Robert Novak asserted that "[a] closed-door caucus of House Democrats" had "instructed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Bush's bluff on extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists" and that "Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there was no danger in letting the FISA legislation lapse temporarily." In fact, FISA did not lapse or expire; what expired was the Protect America Act (PAA), which amended FISA. Additionally, Novak falsely stated that "the Democratic leadership Wednesday brought up another bill simply extending FISA authority, this time for 21 days" and that most of the Democrats who voted against the bill "intuitively oppose any anti-terrorist proposal." In fact, the House voted on an extension to the PAA, not FISA, and most of the Democrats who voted against the extension have supported other bills to allow surveillance of suspected terrorists.
An Associated Press article described Sen. John McCain as a "deficit hawk" but provided no support for that characterization. While the article mentioned that McCain has called for making permanent President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, it did not note the absence of budget offsets to pay for them. Further, McCain repeatedly voted in favor of emergency supplemental spending bills for the Iraq war that exacerbated the deficit.
The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller claimed that "Senator John McCain began tapping into President Bush's prized political donor base on Tuesday." In fact, four of the five "major McCain fundraisers" Bumiller mentioned in her article were either Bush Rangers or Pioneers -- people who raised $100,000 and $200,000, respectively -- during the 2004 election and signed up to raise money for McCain in 2007 or 2006.
On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle claimed that while in "most campaigns," "Republicans begin on the right for their campaign and come to the middle for the fall," John McCain is "in the middle and he has to swing right for the primaries." In fact, McCain has already shifted rightward on immigration and taxes, and McCain himself has asserted that he is a "mainstream conservative."
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, David Shuster asked Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn if it was a "mistake" when he "brought up a word and reminded people of [Sen.] Barack Obama's past drug use" on Hardball in December 2007. But, Penn was not the one to bring up Obama's past drug use; it was Chris Matthews. Matthews, as well as Norah O'Donnell, have falsely asserted that Penn brought up the issue.
On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski said of Sen. John McCain, "[F]or the most part, he really does stick to his views even if they're unpopular," adding that McCain's "views on immigration were unpopular, and he stood by them even at the peril of his campaign." In fact, McCain once called for comprehensive reform that addressed the creation of a guest-worker program, a path to citizenship, and border security, but now says he supports addressing border security first.
In again refusing to acknowledge that former White House senior political adviser Karl Rove was involved in leaking the identity of former CIA operative Valerie Plame to conservative columnist Robert D. Novak, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely suggested that Rove was not a source for Novak.
Joe Scarborough stated on the February 1 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe: "Media Matters actually gets very agitated when we call [former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani 'America's Mayor.' In fact, they did a whole post on us calling Rudy 'America's Mayor,' so we decided to call him 'America's Mayor' about 48 times."
The New York Times' Leslie Wayne asserted that Sen. Barack Obama is "benefiting from millions of dollars being spent outside campaign finance rules," suggesting that the four groups she identified in the article are not subject to campaign finance regulations or, worse, are violating them. But three of the groups she named are political action committees (PACS) or have PACS and thus are subject to campaign finance restrictions, and she offered no evidence that they are not in compliance with those restrictions.