On MSNBC, John Harwood described Sen. John McCain's apparent willingness to consider raising Social Security taxes -- a reversal from his previously stated position that there would be "no new taxes" in a McCain administration -- as an example of McCain's engaging in "truth-telling" and "candor." Harwood added: "That's the Straight Talk Express, which people got to know so well about John McCain in 2000."
The Wall Street Journal's Jesse Drucker wrote that Sen. Barack Obama has said he will "seek to raise" the capital gains tax to "at least 20%, the rate before the 2003 cut, and possibly higher." In fact, Obama has said he would not raise the capital gains tax on individuals with income of less than $250,000 -- a fact noted by WSJ reporter Tom Herman in an "Ask Dow Jones" Q-and-A.
Fox News' Stuart Varney misrepresented the cost of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, falsely asserting that the "House, right now, [is] voting on that $300 billion housing bailout bill." During the segment, on-air captions read "$300B Bailout Bill," and "House Voting On $300B Housing Bailout Bill." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill "would increase budget deficits (or reduce future surpluses) by about $24.9 billion over the 2008-2018 period."
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw asked Al Gore if, on the subject of renewable energy, "Hillary Clinton reset this debate when she said there should be a summer holiday on the federal gas tax." But Brokaw did not mention that Sen. John McCain also proposed a gas-tax holiday or that one of his top advisers still touts the plan as "the best stimulus package we can have right now."
Sean Hannity falsely suggested that federal areas legally available for leasing by oil companies contain no oil. In fact, federal agencies have estimated that more oil exists on the tens of millions of acres of federal areas currently legally available for drilling than there is in the areas currently off limits to drilling.
In an article citing the newly released Field Poll, The Wall Street Journal reported that "43% of Californians support the idea of drilling for oil or natural gas along the state's coast, compared with 51% who oppose it," without noting that the poll question included the false suggestion that "drill[ing] more oil and gas wells in state tidelands" would in fact "deal with the rising cost of energy" in the near future.
On Bill O'Reilly's radio show, financial commentator Jonathan Hoenig said: "[I]f there's bad guys out there, Bill, and you alluded to Iran and whatnot -- let's deal with them militarily. You know, we didn't win -- win World War II by cutting back on German sausages." Hoenig has previously advocated military strikes on Iran and North Korea in appearances on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto.
In an editorial about the pay gap between male and female workers, The Washington Times falsely asserted that "the relevant factors that affect pay -- occupation, experience, seniority, education and hours worked -- are ignored by those citing the wage gap." The editorial also asserted that "women tend to place a higher priority on flexibility and personal fulfillment" than on higher pay. In fact, a GAO study found that a pay gap persists even when controlling for work experience, seniority, education, industry, occupation, race, marital status, and job tenure.
In a column criticizing Sen. Barack Obama's tax proposals, Thomas Sowell wrote that it is a "well-documented fact" that "lower tax rates on capital gains had produced more actual revenue collected from that tax than the higher tax rates had." In fact, numerous economists have challenged the assertion that cuts in the capital gains tax raise revenue in the long term. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the 2006 extension of the 2003 cuts on capital gains taxes would result in decreased revenues of $20 billion over 10 years.
On MSNBC, Joe Watkins asserted: "The reality is that John McCain actually supported tax cuts. The reason why he didn't support the tax cuts earlier is because he said you've got to slow down government spending. You can't spend and cut at the same time." In fact, McCain said in a May 2001 statement on the Senate floor that he was voting against the Bush tax cuts because "so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief." Watkins also claimed McCain "crafted that [comprehensive immigration reform] bill with Democrats, with Teddy Kennedy among other people. ... [H]ere's a guy willing to take big-time risks," but didn't note that McCain has said he would not support the bill if it came to a vote on the Senate floor.
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw did not challenge Carly Fiorina's assertion that "[t]he principal reason that [Sen. John McCain] voted against the Bush tax cuts is that they were not accompanied by fiscal restraint." In fact, the reason McCain gave for voting against the tax cuts in a May 26, 2001, statement on the Senate floor was that "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 his radio program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's proposal "for rescinding the Bush tax cuts" would result in "families of four that make $50,000 a year ... paying another $2,000 in taxes a year." In fact, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for middle-class families and rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on people who are making $250,000 a year or more.
During a CBS Evening News interview, Katie Couric did not challenge Sen. John McCain's suggestion that "five Nobel laureates and 300 economists" agree that his economic plan will allow him to balance the budget, despite an article, excerpted hours before on CBSNews.com, reporting that the statement the economists signed in support of McCain's economic plan said nothing about balancing the budget. The article further quoted one signatory saying, "He's not going to balance the budget. No one's going to balance the budget."
On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell twice failed to challenge claims by McCain economic adviser Carly Fiorina that a summer gas-tax holiday is "the best stimulus package we can have right now." Mitchell did not challenge Fiorina's assertions by noting the assessment by many economists that the relief to consumers would be minimal and that the plan would likely generate increased revenue for oil companies.
In an article on Sen. John McCain's proposed plan to balance the budget by 2013, The Washington Post's Michael Shear reported that "Democrats immediately criticized McCain, asserting that his promise is unrealistic, given his stated goals of tax cuts and other government spending." In fact, several economists and nonpartisan analysts have also criticized McCain's plan, reportedly saying that McCain's proposal for numerous tax cuts would bloat the deficit or require huge spending cuts.