All three network evening newscasts misrepresented retired Gen. Wesley Clark's comments about Sen. John McCain on Face The Nation, with none noting that Clark praised McCain as a "hero" for his Vietnam war service. ABC's David Wright asserted that McCain's experience as a POW made Clark's comments "especially provocative." CBS' Dean Reynolds falsely suggested that Clark had questioned McCain's patriotism and had "critici[zed]" McCain's "service, including five years as a POW." And NBC's Brian Williams falsely suggested that Clark had impugned McCain's "war record."
On MSNBC Live, Contessa Brewer falsely claimed that former President Bill Clinton "reportedly told London's The Telegraph paper that [Sen.] Barack Obama was going to, quote, 'have to kiss my you-know-what,' unquote, if he wanted the former president's help." In fact, the Telegraph article quoted an anonymous "senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton," who in turn cited another anonymous source: "One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support."
CNN's American Morning deceptively cropped Wesley Clark's Face the Nation interview, airing a video of Clark saying of Sen. John McCain, "That large squadron in the Air -- in the Navy that he commanded, it wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall," after which Clark was immediately shown saying: "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." But CNN edited out the portion of the exchange indicating that, in making the latter statement, Clark was responding to host Bob Schieffer's statement that, unlike McCain, Sen. Barack Obama has not "ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down."
On Fox News' The Strategy Room, Molly Henneberg asserted that Wesley Clark "seemed to attack [Sen. John] McCain's military service," and aired a video clip of Clark saying on CBS' Face the Nation, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." But Henneberg did not report or in any way indicate that, in making that comment, Clark was responding to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer's statement that, unlike McCain, Sen. Barack Obama has not "ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down."
Discussing Sen. John McCain's statement that "if the election were tomorrow ... Republicans would lose seats in both the House and the Senate," Wolf Blitzer asserted of McCain, "Should he be saying that right now? I know he's a straight-talker, but what do you think?" Blitzer has, on several previous occasions, pronounced McCain a straight-talker.
Reuters falsely suggested that Sen. John McCain most recently called for Russia to be excluded from the Group of Eight major industrialized nations (G-8) in October 2007, and uncritically quoted an anonymous McCain adviser's assertion that McCain no longer holds that position. In fact, McCain again called for Russia to be excluded from the G-8 in a March 2008 speech.
On MSNBC Live, responding to a comment by Andrea Mitchell about "the massive 1969 oil spill" in Santa Barbara, California, Sen. Richard Burr stated: "Well, Andrea, how technology has changed since 1969. It can take a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf that really came twice, and the technology made sure that there wasn't a drop that was spilled in the Gulf." In fact, a report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service stated that as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita "124 [oil] spills were reported with a total volume of roughly 17,700 barrels of total petroleum products."
Numerous media outlets have reported all or part of Sen. John McCain's statement rebuking Sen. Barack Obama for his decision to forgo public financing in the general election without mentioning that during the primary, McCain signed a loan that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.
A USA Today article quoted Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Sen. John McCain, who said, "Unlike Barack Obama, John McCain believes in keeping his word to the American people, and he will undergo public financing for the general election." But the article did not note that while the McCain campaign, through Bounds, now says McCain will not opt out of public financing because he is "keeping his word to the American people," McCain himself previously indicated that his decision over whether to take public financing if Obama opted out would depend not on "keeping his word" but on whether it would be financially prudent to do so. Indeed, McCain senior adviser Charlie Black reportedly said, "We could sit down in July or August and say, 'Hey, we're raising a lot of money and maybe we should forgo it.' ... We don't have enough data."
In online articles discussing Sen. Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing for the general election, both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported that Sen. John McCain "has been a champion of public financing." But neither article noted that McCain claims to have opted out of public financing -- and has exceeded spending limits under the public financing system -- during the primary season or that the FEC chairman has taken the position that McCain cannot legally opt out without FEC approval.