On Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer alleged that "[Sen. Barack] Obama's people are trying to denigrate the war hero's military service," referring to Sen. John McCain. Schieffer did not explain which of "Obama's people" he was talking about, but a few days earlier he said that "[retired Gen.] Wesley Clark, who was speaking for Obama, tried to marginalize John McCain's military service" in a June appearance on Face the Nation. In fact, Clark did not "denigrate" McCain's "military service"; rather, he questioned the relevance of McCain's combat experience as a qualification to be president.
Evening news broadcasts on CBS and NBC failed to cover a new report finding that the actions of top aides in the Justice Department who used political considerations in hiring "violated federal law and Department policy, and also constituted misconduct." ABC's World News, meanwhile, devoted less than 30 seconds to the report. Despite the potential implications for U.S. counterterrorism efforts, all three networks ignored the finding that "an experienced career terrorism prosecutor" was denied a counterterrorism assignment while "a much more junior attorney who lacked any experience in counterterrorism issues and who officials believed was not qualified for the position" was hired instead.
CBS' Chip Reid stated, "[Sen. John] McCain says he now supports increased offshore drilling, as do 73 percent of Americans, because, he says, more oil supplies will bring prices down," and went on to claim, "[Sen. Barack] Obama says offshore drilling harms the environment, and looks to the past, not the future." But Reid provided no indication that Obama has directly rebutted the suggestion that "increased offshore oil drilling ... will bring prices down" by pointing to the conclusion of "most experts, even within the Bush Administration," that doing so would not affect gas prices for many years.
Numerous media outlets quoted or aired all or part of a statement Sen. John McCain made criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for giving a "political speech" in Berlin while "a candidate for the office of the presidency," but none noted that McCain himself gave a "political speech" in a foreign country last month, speaking to the Economic Club of Toronto in Ottawa, Canada, on a trip paid for by his presidential campaign.
Reporting on a false assertion by Sen. John McCain during an interview with CBS News, The New York Times' Michael Cooper falsely suggested that CBS News actually aired McCain's false statement. In fact, the falsehood was expunged from the version of the interview aired on the July 22 broadcast of the CBS Evening News and, in its place, CBS spliced together three separate statements made by McCain, one of which responded to a different question from the one resulting in the falsehood.
In a second omission of a falsehood by Sen. John McCain during his interview with Katie Couric, the CBS Evening News did not air a statement in which McCain characterized the war in Iraq as "the first major conflict since 9/11," apparently disregarding the war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001.
Despite media figures from the three broadcast networks asserting that because of the extensive media presence on his trip to the Middle East and Europe, any "mistake," "gaffe," or "misstatement" by Sen. Barack Obama would be amplified and could have vast negative consequences, none of the networks' evening news programs has reported on Sen. John McCain's recent misstatements regarding a nonexistent Iraq-Pakistan border and the timing of the Anbar Awakening.
In a statement reported by The Washington Post on July 24, CBS News now acknowledges that it erred in splicing video of an interview with Sen. John McCain that resulted in the expungement of a false statement made by McCain and the misleading inclusion of an answer McCain gave to a different question. But in the reported statement, CBS News senior VP Paul Friedman maintains, falsely, that the error "did not in any way distort what Senator McCain was saying."
During a CBS Evening News interview, Katie Couric did not challenge Sen. John McCain's suggestion that "five Nobel laureates and 300 economists" agree that his economic plan will allow him to balance the budget, despite an article, excerpted hours before on CBSNews.com, reporting that the statement the economists signed in support of McCain's economic plan said nothing about balancing the budget. The article further quoted one signatory saying, "He's not going to balance the budget. No one's going to balance the budget."
The evening news programs on ABC, NBC, and CBS have yet to cover Sen. John McCain's statement regarding Social Security -- that "Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed" -- even though they have broadcast other remarks McCain made at the same town hall meeting.
On Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer stated that Sen. Barack Obama "seemed to have a slightly different take" on withdrawing troops from Iraq in July 3 remarks, as compared with a speech he made on March 19. But Schieffer omitted Obama's statement in the March 19 speech that he would set Iraq policy in consultation with military commanders.
The CBS Evening News aired a clip of an attack ad against Sen. Barack Obama in which the narrator says, "Obama was enrolled in school as a Muslim while living in Indonesia." Nowhere did the report note that Obama is in fact not a Muslim but, rather, a practicing Christian.
All three network evening newscasts misrepresented retired Gen. Wesley Clark's comments about Sen. John McCain on Face The Nation, with none noting that Clark praised McCain as a "hero" for his Vietnam war service. ABC's David Wright asserted that McCain's experience as a POW made Clark's comments "especially provocative." CBS' Dean Reynolds falsely suggested that Clark had questioned McCain's patriotism and had "critici[zed]" McCain's "service, including five years as a POW." And NBC's Brian Williams falsely suggested that Clark had impugned McCain's "war record."
NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening News have yet to cover Sen. John McCain's campaign loan, despite a February 29 post on the MSNBC.com blog First Read that stated: "We've noticed today the [Sen. John] McCain/FEC stories -- that McCain very well might have to abide by spending limits before the GOP convention -- are starting to roll in. But why is this only now starting to get more traction, compared with all the stories about [Sen. Barack] Obama waffling on his pledge to accept public funds in the general?"
Numerous media outlets have reported all or part of Sen. John McCain's statement rebuking Sen. Barack Obama for his decision to forgo public financing in the general election without mentioning that during the primary, McCain signed a loan that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.