On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Carly Fiorina's assertion that Sen. John McCain "will balance his budget by the end of 2013." In fact, both McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin and McCain himself have reportedly said that he would balance the budget in eight years.
The Hill made a misleading comparison between the amount in earmarks reportedly requested by Sen. Hillary Clinton for 2009 and the amount secured by other senators for the 2008 fiscal year in reporting that Clinton "has requested nearly $2.3 billion in federal earmarks for 2009, almost three times the largest amount received by a single senator this year." The Hill did not report which senator had requested the most in earmarks for 2009 -- presumably because senators are not required to make their earmark requests public, a detail not noted until the 22nd paragraph of the Hill article. The Drudge Report further distorted the Hill article to falsely claim: "Clinton requests $2.3B in earmarks -- three times largest amount ever by Senator!"
During ABC's April 16 Democratic presidential debate, Charles Gibson claimed that the issue of whether Sen. Barack Obama wears a flag lapel pin "comes up again and again when we talk to voters" and "is all over the Internet." But McClatchy Newspapers reported that the woman who asked Obama about the flag lapel pin during the debate was "tracked ... down" by ABC "after she was quoted in a New York Times story about white voters in small-town Latrobe, Pa., revealing her as 52, out of work and against Obama." If, as Gibson claimed, the flag pin issue "comes up again and again when we talk to voters," why did ABC turn to the one voter from Pennsylvania quoted in The New York Times criticizing Obama over the issue?
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 Washington Post's Paul Kane claimed that Sen. John McCain is "using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack" against Sen. Hillary Clinton. But in the same article, Kane contradicted his claim that McCain has a policy of "blanket opposition to earmarked spending," reporting: "McCain, who has helped lead efforts to strip some earmarks from Senate bills, has not focused on the money headed to his home state. Other Arizona lawmakers secured more than $214 million in pet projects in fiscal 2008 spending bills."
The New York Times' Carl Hulse asserted that, while Democrats were "pleased" that President Bush was giving his final State of the Union speech, "they were not as elated about ... its emphasis on reducing the pet projects known as earmarks beloved by many in Congress." Yet Hulse left out a different reason for congressional criticism of Bush's earmark threat -- that, when the Republicans controlled Congress, Bush approved all of their earmark-laden appropriations bills. Nor did Hulse report that the Democrats approved fewer earmarks last year than the Republicans did in 2006 when they controlled Congress.
Sean Hannity exaggerated the number of jobs created under Ronald Reagan, asserting that "21 million new jobs" were created, and falsely claimed that Reagan "doubl[ed] the income for the federal government" and oversaw the "longest peacetime -- period of peacetime economic growth in history." In fact, the number of jobs increased by 16 million; federal revenue increased 15 percent; and the longest period of peacetime economic growth occurred between March 1991 and March 2001.
MSNBC repeatedly aired a campaign advertisement from Sen. John McCain's campaign attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton's support for a $1 million earmark for a museum at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York, and other media outlets noted the ad. But none of these outlets reported that McCain had skipped the vote on removing the earmark.
On MSNBC Live, Amy Robach and Alex Witt separately aired a campaign ad from Republican presidential candidate John McCain attacking Sen. Hillary Clinton's support for a $1 million earmark for a museum at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York. But Robach, Witt, NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell and Congressional Quarterly's Jonathan Allen all failed to note that McCain had skipped the vote on removing the earmark. Robach and Witt also falsely referred to the advertisement as "new."
In articles on President Bush's December 20 press conference, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today uncritically reported Bush's criticism of Congress for passing all but two of the fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills as a single omnibus appropriations bill "at the last minute, nearly three months after the end of the fiscal year." But none of the articles noted that during his seven years in the White House, Bush has never signed all of Congress' appropriations bills into law before the beginning of the fiscal year, and has on two occasions signed omnibus spending bills on dates later than that on which the fiscal year 2008 bill passed.
A Politico article suggested that the Republican-led 109th Congress was responsible for a decrease in the number of earmarks approved in 2006 (for the 2007 fiscal year) relative to previous years. But the article did not mention that following the Democratic victories in the 2006 midterm elections, the GOP leadership declined to pass nine of 11 annual appropriations bills and that in order to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2007, Democrats placed a one-time moratorium on earmarks.
The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher asserted that President Bush "is generally against tax increases as he believes they stifle economic growth. So his idea is to pay for the war by cutting back elsewhere in the budget." In fact, inflation-adjusted non-defense discretionary outlays have risen each year since Bush took office; Bush has actually paid for the war by deficit spending.
During a CNN interview about the effect of Karl Rove's resignation, Suzanne Malveaux did not challenge Tom DeLay's claim that "[t]he president held the line on spending," despite the fact that, even though President Bush assumed office with a $125.3 billion surplus, the Bush administration has run a deficit in every fiscal year of the Bush presidency. Additionally, Malveaux did not note Rove's reported assertion that his "biggest error" of the 2006 election cycle was "not working soon enough to replace Republicans tainted by scandal," or point out that DeLay himself remained in the House for several months following his indictment on money laundering and conspiracy charges.