Media continue to uncritically report McCain campaign attacks on their coverage, but case studies still show disparate coverage in McCain's favor

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

A Media Matters review of the media's coverage of two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. Barack Obama -- his ties to Bill Ayers and Antoin Rezko -- and two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. John McCain -- his reported facilitation of land deals that benefited donors and his association with G. Gordon Liddy -- found that, while the five major newspapers frequently mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko throughout the 2008 election cycle, they rarely mentioned McCain's reported facilitation of land deals that benefited donors, and they almost completely ignored McCain's association with Liddy. In addition, the three evening network news broadcasts mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko several times, but never reported on McCain's reported facilitation of land deals that benefited donors or his association with Liddy. This despite the fact that the media continued to uncritically report complaints by the McCain campaign that they favored his opponent in their coverage of the presidential race.

Throughout the 2008 general election campaign, the media uncritically reported complaints by Sen. John McCain's campaign that they favored his opponent in their coverage of the presidential race, while making little attempt to assess the accuracy of those complaints or to confirm or refute them. In September, Media Matters for America undertook a review of the media's coverage of two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. Barack Obama and two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on McCain and compared the extent of media attention to each. Media Matters has since updated that review through Election Day, November 4. Specifically, Media Matters compared the media's coverage of Obama's association with Chicago developer Antoin Rezko to the media's coverage of McCain's associations with donors for whom McCain reportedly facilitated land deals. Media Matters also compared coverage of Obama's association with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers to coverage of McCain's association with G. Gordon Liddy, whom Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman has described as McCain's "own Bill Ayers."

Media Matters found that while the five major newspapers -- the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post -- frequently mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko, they rarely mentioned McCain's reported facilitation of land deals that benefited donors, and they almost completely ignored McCain's association with Liddy. In addition, the three evening network news broadcasts mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko several times, but never reported on McCain's reported facilitation of land deals that benefited donors or his association with Liddy. Indeed, since The New York Times first reported on April 22 that McCain facilitated land deals that benefited major donors, these media outlets mentioned such deals in only five additional reports and one editorial. By contrast, those media outlets mentioned Obama's ties to Rezko -- who was convicted in June in a case in which Obama was never accused of any wrongdoing -- in 76 network evening news broadcasts, news reports, editorial, or opinion pieces during that same time period. Moreover, while these same media outlets mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers 311 times in 2008 through Election Day, they produced only five reports mentioning McCain's connections to Liddy, whom McCain has praised and repeatedly associated with in public and in campaign settings.

Following Media Matters' September report -- which found that those media outlets had yet to cover McCain's relationship with Liddy -- there was some media attention on that association. However, the broadcast networks continued to ignore the association on their evening news programs, and, with the exception of a single Washington Post column by Richard Cohen, mentions in the five major papers were limited to six articles noting that CBS host David Letterman had asked McCain about his association with Liddy.

Media Matters has previously noted McCain's ties to Liddy. Liddy served four and a half years in prison in connection with his conviction for his role in the Watergate break-in and the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in "if necessary"; plotting to kill journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a "gangland figure" to kill Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution; and plotting to kidnap "leftist guerillas" at the 1972 Republican National Convention -- a plan he outlined to the Nixon administration using terminology borrowed from the Nazis. (The murder, firebombing, and kidnapping plots were never carried out; the break-ins were.)

Media Matters previously conducted a review of articles in The Washington Post and The New York Times comparing coverage of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. with coverage of televangelist James Hagee, a McCain supporter who has made numerous controversial comments. Media Matters found that, from February 27, the date Hagee endorsed McCain for president, to April 30, the two papers combined published more than 12 times as many articles mentioning Wright and Obama as they did mentioning Hagee and McCain. Media Matters also documented (here, here, here, here, and here) other examples of the disparity between the media's extensive coverage of controversial comments made by Wright and other supporters of Obama and their coverage of controversial comments by Hagee and other supporters of McCain.

McCain and land deals vs. Obama and Rezko

McCain has reportedly facilitated several land deals that benefited wealthy developers who were major McCain donors. But while several major newspapers published initial articles concerning those deals, the media have devoted far less attention to McCain's involvement in land deals than they have paid to Obama's ties to Rezko. According to a Media Matters search of the Nexis and Factiva databases, since The New York Times' initial April 22 article, the land deals were mentioned in only six additional news articles, editorials, or opinion pieces in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, or The Washington Post, and were not mentioned on any evening network news program through Election Day. By contrast, during that same time period, 71 news articles, editorials, or opinion pieces in those papers have collectively mentioned Obama and Rezko; the evening news broadcasts have collectively mentioned Obama and Rezko in five reports.

