Despite the fact that MSNBC had earlier aired Hillary Clinton saying, "I want to congratulate Senator [Barack] Obama tonight and I want to also thank the people of South Carolina for welcoming us into their homes, and their communities," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough claimed that when Clinton "congratulated Senator Obama, she did it by a paper statement." Further, before Clinton's speech, Bloomberg News columnist Margaret Carlson claimed that the "Clintons don't play by the normal rules," adding: "Where is the grace that we all expect out of losers in campaigns, which is you congratulate in words, not in just a statement, your opponent?" In fact, the statement issued by the Clinton campaign noted that Clinton had "called Senator Obama to congratulate him and wish him well."
Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist ridiculed Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for "push[ing] the wrong button" when casting votes as an Illinois state senator. But they failed to make clear that, according to the Los Angeles Times article they were referencing (which addressed only five of the six alleged mistaken votes), Obama stated that he had voted the wrong way and asked that the record reflect that fact for each of those five votes when he actually cast them in the Illinois state Senate.
On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski described John Gibson's statement in response to the firestorm over remarks he made concerning the death of actor Heath Ledger as "an awful, awful joke of an apology," and later asserted that it was "not an apology." After airing Gibson's statement, Joe Scarborough said, "What he said was, 'I'm sorry if you were offended. ... I'm sorry if you were offended that I mocked the death of a young man.' " Scarborough also asserted that Gibson "got caught in an anti-gay tirade."
On January 18, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said it was "outrageous that Chris Matthews ha[d] to apologize" following his January 9 comment, documented by Media Matters, in which he said that "the reason" Hillary Clinton is "a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around." By "apologize," Scarborough was referring to a statement Matthews made at the start of his January 17 show addressing the firestorm sparked by his earlier comments.
In their coverage of the Michigan Republican primary, numerous media outlets and personalities praised Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain as a "maverick" who has challenged his party. However, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, on several major issues, McCain has taken positions consistent with those of his party.
During MSNBC's coverage of the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Hardball host Chris Matthews stated, "I will never underestimate Hillary Clinton again." But Matthews asserted on MSNBC's Morning Joe the next day, "[T]he reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around."
On Morning Joe, without citing any examples, Joe Scarborough stated, "[Y]ou have your Holocaust deniers ... then you have your Giuliani deniers. And Giuliani deniers will tell you he had nothing to do with September 11th." But as Mika Brzezinski later noted, "There are a lot of people who have a lot of criticisms for Rudy Giuliani, and how he handled 9-11 before it happened."
On Morning Joe, Larry Kudlow asserted that "on the campaign trail, Democrats trashing this economy, talking about raising taxes across the board are totally, utterly missing the boat here." In fact, the leading Democratic candidates for president have all proposed economic plans that include some tax cuts.
Discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's performance during the Democratic presidential debate, Chris Matthews claimed that Clinton made herself "look like a switcher" when responding to questions about her views on Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. In fact, Clinton maintained that Spitzer's plan "ma[de] sense," explaining that "what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform" and claiming: "I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well-intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform." Matthews and other media figures invoked Sen. John Kerry's alleged "flip-flopping," suggesting that Clinton made inconsistent statements.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, contributor Willie Geist stated that he had gone "back and looked at the full transcript" of Rush Limbaugh's recent description of soldiers who support withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq as "phony soldiers" and asserted that Limbaugh had been "talking about a specific soldier, this guy Jesse MacBeth," who falsely claimed to be an injured Iraq war veteran. Joe Scarborough agreed that Limbaugh's remark has "been blown out of context." However, the transcript and audio included in the original Media Matters item documenting Limbaugh's comments makes clear that he referred to "phony soldiers," plural.
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On MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and guest Craig Crawford discussed a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton who Scarborough said was "on the lam again" and referred to John Edwards' "hedge fund problems " and Barack Obama's "fund-raiser problem." However, neither Scarborough nor Crawford noted that leading Republican presidential candidates are facing questions regarding figures involved in their campaign finances.
On MSNBC, Pat Buchanan claimed that a U.S. attack on Iran is "comin[g]" and went on to assert that a military strike against Iran would be "a very popular initial move." Joe Scarborough agreed, stating that "a military strike against Iran initially would be extraordinarily popular with the American people." But polling data show that most Americans say they would oppose an attack on Iran.