Chicago Tribune religion writer Manya Brachear wrote that Barack Obama, in responding to "repeated and false claims" that he is a "closet Muslim," has "reiterate[d] that he is a committed Christian. But he stops short of saying that being Muslim wouldn't be a bad thing. In addition to setting the record straight about his own faith, should Obama also give a shout-out to his Muslim brothers and sisters and defend Islam?" But the previous day, during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Obama had said, "I think that those who are of the Muslim faith are deserving of respect and dignity."
On The Situation Room, Dana Bash said that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is resigning, "presided over a politically polarizing era. He said that was his biggest regret." A November 16 Chicago Tribune article also reported that Hastert "bemoaned the 'pool of bitterness' he believes exists in the nation's capital and urged his colleagues to try and work together in civility after he is gone." But neither Bash nor the Tribune noted Hastert's own history of partisan attacks.
Several media outlets have reported on the latest ad released by Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign attacking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton over her support for an earmark funding a Woodstock Festival museum, but these outlets have not noted that McCain skipped the vote on removing the earmark.
A Chicago Tribune article cited Barack Obama's statement, "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?" in an appearance at an Iowa farm as evidence that Obama has had more success among "wine-track" voters than among "beer-track" voters -- though arugula is grown by Iowa farmers and is available at grocery stores throughout the state. The article also noted "white zinfandel with an Obama logo on the bottle" available at one rally as purported evidence of Obama's "wine-track" affinity, though it could have just as easily highlighted "beer-track" anecdotes, including an event where Obama's face was on the label of beer bottles.
Columnist Jim Mateja wrote that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "has more homework to do" and "should [hire] a fact-checker" because Obama stated that "Japanese cars [are] now getting an average of 45 miles to the gallon." In fact, a report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change stated that the 2002 average fleet fuel economy value in Japan was 46.3 miles per gallon.
Numerous media outlets reported -- as President Bush claimed in an interview on National Public Radio -- that Iraqi troops took the lead in the battle near Najaf against religious militia the Soldiers of Heaven, without noting that the Iraqis were reportedly "overwhelmed" until U.S. forces joined them.
Following the midterm elections, prominent Republicans and conservative media figures, as well as The Washington Post, dismissed suggestions that the results represented a referendum on Iraq by noting that Connecticut voters re-elected Sen. Joe Lieberman, despite his support for the war. But these attempts to cast Lieberman's victory as a counter to claims that the outcome of the elections was a repudiation of Bush's Iraq policy overlook Lieberman's efforts in the weeks leading up to the election to portray himself as a critic of the war.