Specifically:

  • The Los Angeles Times published one news article that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, compared with nine news articles mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.
  • The New York Times published its original April 22 news article and one editorial that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, compared with 16 news articles and two opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.
  • USA Today published one news article that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, compared with three news articles mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.
  • The Wall Street Journal did not publish a news article, editorial, or opinion piece that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, but published six news articles and nine editorials or opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.
  • The Washington Post published three news articles that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, compared with 20 news articles and six editorials or opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.
  • ABC's World News did not air a report that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, but aired three reports mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.
  • The CBS Evening News did not air a report that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, but aired one report mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.
  • NBC's Nightly News did not air a report that mentioned McCain-facilitated land deals, but aired one report mentioning Obama's association with Rezko.

In its April 22 article, headlined "A Developer, His Deals and His Ties to McCain," The New York Times examined McCain's relationship with Arizona developer Donald R. Diamond, reporting that McCain "sponsored two laws sought by Mr. Diamond that resulted in providing him millions of dollars and thousands of acres in exchange for adding some of his properties to national parks." The article described Diamond as "one of the elite fund-raisers Mr. McCain's current presidential campaign calls Innovators, having raised more than $250,000 so far."

In a May 9 article, headlined "McCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer," The Washington Post reported that McCain "championed legislation that will let an Arizona rancher trade remote grassland and ponderosa pine forest here for acres of valuable federally owned property that is ready for development, a land swap that now stands to directly benefit one of his top presidential campaign fundraisers." The Post identified the "Arizona rancher" as SunCor Development president Steven A. Betts, and described him as "a longtime McCain supporter who has raised more than $100,000 for the presumptive Republican nominee."

In a May 19 article, USA Today reported that McCain also "inserted $14.3 million in a 2003 defense bill to buy land around Luke Air Force Base in a provision sought by SunCor Development." The article further noted that "McCain's campaigns have received $224,000 since 1998 from donors connected to [SunCor Development parent company] Pinnacle West, including $104,100 for his current presidential run" and that Pinnacle West's CEO, vice president and lobbyist, and former president, in addition to Betts, are all McCain fundraisers.

In an October 27 article, headlined "McCain pushed regulators for land swap, despite pledge," McClatchy Newspapers reported that "[y]ears after he resurrected his political fortunes from the Keating Five savings and loan investigation, John McCain promoted an Arizona land swap that would've benefited a former mentor and partner of the scandal's central figure":

The owners of the Spur Cross Ranch, a dramatic 2,154-acre tract of Sonoran desert just north of Phoenix, in the late 1990s sought to sell it to a developer who planned to build a premier golf course surrounded by 390 luxury homes.

Nearby residents and environmentalists, however, wanted to preserve the area's unusual cacti, stone formations and hundreds of Hopi Indian tribal artifacts.

After opposition surfaced, the developer sought McCain's help in forging a land swap with the U.S. Forest Service -- a deal that also would benefit the owners of the ranch, including a company controlled by billionaire Carl H. Lindner Jr., an associate of S&L chief Charles H. Keating.

McCain and an aide pushed for the exchange in more than a half dozen sometimes-testy letters and phone calls up and down the Forest Service's hierarchy, according to former agency officials and correspondence. McCain's office even circulated draft legislation that would have overridden the agency's objection to surrendering national forest land. Ultimately, the deal fell apart.

McCain's behind-the-scenes maneuvering on Spur Cross contrasts with his image as a congressional ethics champion and his pledge -- made after the Keating scandal in 1991 sullied his reputation -- never to intervene with regulators again.

McClatchy further reported that "the 89-year-old Lindner and his son, Carl H. Lindner III, have raised more than $300,000 for McCain's presidential campaign."

McCain and Liddy vs. Obama and Ayers

According to a Media Matters search of the Nexis and Factiva databases, between January 1 and Election Day, the five major newspapers, as well as the network evening news broadcasts, collectively broadcast or published 311 news reports, editorials, and opinion pieces mentioning Obama's relationship with Ayers. By contrast, over the same period, the five major newspapers produced six articles and one opinion piece mentioning McCain's association with Liddy; the evening news broadcasts did not mention that relationship at all. All six news articles were reports on McCain's appearance on the October 16 edition of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman, during which Letterman questioned McCain about his association with Liddy.

Specifically:

  • The Los Angeles Times published two news articles that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, compared with 46 news articles and 13 editorials or opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.
  • The New York Times published one news article that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, compared with 60 news articles and 16 editorials or opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.
  • USA Today published one news article that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, compared with 11 news articles and seven editorials or opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.
  • The Wall Street Journal did not publish a news article, editorial, or opinion piece that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, but published 14 news articles and 26 editorials or opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.
  • The Washington Post published two news articles and one opinion piece that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, compared with 58 news articles and 35 editorials or opinion pieces mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.
  • ABC's World News did not air a report that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, but aired nine reports mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.
  • The CBS Evening News did not air a report that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, but aired eight reports mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.
  • NBC's Nightly News did not air a report that mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, but aired eight reports mentioning Obama's association with Ayers.

