On Fox News, Rush Limbaugh claimed that in a U.N. speech, Iran's President Ahmadinejad was "echoing [Sen.] Barack Obama talking points -- talking about how America is responsible for all the problems of the world, talking about how American defense spending is -- led to the crisis here." Limbaugh provided no evidence that Obama has said anything remotely similar to Ahmadinejad's remarks, which, according to a translation, included references to "Zionist murderers" and to the purported influence of "Zionists" on the "political decision-making centers of some European countries and the U.S."
On September 6, Fox News' America's Election HQ aired numerous reports documenting claims by Republicans and the McCain campaign that they "rescued" American flags that were going to be "disposed of" by the Democrats after their convention at Invesco Field. But during the reports, Fox News gave no indication that it had sought to contact a Democratic Party official or Obama campaign spokesperson for comment, and only reported a Democratic response hours after it began reporting the Republican claims.
On Fox News' America's Election HQ, David Freddoso claimed: "Senator [Barack] Obama says that he is a reformer, an agent of positive change. And looking at his record, though, in Chicago, Springfield, and Washington, I found that he is absolutely -- there's nothing in his record to bear out that claim." However, in Freddoso's recently released book, he specifically credited Obama with two "real accomplishment[s] ... in the name of reform" -- the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, and a 1998 Illinois ethics bill.
On Fox News' America's Election HQ, Ralph Peters falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama has said that the United States "should send ground troops into Pakistan" and "invade the country through which we get our supplies." In fact, Obama did not say he would "invade" Pakistan; rather, he stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."
On America's Election HQ, Eric Shawn did not challenge retired Col. George "Bud" Day's false assertion that "what was said in the Swift Boat campaign by the swift boaters [was] absolutely true." In fact, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth promoted false and baseless smears about Sen. John Kerry's military service during the 2004 presidential campaign.
While discussing his latest syndicated column on Fox News' America's Election HQ, Dick Morris asserted: "[T]he question that plagues [Sen. Barack] Obama is ... Is he pro-American?" Morris has previously stated that "the determinant in the election will be whether we believe that Barack Obama is what he appears to be, or is he somebody who's sort of a sleeper agent who really doesn't believe in our system."
Fox News' Carl Cameron falsely suggested that Sen. John McCain acknowledged weakness on economic issues only once, "[i]n one of those marathon interactions with reporters on the bus," while NBC's Andrea Mitchell baselessly asserted that McCain was "obviously joking" when he admitted his lack of knowledge about the economy. In fact, McCain has made such an acknowledgement on numerous occasions over the course of the campaign, and when confronted with one such remark at a Republican presidential debate, McCain did not respond by asserting that he had been "joking" -- he suggested he hadn't said it.
Fox News' Bill Hemmer aired a portion of an ad from Vets for Freedom in reporting that Sen. John McCain is "getting a bit of help" from the group, which is "launching ads featuring Iraq veterans blasting [Sen.] Barack Obama." However, Hemmer did not note that Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman served on the group's board of advisers or that McCain has previously denounced independent expenditures on his behalf, asserting, "If anyone considering an outside expenditure thinks they are benefiting me I would prefer they do not air the ads."
On Fox News' America's Election HQ, GOP strategist Terry Holt said that Al Gore "claimed to have invented the Internet," and on Fox News' On the Record, Politico reporter Ken Vogel stated: "And they're going to try to show him [Sen. Barack Obama] as a chronicle -- a chronic exaggerator, like they did with Al Gore in 2000, when they seized on his every claim, starting memorably with his claim that he invented the Internet, as some say that he said." In fact, Gore did not claim that he "invented the Internet." Rather, he said: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
NPR's Juan Williams asserted that Sen. John McCain "has fought his own party, the GOP, on immigration." And Fox News' Dick Morris stated that McCain "really has moved to the left of the Republican Party" on "the immigration bill." However, neither Williams nor Morris mentioned that McCain has reversed his position on immigration and now asserts that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective.
On America's Election HQ, Megyn Kelly hosted Sen. Joe Lieberman in a discussion about the apology made by Rev. John Hagee, a supporter of Sen. John McCain, over controversial comments he made concerning the Catholic Church. But Kelly did not challenge Lieberman's suggestion that McCain merely accepted Hagee's endorsement, and Kelly made no mention of McCain's acknowledgment that he actually sought Hagee's endorsement.
On America's Election HQ, Fox News contributor Michael Steele asserted that Sen. John McCain was "against the Bush tax cuts because it didn't address spending." While McCain now says he voted against the Bush tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts, it was not the reason he gave in 2001 on the floor of the Senate. McCain said, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief."
On numerous May 8 programs, Fox News anchors and reporters promoted the notion that Sen. John McCain is reluctant to discuss his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, McCain has repeatedly highlighted that experience.
Beginning on the afternoon of April 23, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN aired a controversial ad by the North Carolina Republican Party attacking Sen. Barack Obama and two Democratic gubernatorial candidates at least 22 times combined, in most cases also noting that Sen. John McCain denounced the ad. As media figures on MSNBC and CNN pointed out, the repeated broadcasts benefit the North Carolina Republican Party, which does not have to pay for them, and they presumably benefit McCain, even as he is credited with taking the high road for criticizing the ad.