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.
On CNN's American Morning, reporting on Sen. Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing for the general election, Candy Crowley asserted that "you can expect that [Sen. John McCain] will hit Obama on two scores: One, you went back on what you said you would do; and two, this is not how to reform Washington." But Crowley did not report that McCain may actually be breaking campaign finance law.
On Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson falsely asserted that a Tax Policy Center analysis of Sens. McCain's and Obama's tax plans "said that Obama might add more to the deficit -- because it's unclear how he's going to pay for these -- than McCain would add to the deficit." In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that Obama's tax proposals would raise $700 billion over the next 10 years, while McCain's tax proposals would lose $600 billion, when scored against a " 'current policy' baseline," which "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be extended and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] patch made permanent."
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough insisted in eight different segments of the program that Sen. Barack Obama's campaign had a strategy to highlight Sen. John McCain's age, failing to note the denials of Obama campaign surrogates Susan Rice and Sen. John Kerry that their description of McCain as "confuse[d]" referred not to McCain's age but, rather, to numerous misstatements that McCain has made. Scarborough also asserted that Obama's claim that McCain had "los[t] his bearings" was evidence of a strategy to "mak[e] him out to be a doddering old fool" while failing to provide the context of Obama's comment -- a response to a smear by McCain in which he accused McCain of violating his pledge to avoid negative campaigning.
The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "has vowed ... to end the cap on Social Security taxes, which amounts to a tax hike on anyone who makes more than $100,000 in income," and he later asserted that "New York Rep. Joseph Crowley says a couple with earnings of $100,000 could be 'a police officer and nurse.' 'In New York City,' he adds, 'they'd be struggling.' " Moore's inclusion of a reference to "a couple ... [who] could be 'a police officer and nurse' " falsely suggests that Social Security taxes are assessed on households. In fact, Social Security payroll taxes are assessed on individual income.
Fox News' Carl Cameron falsely suggested that Sen. John McCain acknowledged weakness on economic issues only once, "[i]n one of those marathon interactions with reporters on the bus," while NBC's Andrea Mitchell baselessly asserted that McCain was "obviously joking" when he admitted his lack of knowledge about the economy. In fact, McCain has made such an acknowledgement on numerous occasions over the course of the campaign, and when confronted with one such remark at a Republican presidential debate, McCain did not respond by asserting that he had been "joking" -- he suggested he hadn't said it.
The Washington Post falsely suggested in an editorial that, in contrast with Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain has said definitively that he will accept public financing for the general election. In fact, in recent interviews with ABC News and USA Today, McCain did not give a definitive answer. According to USA Today, McCain "said he has not decided whether to accept about $85 million in public financing for the fall campaign."
CNN's Carol Costello and Ed Henry, and Fox News' Brit Hume falsely suggested that only the Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence approved the committee's June 5 "Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq by U.S. Government Officials Were Substantiated by Intelligence Information." In addition to the committee's Democrats, Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe endorsed the report and stated that it "accomplished its primary objective."