The Tribune's Chapman wrote in a May 4 column, "[B]ack in the 1970s, [Liddy] extolled violence and committed crimes in the name of a radical ideology." Writing that "Liddy's penchant for extreme solutions has not abated," Chapman went on to note that, in 1994, Liddy "gave some advice to his listeners" on how to shoot ATF officials. Chapman further wrote that "[f]ar from repudiating him [Liddy], McCain has embraced him." In an August 22 blog post about an Americans Issues Project ad about Obama's association with Ayers, Chapman wrote: "If Obama needs to answer questions about Ayers, McCain has the same obligation regarding Liddy. How about they both get started?" Nevertheless, in a 2,140-word October 4 front-page article about Obama's association with Ayers, The New York Times quoted Chapman denouncing Obama's association with Ayers but did not note that Chapman's statement that "[i]f Obama needs to answer questions about Ayers, McCain has the same obligation regarding Liddy." In an October 7 blog post citing the Times article, Chapman wrote: "While Obama has gotten lots of scrutiny for his connection to Ayers, McCain has never had to explain his association with Liddy. If he can't defend it, he should admit as much. And if he thinks he can defend it, let him." During his October 16 interview with Letterman, McCain said of Liddy: "You say I know Gordon Liddy. I -- he paid his debt. He went to prison. He paid his debt, as people do. I'm not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy, and his son who is also a good friend and supporter of mine."

Rezko coverage

From April 22 to November 4, 76 combined network evening news broadcasts and news, editorials, or opinion pieces covered or mentioned Obama's ties to Rezko:

Los Angeles Times (9)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Judge delays sentencing for Rezko

10/9/08

N

Prosecutors delay Rezko sentencing

10/7/08

N

McCain, Obama introduce newly sharp tone amid major news events

10/7/08

N

Barack Obama accuses Republicans of distracting voters from the economy

10/6/08

N

Hiding Sarah Palin behind 'deference'

9/9/08

N

Barack Obama: Search for identity

8/28/08

N

McCain out of touch if he's lost count of his homes, Obama says

8/22/08

N

Rezko closing arguments begin

5/13/08

N

Antoin Rezko won't take the stand in his fraud trial

5/6/08

N


The New York Times
(18)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Barack Obama, Forever Sizing Up

10/25/08

N

G.O.P. Opens Wallet for Ads

10/14/08

N

Attacking Obama's Associations

10/10/08

N

McCain Excites Crowds With Criticism of Obama

10/8/08

N

Seeking to Shift Attention to Judicial Nominees

10/6/08

N

Political Scorekeeping

10/4/08

E

Lawmakers in Illinois Make Ethics Top Priority

9/24/08

N

Pinpoint Attacks Focus on Obama

9/23/08

N

Obama's Chicago, in McCain's Eyes

9/23/08

N

Obama Carries Uneven Record as Debater to First Contest With McCain

9/22/08

N

Obama and McCain Seek a Common Touch

8/21/08

N

UNIONS UNITED; Hitting McCain Where He Lives

8/19/08

N

Ex-Obama Fund-Raiser Is Convicted Of Fraud

6/5/08

N

Corruption Case Taints Rising Political Star

5/12/08

N

Pragmatic Politics, Forged on the South Side

5/11/08

N

Republicans Focus on Obama as Fall Opponent

5/8/08

N

How McCain Lost in Pennsylvania

4/27/08

E

Ex-Official in Illinois Admits Lying About Job for Donation

4/23/08

N


USA Today
(3)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Fundraisers linked to corruption cases

10/16/08

N

McCain ad: Clinton's 'truth hurt'

8/24/08

N

Obama slams McCain's inability to count family residences

8/21/08

N


The Wall Street Journal
(15)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Leap of Hope

11/3/08

E

The Chicago Boys

10/31/08

E

The Tax Argument Still Works

10/23/08

E

A McCain Comeback May Rely On Feeling the Nation's Anger

10/7/08

E

Politics, Still Local

9/30/08

E

Obama Should Come Clean on Ayers, Rezko and the Iraqi Billionaire

8/30/08

E

House Party: Obama Homes In on McCain

8/22/08

N

Obama Played by Chicago Rules

8/20/08

E

Friends of Barack

6/11/08

E

GOP Starts Recycling Primary Clips Attacking Obama

6/7/08

N

Obama Heads to Election With Some Weaknesses

6/5/08

N

Rezko Convicted of Wire Fraud, Money Laundering

6/5/08

N

Our Collectivist Candidates

5/28/08

E

For Obama, Advice Straight Up

5/12/08

N

From Their House to the White House

5/9/08

N


The Washington Post
(26)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

In Ads, GOP Stresses Obama's Ties to Chicago Developer

10/23/08

N

Just in Case McCain Wins

10/19/08

E

McCain Attack Ads Called Inevitable -- And Ineffective

10/14/08

N

To Some Readers, Bias on Display

10/12/08

E

McCain Mum on Former Pastor

10/11/08

N

Obama & Friends: Judge Not?

