During separate interviews on NBC's Nightly News and Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama was a community organizer when Gov. Sarah Palin was in elected office. Neither NBC's Brian Williams nor Fox's Chris Wallace noted that McCain's claim is false. In fact, Palin was an undergraduate at the University of Idaho when Obama was a community organizer.
On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."
Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace did not challenge Gov. Tim Pawlenty's false assertion that Sen. Barack Obama "is somebody who has first said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard isn't a terrorist group, and now he's changed his views on that and several other foreign policy issues." In fact, Obama has consistently supported designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, having co-sponsored a bill in 2007 to do so.
Despite the availability of expenditure reports showing that Sen. John McCain's campaign used a corporate jet owned by his wife's company over a seven-month period beginning in the summer of 2007, several members of the media asserted earlier this year that McCain flew coach when the campaign was low on funds.
Sen. John McCain said at a New Hampshire town hall meeting that the U.S. may have a presence in Iraq for "[m]aybe a hundred [years]. We've been in South Korea; we've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so." But McCain said in an interview four months earlier on Charlie Rose that a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq, modeled after its presence in South Korea, would not work "because of the nature of the society in Iraq." When Sen. John Kerry pointed out this inconsistency on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace did not acknowledge it, instead saying that he thought Kerry was "conflating two different interviews."
Responding to Sen. John Kerry's assertion that "[n]obody ever would insinuate that John McCain is anything but a hero for his activities in -- in -- ," Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace interrupted him and stated: "Well, [Democratic National Committee chairman] Howard Dean called him a blatant opportunist," falsely suggesting that Dean accused McCain of being a "blatant opportunist" because McCain has discussed his military experience.
Discussing Howard Dean's assertion that Sen. John McCain is a "blatant opportunist," on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace stated, "I think you can call John McCain a lot of things. Opportunist?" Bill Kristol responded that polls on the Iraq war show "that most people would like to be told, 'Hey, we can get out of there soon, no problem, no damage,' " and added: "I think the opportunist line is just ludicrous." The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman asserted: "McCain actually revels in saying the thing that you don't want to hear. And he says it first." No member of the Fox News Sunday panel mentioned that McCain has reversed his positions on issues such as taxes, immigration, and his view of the religious right to align himself more closely with the base of his party.
On Fox News Sunday, when Bill Kristol was asked whether "it's fair" to compare "[Sen. John] McCain's, quote, 'ministers,' " John Hagee and Rod Parsley, "to [Sen. Barack] Obama's pastor," Kristol replied: "No, because these are just individuals who've endorsed Senator McCain." However, McCain stated in a joint appearance with Hagee that he was "very proud to have Pastor Hagee's support" and reportedly called Parsley a "spiritual guide."
On Fox News Sunday, in discussing Sen. Barack Obama's statement that money being spent on the war in Iraq "is money that we could be spending here in the United States, rebuilding our infrastructure, building schools, sending kids to university," Karl Rove quoted a "Democrat" he said he had spoken to in Los Angeles as saying, "I'm worried about that, because does that mean he's going to be looking at our support, for example, for the state of Israel and looking at it in terms of what could we be doing at home with those dollars?" However, Obama has consistently supported aid to Israel.
On Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove asserted of Sen. Barack Obama facing questions about the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan: "Now, having ties to Louis Farrakhan and his anti-Semitic comments, that's -- that's -- you know, people have a reason -- that's a reasonable question: Do you agree with him? Do you renounce him? Do you reject him?" In fact, Obama has denied that his campaign has "ties to" Farrakhan and has answered the questions posed by Rove, having repeatedly denounced Farrakhan's anti-Semitic statements.
Introducing an interview with Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, Chris Wallace asserted: "A law which gives President Bush powers to monitor communications among terrorism suspects expired at midnight." In fact, the expired PAA revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, did not simply give Bush "powers to monitor communications among terrorism suspects," but rather, among other things, the revisions expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant. Further, Wallace never mentioned that the government had the authority to listen in on the communications of suspected terrorists before Congress passed the PAA in August 2007 or that this authority continues despite the PAA's expiration.
During a Fox News Sunday interview with President Bush, Chris Wallace left unchallenged Bush's statement regarding Sen. Barack Obama: "I certainly don't know what he believes in. The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was he's going to attack Pakistan and embrace [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad." But Bush and his administration have made contradictory statements on the question of dealing with Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, the specific issue that Bush purported to know where Obama stands. Wallace also did not note Bush misrepresented Obama's statements regarding Pakistan and engaging in dialogue with Ahmadinejad.
While discussing the war in Iraq with Sen. Hillary Clinton on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace echoed Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain by asking Clinton, "[W]hy are you so determined to declare defeat?" McCain has repeatedly referred to Clinton's and other Democrats' proposals on Iraq as "surrender."
Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, and Chris Wallace each discussed a Politico article that reported: "As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan." But, at no point during these segments did any of the hosts or guests note that Giuliani was having an extramarital affair with Nathan - whom they described merely as his girlfriend -- and that, because of the affair, New York City taxpayers were reportedly paying for both her protection and that of Giuliani's estranged wife.