protect America Act (PAA), which amended FISA. Additionally, Novak falsely stated that "the Democratic leadership Wednesday brought up another bill simply extending FISA authority, this time for 21 days" and that most of the Democrats who voted against the bill "intuitively oppose any anti-terrorist proposal." In fact, the House voted on an extension to the PAA, not FISA, and most of the Democrats who voted against the extension have supported other bills to allow surveillance of suspected terrorists.
In an "analysis" of Sen. Barack Obama's response to a question about being rated the "most liberal senator" of 2007 by National Journal, FactCheck.org deputy director Viveca Novak claimed that "[t]he nonpartisan public policy magazine's analysis of the votes and the designation of 'liberal' and 'conservative' positions was done according to a rather rigorous process the publication has been using since 1981." In fact, National Journal editor Charles Green has admitted that the publication changed the methodology it had used in its 2003 ratings after it determined that the methodology that resulted in a "most liberal" senator ranking for 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry had been flawed.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane claimed that Sen. John McCain is "using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack" against Sen. Hillary Clinton. But in the same article, Kane contradicted his claim that McCain has a policy of "blanket opposition to earmarked spending," reporting: "McCain, who has helped lead efforts to strip some earmarks from Senate bills, has not focused on the money headed to his home state. Other Arizona lawmakers secured more than $214 million in pet projects in fiscal 2008 spending bills."
MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan claimed that if Sen. Barack Obama (IL) wins the Democratic presidential nomination, Republicans will "tear him apart because ... he has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate." Buchanan was presumably referencing the National Journal's 2007 vote rankings that claimed Obama was the "most liberal senator in 2007," but he did not mention that the Journal changed its methodology and has acknowledged a flaw in a previous vote rating. Buchanan also did not note a study that ranked Obama as tied with Sen. Joe Biden as the 10th "most liberal" senator last year.
The Washington Post and the Politico both noted the National Journal's rating of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as "the most liberal senator in 2007" without mentioning an admitted flaw in the Journal's 2003 rating of Sen. John Kerry as "the most liberal senator," or that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain did not receive a composite score in 2007 because he "missed more than half of the votes in both the economic and foreign-policy categories."
New York Times columnist Frank Rich mischaracterized Tim Russert's question to Sen. Hillary Clinton during the October 30 Democratic presidential debate regarding a 2002 letter written by former President Bill Clinton to the National Archives and Records Administration. Rich wrote that "Bill Clinton exercised his right to insist that all communications between him and his wife be 'considered for withholding' until 2012," adding, "When Mrs. Clinton was asked by Mr. Russert at an October debate if she would lift that restriction, she again escaped by passing the buck to her husband: 'Well, that's not my decision to make.' " In fact, Russert falsely claimed that Bill Clinton's letter asked that the communications "not be made available to the public until 2012."
On MSNBC Live, Amy Robach and Alex Witt separately aired a campaign ad from Republican presidential candidate John McCain attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton's support for a $1 million earmark for a museum at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York. But Robach, Witt, NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell and Congressional Quarterly's Jonathan Allen all failed to note that McCain had skipped the vote on removing the earmark. Robach and Witt also falsely referred to the advertisement as "new."
Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman falsely claimed during MSNBC's coverage following the January 15 Democratic presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas that Sen. Barack Obama "admitt[ed] that he can't manage his way out of a paper bag while he's running for president of the United States."
In an article on Sen. Hillary Clinton's vote on the 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, The New York Times' Eric Lipton suggested that Sen. Chuck Hagel and Clinton took different positions on the resolution. But Hagel, like Clinton, voted for the resolution -- a fact Lipton did not report.
In his nationally syndicated column, echoing Rush Limbaugh's assertion that "if you look" at Sen. Barack Obama's legislative record, "you won't find a Senate bill with this name on it," Cal Thomas wrote that Obama has "no legislation he can point to that has his name on it." In fact, Obama was the primary sponsor of a bill in the 109th Congress to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo," signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and has so far introduced 55 bills in the current session of Congress.
Rush Limbaugh falsely asserted that if "you look at" the legislative record of Sen. Barack Obama, "you won't find a Senate bill with his name on it." In fact, Obama was the primary sponsor of a bill in the 109th Congress to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo," signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and has so far introduced 55 bills in the current session of Congress.
Previewing the January 5 presidential debates, MSNBC's Chris Matthews discussed what he said would be "a good question" to ask candidates, such as one that would force the candidates to "choose between Latino voters who want more of an open border and the other voters ... who definitely don't want that kind of an open border." Yet, while Matthews did not offer any examples of "Latino voters who want more of an open border," in fact, a number of national and regional Latino groups have specifically rejected the idea of "open borders" while advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, as have members of Congress representing states and districts with large Latino constituencies.
During ABC News' coverage of the ABC News-Facebook debates, correspondent Bianna Golodryga asserted that the fact that 66 percent of respondents answered yes when asked, "Could a Democratic president keep America safe?" "surprised us." But she did not say why those results were "surpris[ing]." Other media figures have previously asserted that Republicans have an advantage on issues of national security and terrorism, despite polls showing Democrats either tied or at a slight advantage against Republicans on that issue.