10/10/08

E

Candidates Prepare for Tuesday's Town Hall Debate

10/6/08

N

Obama Attack Gets Asterisk on Accuracy

10/6/08

N

McCain Plans Fiercer Strategy Against Obama

10/4/08

N

Hail Mary vs. Cool Barry

10/3/08

E

Obama's Judgment Questioned

10/3/08

N

Hitting Hard on Debatable Points

9/23/08

N

McCain Strategist Blasts Media

9/3/08

N

Romney Leads a Denver Counteroffensive

8/27/08

N

Obama Calls His Pick, Biden, Both a Statesman and Fighter

8/24/08

N

Extreme Campaign Makeover

8/23/08

E

Obama's Judgment Is Questioned

8/22/08

N

Houses Add Up to A Snag for McCain

8/22/08

N

Can McCain Use Advice Clinton Got on Obama?

8/13/08

N

In Obama's Circle, Chicago Remains The Tie That Binds

7/14/08

N

Obama Got Discount on Home Loan

7/2/08

N

Former Obama Fundraiser Convicted of Corruption

6/5/08

N

For Clinton, A Following Of 'Marshans'

6/4/08

N

Obama as You've Never Known Him!

5/23/08

N

Rezko's Defense Rests Without Calling Witness

5/6/08

N

Obama's 'Distractions'?

4/25/08

E

ABC evening news broadcasts (3)

Show

Date

World News Sunday

8/24/08

World News with Charles Gibson

8/21/08

World News with Charles Gibson

6/4/08

CBS evening news broadcast (1)

Show

Date

CBS Evening News with Katie Couric

6/4/08

NBC evening news broadcast (1)

Show

Date

Nightly News with Brian Williams

6/4/08


Land deals coverage

From April 22 to November 4, seven news, editorials, or opinion pieces mentioned that McCain reportedly facilitated land deals that benefited wealthy developers who were major McCain donors:

Los Angeles Times (1)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

McCain land deal benefits donor

5/9/08

N


The New York Times
(2)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

The Trouble With Not Being Earnest

4/25/08

E

A Developer, His Deals and His Ties to McCain

4/22/08

N


USA Today
(1)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Price of power: McCain action helped Arizona land developer

5/15/08

N


The Wall Street Journal
: No coverage.


The Washington Post
(3)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Top McCain Adviser Has Found Success Mixing Money, Politics

6/26/08

N

John McCain's Rapid-Fire Responders

5/20/08

N

McCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer

5/9/08

N

ABC evening news broadcast: No coverage.

NBC evening news broadcast: No coverage.

CBS evening news broadcast: No coverage


Ayers coverage

From January 1 to November 4, 311 combined network evening news broadcasts and news, editorials, or opinion pieces mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers:

Los Angeles Times (59)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Negative campaigning -- what's new?

11/4/08

E

McCain, Palin demand L.A. Times release Obama video

10/30/08

N

Social conservatives fight for control of Republican Party

10/28/08

N

Patriotism and the presidency

10/26/08

E

One smear that didn't work

10/25/08

E

A GOP "robocall"

10/23/08

E

Swing voters are bothered by McCain's temperament and his party

10/21/08

N

Barack Obama turns rivals' words on them in Florida

10/21/08

N

"Fox & Friends" anchors are having fun

10/21/08

N

Barack Obama has advantages of big bucks, a big name: Colin Powell

10/20/08

N

Palin doesn't doubt Obama loves America -- but Michele Bachmann does

10/19/08

N

Is McCain "race-baiting"?

10/19/08

E

Obama, McCain solidify campaign themes in fights for crucial states

10/18/08

N

GOP Sen. Susan Collins decries anti-Obama robocalls

10/18/08

N

McCain campaign's robocalls seek to link Obama, Ayers

10/17/08

N

McCain appears on Letterman show, hat in hand

10/17/08

N

Obama, McCain repeat themes from debate

10/17/08

N

From Ayers to abortion: fact-checking the debate

10/16/08

N

McCain's debatable strategy

10/16/08

E

Undecided Latino voters may be key in New Mexico

10/16/08

N

McCain deals no lethal blows in final debate with Obama

10/16/08

N

McCain, Obama duel in caustic debate finale

10/16/08

N

5 voters identify high, low points

10/16/08

N

Attack ad seeks to link Obama to his former pastor

10/15/08

N

McCain calls for "voter fraud" inquiry

10/15/08

N

Another day, another strategy for John McCain

10/14/08

N

Fire and ice in American culture

10/14/08

N

Former federal prosecutor decries William Ayers link

10/13/08

N

These days, even "The View" is getting political

10/13/08

E

John McCain and Sarah Palin try new tactics

10/12/08

N

Obama rides a wave of bad economic news

10/12/08

N

McCain calms supporters, urges respect for Obama

10/11/08

N

McCain, Obama seek to seed doubts

10/10/08

N

Fox News' faux documentary sets new low

10/10/08

E

McCain campaign ratchets up the rhetoric

10/9/08

N

McCain, Obama and a "friendly" town hall

10/8/08

E

McCain, Obama clash over economy in a testy debate

10/8/08

N

In debate, McCain and Obama battle mostly to a draw

10/8/08

N

McCain, Obama introduce newly sharp tone amid major news events

10/7/08

N

Obama's Ayers connection

10/7/08

E

Barack Obama accuses Republicans of distracting voters from the economy

10/6/08

N

Sarah Palin claims Barack Obama would "pal around with terrorists"

