The Washington Post's George Will asserted that Sen. John McCain's admittedly false claim that Iran is training Al Qaeda is "[n]ot damaging at all" to McCain, "because people say it's a given that this man knows what he's talking about." Similarly, The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman asserted that "I don't think many people believe" "the argument that McCain doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to foreign policy." But neither Will nor Zuckman noted that McCain has made that error more than once.
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."
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.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume asked Juan Williams, "Who are we fighting there [in Iraq] now, Juan?" then answered his own question: "Al Qaeda in Iraq. They were there before we got there, and they're there now." In fact, U.S. military and intelligence officials have reportedly stated that Al Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, didn't pledge its loyalty to Osama bin Laden until October 2004, and isn't controlled by bin Laden or his top aides. Further, the 9-11 Commission found "no evidence" that contacts between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Al Qaeda "developed into a collaborative operational relationship" before the Iraq invasion.
Karl Rove asserted that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "enters the general election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup Poll," and added: "The only person who comes close is ... hers are at 49. The only other candidate to come close was Al Gore with 34, I believe." In fact, Gallup's polling results show that President Bush's unfavorability ratings as he entered the 2004 general election campaign were consistently above what Rove claimed to be "close[st]" to Clinton's unfavorability rating -- "Al Gore with 34" percent.
An Associated Press article reported that Karl Rove, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, "[b]lamed congressional Democrats for standing in the way of changing Social Security and immigration law." But the AP did not note -- as Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace did during his interview with Rove -- that "there was tremendous opposition from your own party on immigration reform and, frankly, not much support on Social Security reform."
In appearances by Karl Rove on Sunday morning talk shows on Fox, CBS, and NBC, not one interviewer asked whether an August 19 Washington Post article was accurate in stating that, according to White House officials, one of Rove's "two basic rules" in putting together briefings for political appointees was "to make sure they complied with the Hatch Act," a federal law that limits political activities by federal employees. As the article noted, "the Office of the Special Counsel ... has concluded that the Hatch Act was violated" during a briefing that was conducted by a Rove aide for political appointees in the General Services Administration.