Reports by ABC, USA Today, and CNN purported to contrast the positions of President Bush and John McCain on tax cuts by noting only McCain's initial opposition to Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. None of the outlets noted, however, that McCain has changed his position and now supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent, or that McCain has repeatedly claimed that he initially opposed the tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts, reasoning he did not mention in his 2001 floor statement explaining his vote.
On Fox & Friends, Karl Rove claimed that there is "a difference between" Sen. Barack Obama's current position on NAFTA and "what Senator Obama said in 2004, when he ran for the Senate and said we need more trade agreements like NAFTA." Rove cited no specific 2004 comments by Obama or news stories about Obama. In fact, Obama's statement during an interview on the same program echoed his position on trade as reported in a September 27, 2004, Chicago Tribune article, and several other media outlets reported similar statements from Obama in 2004.
An Associated Press article on President Bush's plan to endorse Sen. John McCain reported: "Bush will be giving his stamp of approval to a GOP maverick who's crossed swords with him on things like campaign finance, tax cuts and waterboarding. But the White House insists that Bush's endorsement will be heartfelt." In fact, while McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, he now supports making the tax cuts permanent.
On The Tim Russert Show, Russert falsely claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton said in 2004: "[O]n substance, NAFTA's been good for New York and America." In fact, what Clinton said in 2004 was: "I think on balance NAFTA has been good for New York and America, but I also think that there are a number of areas where we're not dealt with in an upfront way." On Meet the Press, Russert claimed that a video clip showed Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama "coming out against NAFTA"; as the clips made clear, neither candidate "c[ame] out against NAFTA."
In an article about President Bush's February 28 press conference, The New York Times uncritically quoted Bush saying the following in response to a question about the source of funding for his presidential library: "I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices and, you know, my trip to Africa, and haven't seen the fund-raising strategy yet." The Times did not mention that earlier in the press conference, Bush said he "hadn't heard" that gas prices might rise to $4 gallon.
CNN's Tom Foreman uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's claim that he voted against President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts because "he wanted reductions in spending, too." But in a 2001 floor statement explaining his opposition, 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."
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."
NBC's David Gregory stated: "John McCain is not going to pander to the right. He did that once and it didn't work." The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson and MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan both agreed, asserting: "He's not going to do it." In fact, McCain has attempted to satisfy conservative Republicans by reversing his positions on issues such as taxes, immigration, and the religious right.
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."
The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg wrote that Sen. John McCain's "differences with the White House are well known," and added: "He did not vote for the president's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, a sore point with groups like the conservative Club for Growth." However, Stolberg did not note that after opposing the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, McCain now supports making the tax cuts permanent -- a position Bush noted during his Sunday interview.
In an article on Sen. John McCain's efforts "to rally conservatives to his candidacy," The Washington Post asserted that McCain "has diverged from conservatives on several issues, including campaign finance legislation, immigration policy and President Bush's tax cuts." But, unlike a previous Post article that documented McCain's "flip-flops" on taxes and immigration, this one did not mention that McCain has changed his positions on those two issues to more closely align himself with the base of the Republican Party.
A link on BillOReilly.com, the website of Fox News and conservative radio talk-show host Bill O'Reilly, was titled "Those weren't veterans John Edwards, they were sex offenders," and linked to an Associated Press article about Florida's efforts "to dissolve a community of sex offenders living under a bridge." Media Matters for America has documented the back-and-forth between O'Reilly and former Sen. John Edwards over homelessness and homeless veterans.
A Washington Post article described Sen. John McCain as a "conservative maverick" and asserted that he has committed "heresies on taxes, immigration and campaign finance." Yet Kane did not mention that on immigration and taxes, McCain has either reversed or shifted his positions to more closely align himself with the mainstream of the Republican Party.