10/5/08

N

Barack Obama raises the funding roof

9/15/08

N

Some Obama links will mislead

8/30/08

N

Barack Obama: Search for identity

8/28/08

N

Biden's jokes about his wife Jill? OK with Pelosi

8/24/08

N

Billionaire behind Swift Boat ads funded anti-Obama spot

8/23/08

N

Ad attacks Obama's ties to leftist leader

8/22/08

N

The Obama-McCain age gap that matters

6/1/08

E

Obama pounds away at McCain

5/19/08

N

Steeling Obama

5/15/08

E

GOP makes a target of Obama

4/25/08

N

Ex-radical William Ayers keeps low profile

4/24/08

N

What to look for in Pennsylvania

4/22/08

N

Heating up in Pennsylvania

4/21/08

N

Moderators' 'gotcha' tone inspires angry new debate

4/18/08

N

Obama and the former radicals

4/18/08

N

The influence test

4/18/08

E

Debate dwells on Obama's past

4/17/08

N


The New York Times
(76)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

He Gave Voice to Many, Among Them Himself

11/2/08

E

Call to Ease Property Taxes Resounds in 35th District

10/31/08

N

Obama Is Up, And Fans Fear That Jinxes It

10/31/08

N

Political Storm Finds A Columbia Professor

10/30/08

N

Coverage Of Election Now Lacks Suspense

10/27/08

N

A Choice and an Echo

10/27/08

E

Pennsylvania Republican Apologizes for Anti-Obama E-mail

10/27/08

N

Democrats in Steel Country See Color, and Beyond It

10/26/08

N

Ex-Radical Talks of Education and Justice, Not Obama

10/26/08

N

In Westchester, Economy is No. 1 Concern, but Agreement Stops There

10/24/08

N

Economy Is No. 1 Concern, but Agreement Stops There

10/24/08

N

G.O.P. Denies Involvement in Fox-Quoting 'Robotext'

10/23/08

N

In Political Coverage, Nothing Succeeds Like Success

10/23/08

N

A Twist on Automated Calls

10/23/08

N

A Onetime McCain Insider Is Now Offering Advice (Unwanted) From the Outside

10/22/08

N

Confessions of a Phone Solicitor

10/22/08

E

Donation Record as Colin Powell Endorses Obama

10/19/08

N

Republicans Rain Negative Automated Calls on Voters in Swing States

10/17/08

N

Polls Cause Campaigns to Change Their Itineraries

10/16/08

N

Thinking About Obama

10/16/08

E

McCain Attacks, but Obama Stays Steady

10/16/08

N

Three Guys and a Table

10/16/08

E

Rivals Split, With Joe in the Middle

10/16/08

N

The Final Debate

10/15/08

E

Candidates Clash Over Character and Policy

10/15/08

N

In Debating McCain, Obama's Real Opponent Was Voter Doubt

10/14/08

N

Poll Says McCain Is Hurting His Bid By Using Attacks

10/14/08

N

G.O.P. Opens Wallet for Ads

10/14/08

N

A Rally Cry Echoes Online

10/13/08

N

Tempering Attacks, McCain Says He's a Leader for Troubled Times

10/13/08

N

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

10/13/08

N

Race Remains Campaign Issue, but Not a Clear One

10/12/08

N

History Suggests McCain Faces an Uphill Battle

10/12/08

N

McCain Campaign Sustains the Focus on Obama's Links to a 1960s Radical

10/12/08

N

The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama

10/11/08

E

Concern in G.O.P. After Rough Week for McCain

10/11/08

N

Attacking Obama's Associations

10/10/08

N

Dear Old Golden Dog Days

10/10/08

E

For Karl Rove, a Busy New Career and a 'Rovian' Legacy

10/10/08

N

McCain Draws Line on Attacks as Crowds Cry 'Fight Back'

10/10/08

N

McCain Joins Attacks On Obama Over Radical

10/9/08

N

Clearing the Ayers

10/8/08

E

McCain Excites Crowds With Criticism of Obama

10/8/08

N

Downturn in Decibels, Too

10/8/08

N

Politics of Attack

10/7/08

E

Mud Pies For 'That One'

10/7/08

E

Palin Plays to Conservative Base in Florida Rallies

10/7/08

N

Economic Woes Set Tone for Rivals in 2nd Debate

10/7/08

N

Obama's Personal Ties Are Subject of Program on Fox News Channel

10/6/08

N

Campaigns Shift to Attack Mode on Eve of Debate

10/6/08

N

Seeking to Shift Attention to Judicial Nominees

10/6/08

N

Is Era of Dominance Over for Conservatives?

