Despite the fact that MSNBC had earlier aired Hillary Clinton saying, "I want to congratulate Senator [Barack] Obama tonight and I want to also thank the people of South Carolina for welcoming us into their homes, and their communities," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough claimed that when Clinton "congratulated Senator Obama, she did it by a paper statement." Further, before Clinton's speech, Bloomberg News columnist Margaret Carlson claimed that the "Clintons don't play by the normal rules," adding: "Where is the grace that we all expect out of losers in campaigns, which is you congratulate in words, not in just a statement, your opponent?" In fact, the statement issued by the Clinton campaign noted that Clinton had "called Senator Obama to congratulate him and wish him well."
PolitiFact.com asserted that "[i]n 2001, [Sen. John] McCain voted against a $1.35-trillion tax cut package, arguing that the tax cuts should be balanced by spending cuts." This assertion is false. While McCain now claims that was his reason for voting against the tax cuts in 2001, that was not the reason he gave at the time of the vote itself. In a floor statement, McCain did not mention the absence of offsetting spending cuts; rather, he stated: "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."
On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski described John Gibson's statement in response to the firestorm over remarks he made concerning the death of actor Heath Ledger as "an awful, awful joke of an apology," and later asserted that it was "not an apology." After airing Gibson's statement, Joe Scarborough said, "What he said was, 'I'm sorry if you were offended. ... I'm sorry if you were offended that I mocked the death of a young man.' " Scarborough also asserted that Gibson "got caught in an anti-gay tirade."
On Morning Joe, Chris Matthews complained that the January 21 Democratic presidential debate on CNN, held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, spent too much time discussing "black/white issues" rather than the candidates' positions on the Iraq war or health care. But Matthews did not ask similar questions about the January 15 Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC, even though many of the first 19 questions asked during the debate focused on race and none dealt explicitly with issues of public policy.
Discussing the most recent Democratic presidential candidates debate on Morning Joe, political and social commentator Mike Barnicle said Sen. Hillary Clinton "look[ed] like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court," eliciting laughter from the all-male panel that featured MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist, and David Shuster.
On Morning Joe, guest host Chris Matthews complained that, during the January 21 Democratic presidential debate, too much time was spent on "black/white issues," and too little time was spent discussing the candidates' positions on the Iraq war or on health care. In fact, health care was discussed for more than 13 minutes during the debate, and the Iraq war was discussed for nearly eight minutes. Yet Morning Joe's analysis of the debate, which featured numerous clips from the event, included no video from the exchanges where the candidates "debat[ed] health care" and the current situation in Iraq.
Chris Matthews falsely suggested on MSNBC's Morning Joe that Sen. John McCain has "stood his ground" on the issue of immigration. In fact, after originally calling for a policy that both strengthened border security and established a guest-worker program, McCain now emphasizes securing the borders first.
On January 18, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said it was "outrageous that Chris Matthews ha[d] to apologize" following his January 9 comment, documented by Media Matters, in which he said that "the reason" Hillary Clinton is "a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around." By "apologize," Scarborough was referring to a statement Matthews made at the start of his January 17 show addressing the firestorm sparked by his earlier comments.
Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman falsely claimed during MSNBC's coverage following the January 15 Democratic presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas that Sen. Barack Obama "admitt[ed] that he can't manage his way out of a paper bag while he's running for president of the United States."