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.
On Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove stated, "I'm confident the Republican candidates are going to have enough money to make enough damage out of this record to make gains in the Congress." Host Chris Wallace did not note Rove's incorrect prediction that Republicans would retain control of Congress in the 2006 elections or Rove's incorrect predictions about the 2000 presidential election.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume and Bill Kristol asserted that the recent announcement that scientists have reprogrammed adult stem cells to apparently behave like embryonic stem cells would end the debate over embryonic stem cell research. But none of the panelists mentioned that several scientists, including one of the lead researchers, have said that the reprogramming does not end the need for embryonic stem-cell research.
Echoing previous comments by conservative media figures suggesting that Democrats want the United States to lose the war in Iraq, Fox News' Brit Hume asserted: "The American people don't like the Iraq war, they probably never will. But they're not rooting for us to lose; they don't seem invested in our losing the way the Democrats so often do." Hume offered no evidence that any Democrats are "invested in our losing" or "rooting for us to lose" in Iraq.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace did not challenge Defense Secretary Robert Gates' assertion that troop drawdowns "between December and July " will be due to "successes" in Iraq. In fact, due to strain on the military, the troop reduction would have been necessary regardless of conditions on the ground.
Following President Bush's address to the nation on Iraq, Fox was the only broadcast network not to air the Democratic response. Instead, Shepard Smith gave a short description of the response and stated: "Our coverage continues on the Fox News Channel on cable and satellite with the Democratic response and more. Right now, back to your local Fox programming." ABC, NBC, and CBS all aired the Democratic response.
On KTTV, Fox's Los Angeles affiliate, correspondent John Schwada reported that "there are several new plans to further boost the power of California voters," referring to separate Republican and Democratic ballot initiatives that would change the way the state's electoral votes are awarded. But Schwada did not explain how the Republican initiative to award votes by congressional district would "boost the power of California voters." Under the state's current winner-take-all system, California currently awards 55 electoral votes to its winner, far more than any other state. Under the GOP plan, the state would give far fewer electoral votes to its winner. This, by definition, reduces the power of California voters.