10/5/08

N

The Wright Stuff

10/5/08

E

Palin, on Offensive, Attacks Obama's Ties to '60s Radical

10/4/08

N

Obama and '60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths

10/3/08

N

Pinpoint Attacks Focus on Obama

9/23/08

N

Obama Carries Uneven Record as Debater to First Contest With McCain

9/22/08

N

Interest Groups Step Up Efforts in a Tight Race

9/15/08

N

On the Web, a Nonpartisan Look at Those Partisan Campaign Ads

9/11/08

N

Obama Looks to Lessons From Chicago in His National Education Plan

9/9/08

N

Obama Steps Into O'Reilly's 'No Spin Zone'

9/5/08

N

Obama Campaign Wages Fight Against Conservative Group's Ads

8/27/08

N

A Billionaire Finances Ads Hitting Obama

8/22/08

N

Group Plans Ad Criticizing Obama's Ties To Ex-Radical

8/21/08

N

Late-Period Limbaugh

7/6/08

N

Pragmatic Politics, Forged on the South Side

5/11/08

N

Republicans Focus on Obama as Fall Opponent

5/8/08

N

A Backlash?

5/3/08

E

McCain Criticizes Clergyman's Remarks

4/28/08

N

How McCain lost in Pennsylvania

4/27/08

E

Brush it Off

4/20/08

E

Clinton Impugns Obama's Toughness

4/19/08

N

'60s Radicals Become Issue in Campaign of 2008

4/17/08

N

Former Friends Weigh Into Debate, and the Former Amity Drains Out

4/17/08

N

Clinton Uses Sharp Attacks in Tense Debate

4/17/08

N

Battle of the Baggage

4/17/08

E


USA Today
(18)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Battle of the 'robo-calls' rages

10/23/08

N

Voters approve this message: Do not 'robo-call'

10/23/08

E

Deceptions, distortions mar final clash

10/17/08

E

All is forgiven: Letterman, McCain are pals again

10/16/08

N

In final debate, McCain takes the fight to Obama

10/16/08

E

McCain more cutting; Obama low-key

10/15/08

N

Debate tackles domestic policy

10/15/08

N

McCain reboots, takes fight to new level

10/13/08

N

Put the brakes on incivility, rev up attention to economy

10/13/08

E

Obama to go prime time as poll says debate boosts appeal

10/9/08

N

McCain, Obama spar over economy in debate

10/7/08

N

Sharp tone, no gaffes in town hall debate

10/7/08

N

McCain ready for debate battle

10/6/08

N

McCain's course for victory

10/7/08

E

Candidates pursue trivia while economy burns

10/7/08

E

Obama's tie to '60s radical fuels attacks

10/6/08

N

Groups play up Obama link to '60s radical

8/26/08

N

Damage control, take 2

4/30/08

E


The Wall Street Journal
(40)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Are Obama's Friends Fair Game?

11/3/08

E

Leap of Hope

11/3/08

E

Obama Leads in Home Stretch

11/3/08

N

Campaigns are Where the Real "Change" Will Take Place

11/3/08

E

Why Obama Is Competitive in Indiana

11/1/08

E

The Chicago Boys

10/31/08

E

McCain Tries to Shift to Security

10/30/08

N

Vote for the Party, Not the Person

10/27/08

E

When Academic Freedom Lost its Meaning

10/24/08

E

The Tax Argument Still Works

10/23/08

E

Obama Opens Double-Digit Lead

10/22/08

N

Palin's Failin'

10/17/08

E

Hillary Made Obama a Better Candidate

10/17/08

E

Obama, McCain Trade Jabs Over Taxes, Tone of Campaign

10/16/08

N

Ready, Aim, Backfire: Nasty Political Ads Fall Flat

10/16/08

N

Ayers Is No Education 'Reformer'

10/16/08

E

My Friend Bill Ayers

10/15/08

E

Hopes Quickly Fade For a Postpartisan Era

10/14/08

E

Wall Street Donors Resent Being Blamed by McCain

10/14/08

N

Obama and Acorn

10/14/08

E

John Lewis's Race Grenade

10/14/08

E

In Virginia, McCain Struggles to Hold the South for GOP

10/13/08

N

McCain Campaign Is at Odds Over Negative Attacks' Scope

10/10/08

N

News Flash: The Media Back Obama

10/9/08

E

McCain Still Targets Pennsylvania, Ohio

10/8/08

N

Group's Ad Blames Crisis on Democrats

10/8/08

N

McCain, Palin Intensify Swipes Against Obama

10/7/08

N

A McCain Comeback May Rely On Feeling the Nation's Anger

10/7/08

E

Politics, Still Local

9/30/08

E

Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism On Schools

9/23/08

E

Obama Is Stoking Racial Antagonism

9/19/08

E

Obama Should Come Clean on Ayers, Rezko and the Iraqi Billionaire

8/30/08

E

Legal Controversy Erupts Over TV Ads Linking Obama to '60s Radical

8/29/08

N

Ex-Friends of Barack

6/12/08

E

Why Hillary Goes Nuclear

5/29/08

E

The Clinton Divorce

5/9/08

E

Obama's Other Radical Friends

5/2/08

E

Democratic Fight Has Its Upsides

4/23/08

E

Woods Fund Could Become Obama's 'Swift Boat'

