After Chuck Todd acknowledged a media double standard in coverage of Sen. John McCain's Al Qaeda-Iran gaffe, CNBC's John Harwood asserted on Morning Joe: "I think that at the end of the day, John McCain has got sufficient credibility on that issue that people are not going to look at that and say, 'Oh, John McCain is confused' or 'John McCain's too old' or 'John McCain doesn't get it.' ... But he obviously can't do that too many times or he's got a problem." Harwood was not alone in misrepresenting or excusing McCain's false claim on MSNBC; several MSNBC reporters and anchors have ignored or excused McCain's false claim.
Responding to Barack Obama's comment, made in his March 18 speech addressing controversial statements by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that his white grandmother had "uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes," Joe Scarborough said: "I really wonder why anybody, why any man, would throw his grandmother under the bus during a political speech regardless of the point he was trying to make." But last week, Scarborough said that "we all have people that we love dearly who are crazy," adding, "Do not hold me accountable for things that my father has said in the past ... or for e-mails ... that my mother sends me. ... And again, Mom and Dad, I love you. I'm just making a bigger point."
Joe Scarborough asserted on MSNBC's Morning Joe: "John McCain has never attached himself to these people on the far right that say if you're gay, you're going to hell, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." In fact, McCain has "attached himself to" some notable religious figures who have made controversial statements, among them John Hagee and Rod Parsley.
While discussing Sen. Barack Obama, The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan said, "Remember that thing Mrs. Clinton said where she was asked, 'Do you think he's a Christian?' And she said one of those formulations like 'Oh, as far as I know, look into it.' " MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski replied, "Wink-wink, yeah." In fact, during an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, Clinton was not asked, "Do you think he's a Christian?" -- when asked, "You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?" she immediately responded, "Of course not." Moreover, she compared "ridiculous rumors" circulating about her to rumors about Obama, making clear that the Obama rumors are false.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, NBC correspondent Lee Cowan stated that "[n]obody that I know of has asked" Sen. Barack Obama about controversial comments his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, made just days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In fact, The New York Times asked Obama about Wright's remarks in a 2007 interview, and Obama reportedly replied, "The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification."
Discussing the scandal involving New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and why "wives go out and stand beside their husbands," The Washington Post's Sally Quinn said on MSNBC's Morning Joe: "The only thing I can think of is that women who are married to these powerful men have -- the power that they have is derivative. They get their power from their men and their status and that they don't want to lose that power."
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On Morning Joe, Chris Matthews asserted that "if a Democrat were smart, who gets elected president, they wouldn't go back to the old Canadian model ... single-payer model." In fact, neither Sen. Barack Obama nor Sen. Hillary Clinton has proposed a health-care plan that resembles the Canadian health-care system or a "single-payer model." Matthews also suggested that the Democratic candidates should "take something that looks practical out of Massachusetts with Mitt Romney... and put [their] name on it" and "try some kind of mandated benefit." However, Obama's and Clinton's health-care proposals both include "mandated benefit[s]," and Clinton's plan has drawn comparisons to the plan Romney implemented in Massachusetts.
On MSNBC, while saying that Sen. Hillary Clinton should release her tax returns, Pat Buchanan asserted, "[L]ook, there's an awful lot of money that those two made, and they want to see where the money came from, especially where Bill's income came from if they filed a joint return," adding, "And I think Republicans will demand it." However, Buchanan did not note that Sen. John McCain also has not released his tax returns.
On February 27, MSNBC devoted significant coverage to an exchange from the most recent Democratic presidential debate in which NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert repeatedly questioned Sen. Barack Obama about praise he received from controversial minister Louis Farrakhan, whose statements Obama has denounced. The same day, Pastor John Hagee -- who has made controversial comments about homosexuality, Islam, Catholicism, and women -- endorsed Sen. John McCain, who embraced Hagee's support. Hagee's endorsement and McCain's response to it raise the question of whether MSNBC will report on them as extensively as it did on Farrakhan's praise.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough again defended Chris Matthews' controversial comments about Sen. Hillary Clinton, saying, "[W]hat Chris Matthews said is the same thing Maureen Dowd has been saying since 1998. ... Maybe he said it more bluntly, but to say, that's sexism?" Additionally, co-host Mika Brzezinski called criticism of MSNBC as sexist "unfair."
Referring to comments he had made about Sen. Hillary Clinton's voice, MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan said on the February 27 edition of Morning Joe, "Look, the famous Dr. Johnson, and I hate to repeat it, said, you know, 'To see a woman speaking is to watch a dog walking on its hind legs ... Sure, he said you're surprised not to see it done -- not that it's not done well, but to see it done at all."
On Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan said that when Sen. Hillary Clinton "raises her voice, and when a lot of women do ... it reaches a point ... where every husband in America ... has heard at one time or another." He later stated, "I know that's a sexist comment." Commentator Mike Barnicle previously compared Clinton to "everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court."
Discussing reports about Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Pat Buchanan asserted: "I don't have a problem with John McCain writing a letter there, depending on what he says in the letter," adding, "[B]ut McCain shouldn't be denying that, I don't think, because it seems to me that's in the normal course of business of a congressman." But contrary to his description of McCain's actions as "the normal course" for a congressman, the FCC chairman at the time criticized McCain for his request, calling it "highly unusual."
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough said to Chris Matthews: "Bill Clinton says, though, Chris, that we're naïve for believing that politicians can work together, that we're naïve for believing that Barack Obama." Scarborough added: "But it seems to me it's cynicism versus hope." Matthews said: "Any politician who runs in America on the campaign message of 'don't get your hopes up' deserves to be doomed. What an amazing -- that is so un-American, because Americans believe that the way things are is not the way they have to be."
On Morning Joe, NBC News' Chuck Todd asserted that "all of this angst on the right has only served to remind moderates that [Sen.] John McCain's a moderate." But McCain does not call himself a moderate, claiming that he is "proud to be a conservative." Moreover, he has changed, and even reversed, his position on several issues, including immigration and taxes, to align himself with the base of the Republican Party.