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.
On February 24, Tim Russert stated on NBC's Today that "the story about Senator [John] McCain and lobbyists and ethics and money -- that continues. It's been on the front page of several papers for the last three days. ... We have not heard the end of that discussion about Senator McCain." However, since that date, "the story" has not "continue[d]" on Meet the Press.
On Meet the Press, Tim Russert failed to correct Mike Murphy's false claim that James Rubin "mischaracterized" Sen. John McCain in a Washington Post op-ed. Russert said, "And there is an interview with James Rubin, as you know, from Senator McCain where he said that in time, we would have to talk with Hamas." Murphy replied, "Right. Well, but I think if you look, like many of us did, at the full YouTube of that, Rubin mischaracterized him in his op-ed. ... McCain had a lot of qualifications, if you look at the full context of it, which is not what Rubin paraphrased in that op-ed." In fact, Rubin did not "mischaracterize" or "paraphrase" McCain's comments, as video posted on YouTube shows.
Now that former Republican congressman Bob Barr has announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party nomination for president, will NBC host Tim Russert invite Barr to be interviewed on Meet the Press, giving Barr the same platform to discuss his candidacy that Russert gave Ralph Nader?
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On Meet the Press, Tim Russert asserted that "many Democrats fear Republicans in the fall will string together an ad which shows," among other things, "[Sen.] Barack Obama with his hands clasped in front of him rather than holding his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance." However, the photo to which Russert was apparently referring appeared in Time magazine with a caption indicating it was taken during the national anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance.
The New York Times' David Brooks asserted that Sen. John McCain's March 26 foreign policy speech "was so important because he broke with Bush on several ways" and described one of those ways as, "Should the U.S. go it alone on certain issues? He said no, we are -- we need a strong America, but in the community of nations. And he detailed that." Similarly, The Washington Post's David Broder wrote that McCain "outlin[ed] a vastly different approach from President Bush's" in the speech, in part by offering a "repudiation of unilateralism." Yet neither Brooks nor Broder accounted for any of the statements McCain made during the run-up to the Iraq war about France, Germany, and Belgium, which revealed a very different attitude to U.S. allies.
On Meet the Press, host Tim Russert ignored Republican strategist Mike Murphy's reference to Sen. John McCain's acceptance of an endorsement by evangelist John Hagee. Russert did not identify Hagee by name or mention Hagee's statements denouncing or disparaging homosexuality, Islam, Catholics, and women. By contrast, during the last Democratic debate, Russert persisted with questions to Sen. Barack Obama about Louis Farrakhan's support of Obama, despite Obama's repeated denunciations of Farrakhan's statements.
On The Tim Russert Show, Russert falsely claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton said in 2004: "[O]n substance, NAFTA's been good for New York and America." In fact, what Clinton said in 2004 was: "I think on balance NAFTA has been good for New York and America, but I also think that there are a number of areas where we're not dealt with in an upfront way." On Meet the Press, Russert claimed that a video clip showed Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama "coming out against NAFTA"; as the clips made clear, neither candidate "c[ame] out against NAFTA."
On Meet the Press, discussing the New York Times article about Sen. John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist, David Brooks said he "do[esn't] really understand the case" involving McCain and the letters he wrote to the Federal Communications Commission about an issue involving Paxson Communications, then suggested that McCain "only wrote two letters" as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. But the Times reported that McCain sent a series of letters to the FCC in a separate case, including "an unusually blunt letter to the head of the Federal Communications Commission, warning that he would try to overhaul the agency if it closed a broadcast ownership loophole."
Tim Russert left unchallenged Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Hillary Clinton "would set a timetable within 60 days of withdrawal, complete withdrawal from Iraq." In fact, Clinton said that if she were to become president, "[W]e will start withdrawing within 60 days," and would continue to withdraw "one to two brigades a month" with the goal of having "nearly all the troops out by the end of the year ," except for those necessary to "protect our embassy" and other "strategic interests."
In another example of a media figure asserting that primary or caucus voters who chose a candidate other than Sen. Hillary Clinton were thus rejecting her, National Review's Byron York asserted that in South Carolina, "72 percent of white men voted against" Clinton. York did not point to any evidence that the white men who voted for someone other than Clinton did so because they were "vot[ing] against her."
Discussing "dynasticism" on NBC's Meet the Press, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan asserted that "this Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton" is a "sickness" that "is giving so many people pause." But when asked how they felt about members of the Bush and Clinton families holding the presidency for nearly 20 years, 50 percent of respondents in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll said it "doesn't really make much difference."
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw claimed that Rudy Giuliani's television ads airing in Florida "don't mention terrorism." In fact, just two days earlier, the Giuliani campaign launched a new ad, airing in West Palm Beach, that contains video footage of New York City in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.