During a May 29 campaign appearance, Sen. John McCain falsely stated that U.S. troops in Iraq "have [been] drawn down to pre-surge levels." As the Associated Press reported, "[T]here are 17 brigades in Iraq" right now, as opposed to the 15 brigades in place before the increase. In 2003, then-Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was criticized in the media for his response to a question about the number of active-duty soldiers, with Tim Russert and others questioning his fitness to be commander in chief. In light of McCain's troop-surge falsehood and numerous national security gaffes, will the media similarly question his suitability to be commander in chief?
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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Discussing a column by Frank Rich about media coverage of controversial comments made by televangelist John Hagee, who has endorsed Sen. John McCain, and those made by Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert said on Imus in the Morning: "I don't think -- the Hagee thing, McCain has not been questioned ... scrutinized about that." But Russert ignored his own role in the lack of scrutiny, not mentioning Hagee once on Meet the Press since his endorsement. Russert also said "You know, if there was video of Hagee, it makes all the difference in the world." But there is audio of Hagee stating that Hurricane Katrina was "the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans" for its "level of sin" and audio of his defending those comments.
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.
On Today, Matt Lauer, Tim Russert, and Andrea Mitchell discussed Bill and Hillary Clinton's tax returns, speculating about, in Lauer's words, the "actual impact" the returns will have on "those so-called blue-collar workers that are so much a part of her base." They did not mention that Sen. John McCain has yet to release his tax returns, nor did they speculate as to what impact McCain's family's wealth would have on his ability to connect with "blue-collar workers."
On Morning Joe, Tim Russert asserted, "I remember I asked the candidates in a debate last fall whether they would pledge to have all troops out within their first four years. None of them would make the pledge. By the last debate in Cleveland, both [Sens. Barack] Obama and [Hillary] Clinton were saying, 'Oh no, we'll have them out by '09.' " In fact, neither candidate said during the Cleveland debate that he or she would withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2009. During the "debate last fall," they talked about beginning withdrawal as soon as possible, while leaving troops to perform certain functions after the withdrawal is complete, and Russert himself stated during the Cleveland debate that both candidates have said they would "keep a residual force" in Iraq.
On MSNBC's Tim Russert, responding to Christopher Hitchens, Andrew Sullivan said, "And now you've made me forget my second point," to which Hitchens replied, "Oh, well, don't be such a lesbian. Get on with it."
On Tim Russert, Christopher Hitchens said regarding Sen. Hillary Clinton, "[I]f you think of women who really have been put upon by men and by male supremacy, like Benazir Bhutto, as well, you can't imagine her resorting to this kind of self-pity or suddenly decide to feminize herself in the most clichéd way, of such -- by welling up and sobbing." Hitchens later added: "I just think that if she knew how it made her look, sort of alternately soppy and bitchy, she'd stop it. But she can't help herself, can she? She just can't."
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On Today, Tim Russert discussed the schedules from Sen. Hillary Clinton's time as first lady and asserted: "Senator Clinton has made her experience such a part of this campaign, particularly her eight years as first lady. So this may be very rich in terms of exactly how did she spend her time, who did she meet with?" Russert added that "this, I think, today will be analyzed very closely by all of us at NBC News and media organizations across the country." Indeed, while NBC and MSNBC journalists discussed more substantive issues related to her schedules, they also repeatedly discussed what the schedules say, or do not say, about where Hillary Clinton was during Monica Lewinsky's encounters with President Clinton, in many cases teasing segments or leading them with that information.
NBC's Tim Russert suggested on the Today show that Sen. John McCain would "refrain from any public criticism of" Sen. Barack Obama over controversial comments made by Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. However, McCain's campaign reportedly circulated to reporters a Wall Street Journal op-ed that asserted Obama's association with Wright "raised legitimate questions."