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."
Ignoring conflicting statements by John McCain on gay and lesbian issues, The Hotline's Chuck Todd asserted that on the issue of same-sex marriage, McCain is "being true to what he is and what he thought conservatism was." Todd also likened McCain to Barry Goldwater, suggesting they held similar views on gay rights; in fact, while McCain supported an Arizona effort to ban legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples and supports the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, Goldwater became a strong supporter of gay rights and opposed the ban on gays in the military.