NBC's David Gregory falsely equated March 13 comments by President Obama with Sen. John McCain's September 2008 comment that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong." In fact, Obama did not comment on the broad "fundamentals" of the economy in his March 13 remarks.
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Numerous media outlets have devoted significant coverage to the earmarks contained in the pending omnibus appropriations bill, even though, according to most estimates, earmarks constitute less than 2 percent of the total spending in the bill. In many instances, the media have allowed attacks by Sen. John McCain and other opponents of the omnibus bill to dominate their coverage of the legislation -- at times themselves characterizing the bill as laden with "pork."
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Responding to criticism of the bonuses paid in 2008 by Wall Street firms -- some of which had received federal bailout funds -- Erin Burnett said during Meet the Press: "The taxpayer money isn't being taken and paid out in the form of bonuses. It goes in a separate pool ... a separate account for banks." However, contrary to Burnett's assertion, money is fungible, and without the federal assistance, Wall Street bonuses would have been much lower, according to several experts.
NBC's David Gregory falsely asserted that Social Security will "pay out more than it's taking in by 2010." In fact, according to the 2008 Social Security trustees' report, Social Security will not exceed the income rate before 2017 and will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, after which it will be able to cover between 78 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits through the end of the 75-year period the report's long-range projection covered.
On Meet the Press, host David Gregory allowed Rep. John Boehner to repeat the falsehood that, in Boehner's words, "we've already found" that 61 detainees released from the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay are now "back on the battlefield." In fact, the figure, which comes from the Pentagon, includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having engaged in terrorist activity. Moreover, even the Pentagon's claim that it has confirmed that 18 former Guantánamo detainees have returned to the battlefield has been questioned by experts.
Tom Brokaw did not challenge Sen. John McCain's false claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's health care plan, "[S]mall-business people who have employees without health insurance, that he is going to fine them if they don't have, have the insurance policy that they want, that Senator Obama wants them to have." In fact, while Obama has proposed requiring large businesses that do not provide health coverage to pay a percentage of their payroll into a National Health Insurance Exchange, small businesses would be exempt.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw did not challenge Steve Schmidt's false claim that Sen. John McCain "called for the firing of Don Rumsfeld." In fact, the McCain campaign itself reportedly admitted that McCain did not call for Rumsfeld to be fired, or for his resignation.
On Meet the Press, citing a New York Post article reporting that Oprah Winfrey will not host Gov. Sarah Palin on her show before the presidential election, Tom Brokaw falsely suggested that Winfrey has hosted Sen. Barack Obama on her show during Obama's campaign for president. However, the Post article Brokaw cited itself reported that Winfrey has not hosted Obama since he began his presidential campaign and that Winfrey said she decided when she endorsed Obama not to use her show "as a platform for any of the candidates."
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw asked Al Gore if, on the subject of renewable energy, "Hillary Clinton reset this debate when she said there should be a summer holiday on the federal gas tax." But Brokaw did not mention that Sen. John McCain also proposed a gas-tax holiday or that one of his top advisers still touts the plan as "the best stimulus package we can have right now."
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw did not challenge Carly Fiorina's assertion that "[t]he principal reason that [Sen. John McCain] voted against the Bush tax cuts is that they were not accompanied by fiscal restraint." In fact, the reason McCain gave for voting against the tax cuts in a May 26, 2001, statement on the Senate floor was that "so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
On Meet the Press, host Brian Williams allowed Sen. Lindsey Graham to crop an answer Sen. Barack Obama gave on a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire about whether he would commit to public financing for the general election if his opponent did so. While Graham read the question and beginning of Obama's answer aloud, neither he nor Williams noted that Obama concluded his answer by saying he would "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election," which the Obama campaign maintains he did before determining an agreement with the McCain campaign was unreachable.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell asserted that Sen. John McCain "believes he's stronger" than Sen. Barack Obama "among Hispanic-Americans, especially because of his immigration stance, which nearly killed him in the Republican Party." But O'Donnell did not note that McCain reversed himself on the issue of immigration; he now says that "we've got to secure the borders first" and that he "would not" support his own comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, who in February stated that "the story about Senator [John] McCain and lobbyists and ethics and money -- that continues," again ignored the issue of "McCain and lobbyists and ethics and money" on the May 25 edition of Meet the Press, despite numerous recent, related developments bearing on that issue.