Newsweek has corrected George Will's false assertion in his Newsweek column that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Will made the same assertion on ABC's This Week, but ABC has yet to issue a correction on the show.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer made the misleading assertion that "the House of Representatives just passed a $300 billion plan to help struggling homeowners." In fact, while the bill to which Blitzer referred would authorize the FHA to insure up to $300 billion in homeownership retention loans for qualified homeowners, the Congressional Budget Office estimated a total cost of $2.7 billion for the program.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto misrepresented the projected cost of a federal "housing rescue package" by saying it was going to cost "300 billion bucks," while an on-air graphic read, "House lawmakers set to pass $300B housing bill; bailout?" In fact, while the legislation would authorize the FHA to insure up to $300 billion in homeownership retention loans, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the program would cost the government $2.7 billion between 2008-2013.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's claim that Sen. John McCain opposed President Bush's 2001 tax cuts because he "wanted a tax cut, a very healthy tax cut, but he wanted spending limitations." In fact, when he voted against the cuts in 2001, contrary to what he now says on the campaign trail, McCain made no mention of deficit concerns or of the absence of offsetting spending cuts.
In his Newsweek column, George Will falsely claimed that Social Security taxes are levied on household income. He had similarly falsely asserted on ABC's This Week that Sen. Barack Obama "wants to raise taxes on a lot of people, beginning with those earning about $100,000 a year, a household." In fact, Social Security taxes are levied based on individual income, and contrary to his assertion in Newsweek, a married couple with each spouse making less than $102,000 would not face a payroll tax increase if the income cap was raised, even if combined they made more than the current cap.
On The Situation Room, Dana Bash uncritically aired a clip of Sen. John McCain saying of health care plans put forward by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama: "This will accomplish one thing only. We will replace the inefficiency, irrationality, and uncontrolled costs of the current system with the inefficiency, irrationality, and uncontrolled costs of a government monopoly." In fact, neither Clinton nor Obama has proposed a "government monopoly" on insurance coverage; rather, both have called for individuals to choose their own insurance.
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!"
On MSNBC Live, as host Alex Witt reported on a press conference held by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on-screen text read: "GOP leaders criticize Dems for delaying vote on Fair Pay Act," falsely suggesting that Republicans wanted to pass the measure. At no point in the coverage of McConnell's press conference did Witt or MSNBC in its on-screen text explain that the Republicans planned to filibuster the bill.
This Week's George Stephanopoulos did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that "history shows every time you have cut capital gains taxes, revenues have increased -- going back to Jack Kennedy." Stephanopoulos did not note that, notwithstanding a potential short-term revenue increase, many economists have challenged the claim that revenue goes up over the long term as a result of capital gains tax rates being cut.
During the April 16 Democratic presidential debate, Charles Gibson asserted of capital-gains tax cuts that "in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down." In fact, economists dispute Gibson's assertion. Moreover, looking forward, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the 2006 extension of the 2003 cuts on capital-gains taxes would result in decreased revenues over 10 years.
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?
Neal Boortz asserted that "the single most dangerous entity, group of people in this country right now are the teachers unions," adding that "[t]hey do more damage to this country than all the drug pushers together. ... If I had a button right now, two buttons -- push this button and it gets rid of all the drug dealers; push this button, it gets rid of the teachers unions -- I'm getting rid of the teachers unions."
In a report on Sen. John McCain's economic speech, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell aired a clip of McCain saying of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: "They're going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year." However, O'Donnell did not note that Clinton and Obama have proposed tax cuts for middle- and low-income Americans.
On MSNBC Live, Mika Brzezinski said that Sen. John McCain "wants to eliminate the federal gas tax -- that's about 20 percent of the cost." Later, Monica Novotny said McCain is "proposing suspending the federal gas tax for the summer, potentially cutting prices by nearly 20 percent." In fact, the federal gas tax -- 18.4 cents per gallon -- comprises only 5.4 percent of the current average cost of regular gasoline.
A post on The Washington Post's political blog, The Trail, stated that John McCain "once again made clear his opposition to broad federal intervention or bailouts." But the post, by Dan Balz, did not note that McCain reportedly agreed with the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion loan to facilitate JP Morgan Chase's acquisition of Bear Stearns.