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.
On the January 13 edition of Meet the Press, host Tim Russert -- who, with NBC's Brian Williams, will moderate the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on January 15 -- once again cited the " National Intelligence Estimate, which had a lot of caveats" about Iraq's weapons programs to challenge a Democrat about his or her Iraq war vote, something he did not do in two previous interviews with Sen. John McCain. Russert also aired a statement from Democratic strategist Donna Brazile criticizing former President Bill Clinton's recent comments about Sen. Barack Obama, but not her subsequent remark that "I take the president at his word that he was not being condescending; he was not being insulting."
After falsely asserting that he was showing viewers "exactly what President Clinton said," referring to January 7 comments Bill Clinton made about Sen. Barack Obama, Tim Russert played a truncated quote from Clinton. In addition, Russert read a quote from The New York Times that truncated Hillary Clinton's statement about civil rights, omitting her reference to President Kennedy.
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.
Interviewing Barack Obama on Meet the Press, Tim Russert read a quote he attributed to Obama to suggest that he has "not been a leader against the [Iraq] war": "In July of 2004, Barack Obama: 'I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. ... What would I have done? I don't know,' in terms of how you would have voted on the war." Russert did not quote the very next sentence of Obama's statement, which was, "What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made" for authorizing the war.
In a blog entry, Politico senior political writer Jonathan Martin wrote that Rudy Giuliani's campaign had circulated a press release titled "Romney's Taxachussetts Hypocrisy" and characterized the campaign as "[n]ot terribly thrilled about having to engage a GOP opponent -- but also recognizing the necessity of letting no dig go unanswered." However, in the blog entry, Martin did not note a relevant statement that Giuliani made two days earlier in an interview with Martin himself: "It's my intention not to attack any other Republicans, absolutely. ... The whole focus of my campaign is I'm going to run against a Democrat." On Meet the Press, David Brody claimed that Giuliani "is talking about Hillary Clinton and nobody else," adding: "I mean, it's invoking the Eleventh Commandment, as Ronald Reagan would say, you know, thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican."
Discussing remarks by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and former Sen. John Edwards, that they would not commit "by January of 2013, to have all American troops out of Iraq," NBC's David Gregory described this as "a really measured position," and asserted, "Edwards particularly, who was embracing the left wing of the party's view that you have to end the war now, and the others even voting for cutting off funding." But Gregory's suggestion that Clinton's and Obama's current positions are inconsistent with their having "even vot[ed] for cutting off funding" -- an assertion that is itself misleading -- is false. And Gregory offered no evidence that Edwards has shifted position either.