With reports that Sen. John McCain had picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, sexist commentary on cable news followed. On CNN, John Roberts raised the question of whether as vice president, Palin would be able to devote the time necessary to care for her baby with Down syndrome, and on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd suggested that Sen. Joe Biden bears the burden of having to adjust his behavior in a vice-presidential debate because of Palin's sex.
NBC's Chuck Todd responded to video of former President Bill Clinton saying of Sen. Barack Obama, "I think we have two choices. I think he [Obama] should win, and I think he will win," by falsely claiming that Clinton failed to make "a choice between Obama and McCain." In falsely asserting that Clinton had given a "non-endorsement" of Obama, Todd also left out Clinton's statement that he would "absolutely" campaign for Obama.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews said that Sen. Barack Obama should pick as his running mate "[s]omeone who's palpably patriotic, who sort of exudes it." Also, referring to Sen. John McCain's 6-percentage-point advantage over Obama among suburban white women in a recent poll, Matthews asserted, "[W]omen are low-hanging fruit, though, in the terms of politics. You can reach up and say, 'I'm pro-choice, he's not.' "
On MSNBC, Steve Thomma asserted that Sen. John McCain's campaign is "not going to touch" controversial comments by the former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama's church. On Morning Joe, McCain adviser Charlie Black declined to comment on Wright's statements, saying that McCain has said that "these candidates cannot be held accountable for all the views of people who endorse them or people who befriend them." Later on MSNBC, Chuck Todd noted Black's comments. However, the McCain campaign had already circulated to reporters a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Ronald Kessler wrote that "Obama's close association with Mr. Wright ... raises legitimate questions about Mr. Obama's fundamental beliefs about his country," which "deserve a clearer answer than Mr. Obama has provided so far."
On Morning Joe, NBC News' Chuck Todd asserted that "all of this angst on the right has only served to remind moderates that [Sen.] John McCain's a moderate." But McCain does not call himself a moderate, claiming that he is "proud to be a conservative." Moreover, he has changed, and even reversed, his position on several issues, including immigration and taxes, to align himself with the base of the Republican Party.
Reporting on Pat Robertson's endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, MSNBC anchor Peter Alexander asserted, "Giuliani and Robertson: both prostate cancer survivors, both strong supporters of Israel." MSNBC campaign reporter Matthew Berger stated, "They have traveled to Israel together." And NBC News political director Chuck Todd said that "to a lot of evangelicals, the war against Islamic fundamentalism, protecting Israel is actually a bigger issue than some of these other issues." But at no point in discussing Robertson and Israel did an MSNBC news anchor or Todd note Robertson's past controversial comments regarding former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.
Reporting on the announcement that Pat Robertson would endorse Rudy Giuliani for president, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer stated, "A big coup, of course, for Giuliani, who is fighting to win the votes of social conservatives." NBC political director Chuck Todd described Robertson as "the guy that almost invented the social conservative political movement" and asserted: "Robertson is a foreign policy hawk, and on foreign policy he sees eye to eye with Giuliani." But neither Brewer nor Todd noted that Robertson has repeatedly made controversial and inflammatory comments, including calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and endorsing the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's comments that "the abortionists," "the feminists," and the American Civil Liberties Union "helped this [the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks] happen."