Several media outlets have reported that Sen. John McCain's campaign justified refusing to release Cindy McCain's tax returns by citing Sen. John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, as "precedent." But they did not report that, in contrast with Cindy McCain, Heinz Kerry did release a part of her 2003 income tax return that showed "total income," which enabled The New York Times to analyze how she benefited from the Bush tax cuts. Such an analysis of how the McCains have benefited from the tax cuts -- which Sen. McCain supports extending permanently -- is not possible, based on the information his campaign has released on Cindy McCain's income.
MSNBC's David Shuster asserted that "[Sen. John] McCain also made clear he will continue to insist that Barack Obama stay in the public financing system for the general election as he promised," adding that the issue "could help McCain tarnish the image of Obama's political purity." But Shuster did not mention that McCain may be violating campaign finance laws by surpassing spending limits under the public financing system for the primary period.
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.
Blog posts by The New York Times and washingtonpost.com both reported on the Democratic National Committee's announcement that it would be filing a lawsuit to force the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate Sen. John McCain's unilateral withdrawal from the federal public financing system for the primary election, but neither noted that FEC chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.
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.