The Politico's Jonathan Martin asserted as "fact" that Al Gore and John Kerry "were elitists and were out of touch with average Americans." But to the extent the public perceived them in that manner, the media played a dominant role in creating and promoting that perception while largely avoiding discussion of whether President Bush was an "elitist."
A Gannett News Service analysis reported on Sen. John McCain's response to television ads by Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign that criticized McCain "for being AWOL on the nation's economic challenges," stating: "McCain immediately fired back in videos ... that characterized the Democrats as proposing to tax the country out of its economic woes." However, the piece did not mention that the key assertion in McCain's ad is false.
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.
Reporting on Sen. John McCain's speech about the Iraq war, The Washington Times asserted that "Democrats have condemned Mr. McCain for his 100-year comment, though Mr. McCain was saying Iraq could become a nation like South Korea, where U.S. forces have been stationed for more than 50 years." But the Times did not mention that McCain has been inconsistent on whether U.S. troop's future presence in Iraq would be analogous to that in South Korea.
Responding to an ad by John McCain's campaign, which asserts that in response to "home foreclosures mounting, markets teetering," "[Hillary] Clinton and Barack Obama just said they'd solve the problem by raising your taxes -- more money out of your pocket," Joe Scarborough said the ad would "probably work." But Scarborough didn't note that the ad's central claim is false: Neither Clinton nor Obama has asserted that she or he would respond to "home foreclosures rising" by raising taxes.
On Morning Joe, Time's Rick Stengel claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "has to say it's a new paradigm of patriotism, it's a kind of post-identity politics patriotism, where, 'I wouldn't have had the opportunities I've had anywhere else in the world. .... And the qualities that make America what America is, what makes America great, is the reason that I've been able to be so successful.' " But Obama has said precisely that.
McClatchy Newspapers reported that "[a]ll Republican economists champion low taxes. They disagree, however, on whether reducing taxes produces enough economic stimulus to pay for itself -- a doctrine called 'supply-side economics' -- or creates worrisome federal budget deficits. [Sen. John] McCain listens to tax-cutters on both sides." In fact, McCain has at least twice asserted as fact that tax cuts increase government revenues or that "most economists" believe that they do, only to subsequently have his campaign release statements backing off those claims.
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough advanced the myth that Sen. John McCain hasn't flip-flopped on his position on immigration reform by asserting: "[T]here are a lot of issues that Republicans have despised John McCain for taking positions on. He stayed with those positions, and it makes him much stronger in the fall campaign because of it, and I speak mainly of illegal immigration." In response, co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Absolutely." Indeed, conservatives have praised McCain's rightward shift on the issue.
On The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Mark Shields asserted that Sen. John McCain "emphasized a lot of places of disagreement" with President Bush during his March 26 foreign policy speech, including "the sense of communality and collegiality among nations, reaching to the allies." But neither Shields nor the others in the discussion noted any of the highly critical statements McCain made about U.S. allies who opposed the Iraq war.
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.