4/18/08

N

Democrats Meet in Feisty Debate

4/17/08

N


The Washington Post
(93)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Hard-Fought Battle in Hard-Hit Ohio

11/3/08

N

Last of the Culture Warriors

11/3/08

E

Obama's Talk Show Advantage Is No Idle Chatter

11/3/08

N

Dancemaker Doesn't Sweat A Hot Topic

11/2/08

N

God, Country, and McCain

10/31/08

N

In Washington, Halloween Costumes Unmask Our Inner Political Goblins

10/31/08

N

An 'Idiot Wind'

10/31/08

E

McCain Again Points to Obama's Associates

10/30/08

N

Clues in the Mist

10/29/08

E

N.H. Senate Race Illustrates The Dismal Climate for GOP

10/28/08

N

Poll Gives Obama 8-Point Va. Lead

10/27/08

N

Worlds Apart: The Great Hannity-Olbermann Divide

10/27/08

N

Mailed Ads Have Become Mostly Negative, Experts Say

10/26/08

N

McCain for President

10/24/08

E

Civil War On the Right

10/24/08

E

Candidates Keep Up Attacks in Key States

10/22/08

N

The Irony of Obama

10/22/08

E

O'Reilly: You'll Still Have Me to Kick Around

10/22/08

N

Brown's CNN Role: A Matter Of Opinion

10/21/08

N

The Power of Powell's Rebuke

10/21/08

E

Party Like It's 1964

10/21/08

E

Rabbi Pushes McCain to 'Hammer' Obama on Wright

10/20/08

N

Obama Endorsed By Colin Powell

10/20/08

N

Economic Downturn Sidelines Donors to '527' Groups

10/19/08

N

'60s Radical Ayers Among Subjects of McCain 'Robo-Calls'

10/18/08

N

A Rage No One Should Be Stoking

10/18/08

E

Last Debate Is Not a Winner, In the Ratings

10/17/08

E

McCain's Bare Cupboard

10/17/08

E

Who's Playing the Race Card?

10/17/08

E

McCain Forced to Fight for Virginia

10/17/08

N

The Last Debate

10/16/08

E

A Hard-Hitting Final Round

10/16/08

N

Uncommon Ground

10/16/08

N

Both Campaigns Distorting Facts on Money Matters

10/16/08

N

Candidates Make A Name for This Guy Joe

10/16/08

E

At Height of Election Season, a Full Haul of Blog Items

10/16/08

N

What Joe the Plumber Can't Fix

10/16/08

E

Aggressive Underdog vs. Cool Counterpuncher

10/16/08

N

Joe Again? Say It Ain't So.

10/16/08

N

Ambushed By History

10/15/08

E

Remark About Bin Laden, Obama a Joke, Official Says

10/15/08

N

Gods That Failed

10/15/08

E

Obama Responds With New Ads

10/15/08

N

McCain and the Raging Right

10/15/08

E

From Ayers to Osama?

10/14/08

E

A Few Debate Questions

10/14/08

E

Closing a Deal in Pa.

10/14/08

E

McCain Attack Ads Called Inevitable -- And Ineffective

10/14/08

N

GOP Head Compares Obama to Bin Laden

10/13/08

N

McCain and Palin Are Playing With Fire

10/12/08

E

Issue of Race Creeps Into Campaign

10/12/08

N

To Some Readers, Bias on Display

10/12/08

E

McCain Mum on Former Pastor

10/11/08

N

McCain Moves to Soften the Tone at Rallies, if Not in Ads

10/11/08

N

Candidates Spar Over McCain Plan for Loans

10/10/08

N

Obama & Friends: Judge Not?

10/10/08

E

Anger Is Crowd's Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally

10/10/08

N

RNC Ads to Link Obama to Radical

10/10/08

N

Battling Through Battleground States

10/9/08

N

McCain in a Bear Market

10/9/08

E

Running From Reality

10/9/08

E

Who Is John McCain?

