In her column, Peggy Noonan asked of Barack Obama: "What does he think of America ... Who would have taught him to love it, and what did he learn was loveable, and what does he think about it all?" But Obama's latest book -- The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream -- is all about "[w]hat ... he think[s] of America."
In an article on Sen. John McCain's economic proposals, The Wall Street Journal reported that McCain "famously opposed President Bush's tax cuts a few years ago, saying they would irresponsibly swell the budget deficit." But, while that is the reason McCain now gives for having previously opposed the tax cuts, it was not the reason he gave in a 2001 floor statement explaining his opposition, in which he criticized the tax cuts for disproportionately benefiting the wealthy.
CNN's The Situation Room and a Wall Street Journal article both noted that, during a Senate hearing, Sen. John McCain asked Gen. David H. Petraeus about whether Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQ-I) is a "major threat," without also noting that McCain went on to ask of Al Qaeda in Iraq: "Certainly not an obscure sect of -- of the Shiites all -- overall?" In fact, AQ-I is a Sunni Muslim, not Shiite, group.
A Wall Street Journal article on Sen. John McCain's chances of winning California in the general election reported that "McCain's appeal to Hispanics is central to his strategy in the state -- especially if the Democratic nominee is Sen. [Barack] Obama, who has polled well behind Sen. [Hillary] Clinton among Hispanics there." However, the article did not mention general election polling that shows McCain significantly trailing both Obama and Clinton among California Hispanics.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. John McCain "displayed a strong populist streak over the housing crisis this weekend, blasting what he called the 'outrageous' and 'unconscionable' compensation of Bear Stearns and Countrywide executives and their 'co-conspirators,' " but did not mention that McCain reportedly expressed support for the Fed's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
A Wall Street Journal editorial falsely asserted that "the Senate Intelligence Committee found" former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV "had lied in claiming his wife [former CIA agent Valerie Plame] had played no role in sending him to Niger." In fact, the full committee did not conclude that Plame had suggested the mission. Further, multiple news reports have quoted unnamed intelligence officials who refuted the notion that Plame authorized, or even suggested, Wilson's trip.
Media Matters has extensively documented the disparity in media coverage devoted to controversial comments made by supporters of Sen. Barack Obama and to those made by supporters of Sen. John McCain. Several major publications have reported only on the controversy over remarks by McCain supporter John Hagee targeting Catholics, but not his controversial statements about Hurricane Katrina, Islam, women, and homosexuality. Most of those same publications have yet to report on pastor Rod Parsley and his controversial remarks in the context of McCain's campaign.
The Associated Press reported that Sen. John McCain "has decided not to accept the public matching funds," but that the Federal Election Commission "wants him to assure regulators that he did not use the promise of public money as collateral for [a] loan." The article did not mention that FEC Chairman David Mason has asserted that McCain cannot legally withdraw from the public finance system without FEC approval. Additionally, a Wall Street Journal article did not note that McCain may not be able to opt out of the public financing system.
The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and Reuters reported Sen. John McCain's claim that his trip overseas is unrelated to his presidential campaign without noting that McCain's trip includes a fundraiser in London or that McCain campaign representatives have reportedly acknowledged the political strategy behind the trip.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Newsmax's Ronald Kessler truncated Sen. Barack Obama's response to a controversial statement by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., about 9-11, repeating a statement from a New York Times interview in which Obama said "it sounds like [Wright] was trying to be provocative." But Kessler omitted Obama's statement, reported in the same article, disagreeing with Wright's 9-11 comments: "The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification."
The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported that Sen. John McCain "said his pro-environment positions," among others, would "make him competitive" in California. In fact, McCain has a lifetime rating of 24 percent from the League of Conservation Voters. By contrast, Sen. Hillary Clinton has a lifetime rating of 87 percent and Sen. Barack Obama, 86 percent.
In reporting that Sen. John McCain "committed to public financing" and "slammed Mr. [Barack] Obama for hedging on his pledge to accept public financing in the general election," the Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler did not report that McCain is trying to opt out of the public financing system for his primary campaign, yet may not be able to do so because he obtained a loan in late 2007 that could have required him to remain an active candidate, whether or not he had any chance of winning, and apply for federal matching funds to repay the loan.
Various media figures and reports have helped perpetuate the myth of Sen. John McCain as a straight-talking maverick who is feared by lobbyists and representatives of special interests. But McCain's campaign reportedly has more current and former lobbyists on staff or as advisers and more current and former lobbyist fundraising bundlers than any other candidate.
A Wall Street Journal article by Jonathan Kaufman stated that Sen. John McCain's "war record and straight-talking approach could make him appealing to many working-class men," an assertion repeated by Jack Cafferty on The Situation Room. Kaufman and Cafferty join a long list of media outlets that have adopted McCain's self-characterization as a "straight-talker," despite repeated falsehoods by McCain, as well as his stark inconsistencies on numerous issues, including the Iraq war, immigration, and tax cuts.