A Wall Street Journal article asserted that "[w]hile Sen. [John] McCain has shifted his emphasis, talking more now about 'securing the border first,' he remains committed to the broad strokes of his original approach [on immigration reform]." And the Washington Post editorial board wrote that McCain has made "what amounts to only a mild shift in emphasis in his longstanding position." However, McCain's current position -- that the borders must be secured before other reforms can be addressed -- is a reversal of his prior position; McCain previously argued that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Moreover, he now says that he would not support his own legislation if it came up for a vote in the Senate.
In an email to readers encouraging recipients to read the National Journal article on the magazine's 2007 vote ratings, the National Journal Group wrote: "In 2004, President Bush invoked Senator John Kerry's liberal Vote Ratings score repeatedly on the campaign trail and at their head-to-head debates. We anticipate similar attention for our Vote Ratings across the 2008 election cycle." Numerous media did follow suit and tout the Journal's 2003 rating of Kerry. And once again, the media are giving the 2007 ratings the "similar attention" the National Journal Group anticipated -- despite the Journal's acknowledgment that the methodology it used to rate Kerry was flawed.
As purported evidence that Sen. John McCain "has the potential to swing critical independents," The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley A. Strassel wrote: "New Hampshire Independents got to choose their primary last month, and the early betting was that they'd flock to the Democrats and Mr. [Barack] Obama. In fact, they made up a greater share of the Republican primary vote than they did in 2000, drawn by Mr. McCain." However, according to exit polling, many more independents voted in the 2008 Democratic New Hampshire primary than Republican primary, many more independents voted for Obama than McCain, and independents represented a larger portion of Republican primary voters in 2000 than in 2008.
In their coverage of the January 30 Republican presidential debate, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, ABC, and National Public Radio all reported Sen. John McCain's criticism of Mitt Romney over negative campaign ads. However, none of those media outlets noted that McCain has aired numerous ads attacking Romney, despite having said that "negative campaigns don't work."
Fox News and The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's claim that he originally voted against the Bush tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts. And in its endorsement of McCain, The Arizona Republic wrote that McCain "opposed the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 because they arrived with no commensurate spending cuts." But in a floor statement during the Senate debate on the 2001 tax cut bill, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
In his OpinionJournal.com column, former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont wrote that "[t]ax rate reductions increase tax revenues. This truth has been proved at both state and federal levels, including by President Bush's 2003 tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends." However, several former and current Bush administration economists have stated that tax cuts, including those passed under Bush, produce a net decrease in revenue.
Advancing a common straw man promoted by the Bush administration and repeated by the media, a Wall Street Journal editorial falsely claimed that under the "preferred rules" for wiretapping purportedly favored by "most House Democrats," "a U.S. President couldn't even eavesdrop on a foreign-to-foreign terror call if by chance that call was routed through an American telephone switch," which "would amount to unilateral disarmament in the war on terror." The assertion is false on two counts.
A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that President Bush's proposed $5 billion increase in funding over five years for the State Children's Health Insurance Program would be a "20% expansion." But the Congressional Budget Office found that Bush's proposal would underfund the program by $9 billion during that period.
Many major media outlets that covered the controversy surrounding MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad have yet to cover the bipartisan outcry over Rush Limbaugh's remarks characterizing service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers."
On September 22, the Politico reported that Mitt Romney "has remained mum on the alleged killing of 11 Iraqis by a company where one of his top advisers serves as vice chairman, even as the case has led to an uproar in Baghdad and Washington. ... The top counterterrorism and national security adviser to Romney's presidential campaign is Cofer Black, vice chairman of Blackwater USA." But despite prominent reports by the five major newspapers and the three networks on the Iraqi Interior Ministry revoking Blackwater USA's license, none of those outlets has reported on Romney's connection to Blackwater or his refusal to comment on the matter.
Several media outlets covering Gen. David Petraeus' September 10 congressional testimony reported without challenge statistics Petraeus presented to support his claims that the U.S. troop escalation in Iraq has been successful in lowering violence in Iraq. But Petraeus' statistics regarding civilian casualties and sectarian violence differ from the findings in two recent congressionally mandated reports -- findings these media outlets did not report.
In an article on campaign donations to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton from "an unlikely address," The Wall Street Journal suggested that "wealthy New York businessman" and "top fundraiser" Norman Hsu may have funneled illegal campaign contributions to Clinton by reimbursing members of the Paw family for contributions made to Clinton under their names. However, the Journal gave no indication it actually tried to get financial information indicating "how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess."