MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named Fox News' Bill O'Reilly the "winner" of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for baselessly suggesting that a homeless encampment under an overpass in New Orleans that former Sen. John Edwards mentioned in a speech did not exist. Olbermann noted that the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer both published recent articles about the encampment.
A Washington Post article noted Sen. John McCain's response to a question about his "economic expertise" on NBC's Meet the Press, but failed to report that McCain's response came while acknowledging that he had wrongly suggested in a Republican presidential debate days earlier that he had not said "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues."
An Investors' Business Daily editorial falsely asserted that "Bill Clinton says we must slow the economy to save the earth." In fact, Clinton said in the January 30 speech to which the editorial referred that "rich" countries could take that approach, but then he stated why he thought it wouldn't work and asserted that the "only way" to fight global warming is to prove that doing so "is good economics."
On his nationally syndicated radio show, Neal Boortz made disparaging remarks about Hurricane Katrina victims, stating, "When these Katrina so-called refugees were scattered about the country, it was just a glorified episode of putting out the garbage." Boortz also described New Orleans as "a city of parasites, a city of people who could not and had no desire to fend for themselves."
The Washington Times claimed that during his 2004 Senate campaign, Barack Obama "took positions" on health care for undocumented immigrants, mandatory minimum sentences, and single-payer health insurance "that conflict with statements that he has made during his run for the White House." But the Times omitted key parts of Obama's statements on these issues, the inclusion of which would have undermined its characterization of Obama as having changed his positions.
In a blog post, ABC News' Jake Tapper wrote: "In a long, and interesting speech, [Bill Clinton] characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: 'We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.' " But Clinton did not say that is what has to be done to combat global warming.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity echoed President Bush's misleading claim during the State of the Union address that "116 million American taxpayers ... would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800" if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, a claim that Frank Luntz further exaggerated. In fact, because the tax cuts are largely skewed toward the wealthiest Americans, the "average of $1,800" figure cited by Bush dramatically overstates the impact of repealing the tax cuts on most Americans.
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.
Fox News and The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's claim that he originally voted against the Bush tax cuts because they were not paired with spending cuts. And in its endorsement of McCain, The Arizona Republic wrote that McCain "opposed the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 because they arrived with no commensurate spending cuts." But in a floor statement during the Senate debate on the 2001 tax cut bill, 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."
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.
PolitiFact.com asserted that "[i]n 2001, [Sen. John] McCain voted against a $1.35-trillion tax cut package, arguing that the tax cuts should be balanced by spending cuts." This assertion is false. While McCain now claims that was his reason for voting against the tax cuts in 2001, that was not the reason he gave at the time of the vote itself. In a floor statement, 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."
On MSNBC Live, Tamron Hall aired an ad from Sen. John McCain that accuses Mitt Romney of "chang[ing] positions like the wind" on his support for "the Bush tax cuts." But Hall did not mention that McCain himself has shifted positions on President Bush's tax cuts or that McCain has previously denounced "negative campaigns."
During a report on CNN's The Situation Room, Mary Snow uncritically aired Mike Huckabee's assertion that "[i]f we could free people up to go out and earn -- get their whole paychecks -- it could make a truly huge difference in securing jobs and making the economy work." However, in a previous report, CNN's Ali Velshi had rebutted the claim that, under the FairTax plan, workers would get to keep their entire paychecks, saying, "Promoters like Huckabee talk about how you'd get 100 percent of your salary paid to you. Now, that is a myth."
On his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck repeatedly suggested that the top Democratic presidential candidates have not shown support for the ongoing Writers Guild strike. In fact, all of the Democratic front-runners have expressed support for the striking writers. John Edwards joined them on a Los Angeles picket line, and Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton each issued statements of support for the writers. The candidates also withdrew from a planned December 10 CBS News debate, forcing its cancellation.
A USA Today article described John McCain as "a maverick senator from the West" who has taken "maverick stands, including votes against Bush's tax cuts in 2001" and "his sponsorship last year of an immigration bill that included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in this country," while a USA Today editorial asserted that "McCain's chief sin, apparently, is that he has broken ranks on issues that include campaign finance, President Bush's tax cuts, illegal immigration and global warming." Neither the article nor the editorial mentioned that McCain has since shifted positions on the Bush tax cuts and immigration.