NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening News have yet to cover Sen. John McCain's campaign loan, despite a February 29 post on the MSNBC.com blog First Read that stated: "We've noticed today the [Sen. John] McCain/FEC stories -- that McCain very well might have to abide by spending limits before the GOP convention -- are starting to roll in. But why is this only now starting to get more traction, compared with all the stories about [Sen. Barack] Obama waffling on his pledge to accept public funds in the general?"
While guest-hosting CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, Michael Graham asserted as fact that Sen. Barack Obama is "the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate." While The National Journal rated Obama the most liberal senator in 2007, the rankings were based on a subjective selection of Senate votes by the magazine's staff. By contrast, another study based on all non-unanimous votes found Obama to be tied for the 10th most liberal senator in 2007.
In an article on five new FEC confirmations, The Washington Post did not note that President Bush withdrew the renomination of chairman David Mason, who has requested that Sen. John McCain assure the FEC he did not act improperly by signing a loan agreement that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.
On Fox News, Dick Morris asserted that as president, Sen. Barack Obama "would double the capital gains tax. That means that you get far less when you sell your home, or your 401(k) or your stock plan," and added, "[H]e would increase the limit on Social Security taxes, which means instead of paying 12 1/2 percent of the first $100,000, you pay it on everything that you're making." Morris' claims are false or highly misleading.
Rush Limbaugh asserted, "Hamas has endorsed Obama. ... Why do you think they've endorsed Obama? Because they want a very strong ally for Israel in the White House?" In fact, Obama stated his support for Israel in a speech June 4 speech in which he said: "Those who threaten Israel threaten us. ... And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security." Hamas reportedly responded to Obama's remarks by saying, "Hamas does not differentiate between the two presidential candidates, Obama and McCain, because their policies regarding the Arab-Israel conflict are the same and are hostile to us, therefore we do have no preference and are not wishing for either of them to win."
On Meet the Press, host Brian Williams allowed Sen. Lindsey Graham to crop an answer Sen. Barack Obama gave on a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire about whether he would commit to public financing for the general election if his opponent did so. While Graham read the question and beginning of Obama's answer aloud, neither he nor Williams noted that Obama concluded his answer by saying he would "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election," which the Obama campaign maintains he did before determining an agreement with the McCain campaign was unreachable.
Numerous media outlets have reported all or part of Sen. John McCain's statement rebuking Sen. Barack Obama for his decision to forgo public financing in the general election without mentioning that during the primary, McCain signed a loan that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.
The Politico's Ben Smith reported that Sen. Barack Obama "has complained that [Sen. John] McCain said he couldn't control attack ads from outside groups -- though the only outside attack ads to run this cycle have been financed by Obama allies and directed at McCain." In fact, the Vets for Freedom political action committee launched two Internet ads in May attacking Obama over issues related to the Iraq war, and the independent group Freedom's Watch ran television ads attacking Obama and two Democratic congressional candidates.
A USA Today article quoted Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Sen. John McCain, who said, "Unlike Barack Obama, John McCain believes in keeping his word to the American people, and he will undergo public financing for the general election." But the article did not note that while the McCain campaign, through Bounds, now says McCain will not opt out of public financing because he is "keeping his word to the American people," McCain himself previously indicated that his decision over whether to take public financing if Obama opted out would depend not on "keeping his word" but on whether it would be financially prudent to do so. Indeed, McCain senior adviser Charlie Black reportedly said, "We could sit down in July or August and say, 'Hey, we're raising a lot of money and maybe we should forgo it.' ... We don't have enough data."
On CNN's American Morning, reporting on Sen. Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing for the general election, Candy Crowley asserted that "you can expect that [Sen. John McCain] will hit Obama on two scores: One, you went back on what you said you would do; and two, this is not how to reform Washington." But Crowley did not report that McCain may actually be breaking campaign finance law.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity twice called Sen. Barack Obama the "No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate," failing to note that the National Journal vote ranking to which he was referring -- which said nothing about Obama being "radical" -- was based on a subjective selection of Senate votes by the magazine's staff, or that a more comprehensive examination of Senate votes produced a different result.
The Chicago Tribune juxtaposed smears on Sen. John McCain in 2000 with Sen. Barack Obama's May 8 comment that McCain was "losing his bearings" without noting the context of Obama's remarks that would have made clear that the Tribune was advancing a false comparison. Obama made the remark in response to an attack by McCain and was accusing McCain of violating his pledge to avoid negative campaigning.
Referring to a New York Times article headlined "Those Loyal to the Clintons Take Note of Who Was Not," Monica Crowley claimed that those who reportedly spoke to the Times did so "only on the condition of anonymity, because they also do not want to end up in cement shoes." Crowley also described Hillary Clinton's purported treatment of someone who is, in Crowley's words, "backing the 'hope' guy": "[I]t will be too bad for you because girlfriend will cut you. She will strap you into the electric chair. Then she will waterboard you. Then she will slowly and methodically pull off each one of your toenails. Then she will deprive you of sleep by blasting 'The Best of the '80s Hair Bands' at you, and then she will cut off your manhood, and then she will throw the switch."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann awarded the "Bronze" to the Associated Press in his nightly Worst Person in the World segment for calling Sen. Barack Obama "inexperienced in foreign affairs" in a June 5 news analysis. Calling the analysis a "really slanted piece," Olbermann said: "When the AP starts taking sides and starts reading like The Washington Times, or The Nation, we're all in a lot of trouble."
The Washington Post falsely suggested in an editorial that, in contrast with Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain has said definitively that he will accept public financing for the general election. In fact, in recent interviews with ABC News and USA Today, McCain did not give a definitive answer. According to USA Today, McCain "said he has not decided whether to accept about $85 million in public financing for the fall campaign."