In reports on the vice presidential debate, CBSNews.com, MSNBC.com, and FactCheck.org all falsely claimed that Sen. Joe Biden's statement that Sen. John McCain "voted against funding the troops" in a 2007 appropriations bill was wrong. In fact, while McCain did not vote on a later version of the appropriations bill, he voted against the measure on March 29, 2007, and said at the time that he was opposing it, in part, because it "would establish a timeline" for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
A CBSNews.com article asserted that "[Gov. Sarah] Palin's readiness to be president ... has been widely questioned by Democrats and many in the media." The article failed to note, however, that many of those "questioning" Palin's readiness are conservatives. In fact, CBS Early Show correspondent Jeff Glor noted, "even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who said Palin is 'clearly out of our league' and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race."
On the CBS Evening News, Bob Orr repeated Republican claims that "[c]onservative support" for the financial bailout bill "evaporated" because of a speech given by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- without noting contrary statements by members of Congress, including Republicans.
On CBS' Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer asserted that Sen. John McCain "suspended his campaign" to deal with the Wall Street crisis, ignoring evidence that after McCain announced he was going to suspend his campaign, his ads continued to run; his advisers repeatedly attacked Sen. Barack Obama on cable news networks; and he gave interviews with the three broadcast networks the following day.
On the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric uncritically reported that Sen. John McCain "suspend[ed] his campaign so he could be part of the negotiations" on economic recovery legislation. In fact, McCain campaign surrogates continued to appear on cable news networks throughout the day, the campaign's ads also aired, and The Huffington Post reported that it "called up 15 McCain-Palin and McCain Victory Committee headquarters in various battleground states. Not one said that it was temporarily halting operations because of the supposed 'suspension' in the campaign."
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that during interviews conducted by 60 Minutes, Sen. John McCain was asked about the financial crisis on Wall Street while Sen. Barack Obama was not. In fact, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft asked Obama several questions about the financial crisis, including, "What caused it? Who's to blame?" and "Do you think that Secretary of the Treasury [Henry] Paulson has done the right thing?"
During interviews with Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft characterized Obama's economic agenda as "ambitious and expensive," citing the costs of Obama's infrastructure, alternative energy, and health care plans, but there was no similar characterization of McCain's tax agenda by correspondent Scott Pelley, who interviewed McCain, even though, according to the Tax Policy Center, McCain's tax plan would likely add $1.5 trillion more to the federal deficit over 10 years than Obama's tax plan.
On the CBS Evening News, Chip Reid uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain claiming that the "crisis on Wall Street, my friends, started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence-peddling, and [Sen. Barack Obama] was right square in the middle of it." However, Reid did not mention McCain's own ties to the "Washington culture of lobbying." According to a Mother Jones report, "at least 83" McCain aides, policy advisers, or fundraisers "have in recent years lobbied for the financial industry McCain now attacks."
The CBS Evening News devoted five minutes, in two segments, to the back-and-forth between the campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama over Obama's September 9 "lipstick" remark and other McCain attacks before CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante reported of the "lipstick" comments: "The facts: Obama had not mentioned Palin. He was focused on the central argument of his campaign -- that McCain's policies would be no different than President Bush's."
In an RNC speech, former Sen. Fred Thompson said of Sen. John McCain, "[B]eing a POW doesn't qualify anyone to be president. But it does reveal character." Similarly, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, in a July appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, told host Bob Schieffer that McCain was "a hero," and that "I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war," but that "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." But while Schieffer suggested in July that Clark "denigrate[d]" and "attack[ed]" McCain's "military service," he did not ask McCain about Thompson's remarks during a September 7 interview on Face the Nation.
On CBS' The Early Show, Maggie Rodriguez did not challenge McCain campaign adviser Steve Schmidt's claim that "Senator [Barack] Obama has a plan to raise" taxes, even though McCain's own chief economic adviser has reportedly said it is inaccurate to say "Barack Obama raises taxes." Rodriguez did not point out that, in fact, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families and raising them only on households earning more than $250,000 per year.
Neither ABC nor CBS aired analysis from Democrats, Democratic strategists, or progressive media figures during their live coverage of the second day of the Republican National Convention. By contrast, both aired analysis from Republicans and conservatives, as well as from Democrats and progressives, during coverage of the second day of the Democratic National Convention.
CBS' Nancy Cordes reported: "Today, the McCain campaign released her voter registration records to prove Palin is a lifelong Republican with no connection to the [Alaskan] Independence Party." But Cordes did not note that Palin addressed the AIP's 2008 state convention in a video message in which she said the group "plays an important role in our state's politics," that she reportedly addressed the party's convention with a video message in 2006, that the McCain campaign has acknowledged that Palin "visited" the AIP's 2000 convention, or that her husband reportedly was a registered member of the party.
Several media figures have echoed the sexist notion that Sen. Joe Biden will have to soften his tone and manner in a debate against Gov. Sarah Palin, in contrast with the tougher tone he could take if the Republican vice-presidential nominee were male.
On the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer asserted that Gov. Sarah Palin is "[s]omeone, you know, who is against earmarks, who is against that bridge to nowhere." But Palin's administration has said it requested federal earmarks in 2008, and she reportedly initially supported the so-called "bridge to nowhere" project.