10/8/08

E

Economic Crisis Dominates Debate

10/8/08

N

Open Season on Small Game

10/8/08

N

Both Candidates Misleading TV Viewers With Attacks

10/8/08

N

As Palin Brings Up Ayers, Obama Team Cites Keating

10/7/08

N

Dangerous Territory

10/7/08

E

Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame

10/7/08

N

Candidates Prepare for Tuesday's Town Hall Debate

10/6/08

N

A Pal Around McCain

10/6/08

E

Obama Attack Gets Asterisk on Accuracy

10/6/08

N

Palin Seizes On Obama's Ayers Ties

10/5/08

N

Hail Mary vs. Cool Barry

10/3/08

E

Obama's Judgment Questioned

10/3/08

N

Group With Swift Boat Alumni Readies Ads Attacking Obama

9/14/08

N

Obama Met With Fox News Executives

9/3/08

N

The Perfect Stranger

8/29/08

E

Obama's Response Ad Reflects Lessons of 2004

8/27/08

N

Romney Leads a Denver Counteroffensive

8/27/08

N

'She Could Accept Losing. She Could Not Accept Quitting.'

6/5/08

N

Obama as You've Never Known Him!

5/23/08

N

Candidates Vie to Be The Anti-Lobbyist

5/20/08

N

Clinton Quiet About Own Radical Ties

5/19/08

N

Obama Has the Upper Hand. But McCain Can Still Take Him

5/18/08

E

The Race's Real Winner

5/11/08

E

Too Late to the Duck Hunt

5/9/08

E

Obama's 'Distractions'?

4/25/08

E

McCain Questions Obama Remark Comparing '60s Radical, Lawmaker

4/21/08

N

Obama Looks To Turn Debate Into a Victory

4/18/08

N

Performance By ABC's Moderators Is a Matter Of Debate

4/18/08

N

Former '60s Radical Is Now Considered Mainstream in Chicago

4/18/08

N

Obama Pressed in Pa. Debate

4/17/08

N

'Soft' Press Sharpens Its Focus on Obama

3/3/08

N

ABC evening news broadcast (9)

Show

Date

World News Sunday

10/19/08

World News with Charles Gibson

10/16/08

World News with Charles Gibson

10/15/08

World News with Charles Gibson

10/10/08

World News with Charles Gibson

10/9/08

World News with Charles Gibson

10/8/08

World News with Charles Gibson

10/6/08

World News Sunday

10/5/08

World News Sunday

4/20/08

NBC evening news broadcast (8)

Show

Date

Nightly News

10/23/08

Nightly News

10/19/08

Nightly News

10/17/08

Nightly News

10/12/08

Nightly News

10/9/08

Nightly News

10/8/08

Nightly News

10/5/08

Nightly News

4/17/08

CBS evening news broadcast (8)

Show

Date

CBS Evening News

10/22/08

CBS Evening News

10/20/08

CBS Evening News

10/16/08

CBS Evening News

10/15/08

CBS Evening News

10/10/08

CBS Evening News

10/9/08

CBS Evening News

10/7/08

CBS Evening News

10/6/08


Liddy coverage

From January 1 to November 4, seven news, editorials or opinion pieces mentioned McCain's ties to Liddy, but six of those reports were on McCain's October 16 interview with Letterman. None of the network evening news broadcasts mentioned McCain's association with Liddy.


Los Angeles Times (2)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

A tight race for media celebs

11/3/08

N

McCain appears on Letterman show, hat in hand

10/17/08

N


The New York Times (1)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

The Hot Seat; McCain Faces Letterman

10/17/08

N


USA Today (1)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

All is forgiven: Letterman, McCain are pals again

10/16/08

N


The Washington Post (3)

Headline

Date

News or Editorial/Op.

Obama's Talk Show Advantage Is No Idle Chatter

11/3/08

N

Last Debate Is Not a Winner, In the Ratings

10/17/08

N

A Few Debate Questions

10/14/08

E


The Wall Street Journal: No coverage

ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news broadcasts: No coverage

Additionally, a February 8 Washington Post column by Dana Milbank and an August 13 New York Times article both mentioned Liddy and McCain but did not report or note any ties between the two.

NEXIS SEARCH TERMS: Media Matters searched the Nexis database for The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, ABC, CBS, and NBC using the following terms: Obama and Rezko; McCain and ((land swap) or (Don! pre/2 Diamond) or (Ste! pre/2 Betts) or (Suncor) or (Pinnacle West) or (Del Webb) or (Fort Ord) or (Yavapai) or (Fred! pre/2 ruskin) or (Great American Life Insurance) or (Carl pre/2 Lindner) or (Luke Air Force Base) or (spur cross ranch)); Obama and Ayers; McCain and Liddy.

FACTIVA SEARCH TERMS: Media Matters searched the Factiva database for The Wall Street Journal using the following terms: Obama and Rezko; McCain and ((land swap) or (Don* near2 Diamond) or (Ste* near2 Betts) or (Suncor) or (Pinnacle West) or (Del Webb) or (Fort Ord) or (Yavapai) or (Fred* near2 Ruskin) or (Great American Life Insurance) or (Carl near2 Lindner) or (Luke Air Force Base) or (spur cross ranch)); Obama and Ayers; McCain and Liddy.

Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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