The New York Times' political blog, The Caucus, reported that Sen. John McCain's campaign "believes" Sen. Barack Obama "reneged on his pledge to accept public financing," and that McCain's campaign "circulated an editorial ... that questioned Mr. Obama's commitment to the public financing system." However, The Caucus did not report that McCain may have violated campaign finance laws by surpassing spending limits under the public financing system for the primary campaign.
The Politico's Jonathan Martin asserted as "fact" that Al Gore and John Kerry "were elitists and were out of touch with average Americans." But to the extent the public perceived them in that manner, the media played a dominant role in creating and promoting that perception while largely avoiding discussion of whether President Bush was an "elitist."
An ABC News Political Radar blog post stated that Sen. Barack Obama made a "near gaffe" in saying, " 'Al Qaeda is not in Ir -- ' ... at which point he caught himself and finished the sentence by saying: 'the key Al Qaeda leadership is not based in Iraq,' " and also noted that the statement was "quickly seized on by aides to presumptive Republican nominee John McCain R-Ariz." But the blog post did not note that McCain himself has repeatedly made actual misstatements regarding Al Qaeda.
Fox News' Sean Hannity previewed a segment about former President Jimmy Carter's planned meeting with a Hamas leader by asking, "Is this what the Obama foreign policy will look like?" In fact, Sen. Barack Obama has said his willingness to meet with international adversaries "does not include Hamas."
A Bloomberg article noted that Sen. John McCain "has pledged to take public financing [for the general election presidential campaign] if the Democrat does. His campaign noted that [Sen. Barack] Obama 'promised the American people' he would take public financing," then quoted a McCain adviser as saying, "Senator McCain isn't in the habit of breaking his word, and he hopes Senator Obama doesn't either." The article did not report that McCain could be breaking federal law for failing to abide by restrictions placed on candidates participating in the public financing system during their party's primary season.
Politico senior political writer Jonathan Martin reported on Republican National Committee "[i]nternal polling data" showing Sen. John McCain "with a solid lead over both his potential general election rivals," but Martin did not report -- nor did he give any indication that he had sought -- any additional information about the RNC's data, or provide any justification for treating the results of an internal partisan poll as newsworthy.
On Hannity & Colmes, Frank Luntz said of Sen. Barack Obama: "[W]hen he gave his [March 18] speech on race, it was the first time that he used American flags behind him." However, Media Matters has identified numerous prior instances in which Obama spoke in front of either multiple American flags or a prominent American flag.
In reporting on whether Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama would accept public funding in a general presidential election, The New York Times and Newsweek did not mention that McCain faces possible fines and jail time for breaking spending limits imposed on candidates participating in the public financing system during the primary.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough defended Sen. John McCain's apparent conflation of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, saying: "The thing is, everybody is obsessing over the fact that he keeps confusing Sunni and Shia. The fact is, I -- you know what? I could start peppering people with questions about Sunnis and Shia and Kurds, and the relationships there, and 99 percent of Americans wouldn't know; 99 percent of Americans wouldn't give a damn."
During a panel discussion on America's Election HQ that included two former Bush administration officials but no progressives or Democrats, Ari Fleischer said Sen. John McCain's questioning of Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker showed "he had the best intuitive understanding of the issues." But no participant in the discussion noted that during his questioning of Petraeus, McCain asked of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQ-I): "Certainly not an obscure sect of -- of the Shiites all -- overall?" In fact, AQ-I is a Sunni Muslim, not Shiite, group.
On Today, Matt Lauer, Tim Russert, and Andrea Mitchell discussed Bill and Hillary Clinton's tax returns, speculating about, in Lauer's words, the "actual impact" the returns will have on "those so-called blue-collar workers that are so much a part of her base." They did not mention that Sen. John McCain has yet to release his tax returns, nor did they speculate as to what impact McCain's family's wealth would have on his ability to connect with "blue-collar workers."
CNN's The Situation Room and a Wall Street Journal article both noted that, during a Senate hearing, Sen. John McCain asked Gen. David H. Petraeus about whether Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQ-I) is a "major threat," without also noting that McCain went on to ask of Al Qaeda in Iraq: "Certainly not an obscure sect of -- of the Shiites all -- overall?" In fact, AQ-I is a Sunni Muslim, not Shiite, group.
On Fox News' Your World, Monica Crowley asserted that "liberals like the Clintons" argue "against tax cuts" and to "let the government have more of your money." In fact, Sen. Hillary Clinton's website says that she would "[l]ower taxes for middle class families by: extending the middle class tax cuts ... offering new tax cuts for healthcare, college and retirement, and expanding the EITC [earned income tax credit] and the child care tax credit."
On Morning Joe, Tim Russert asserted, "I remember I asked the candidates in a debate last fall whether they would pledge to have all troops out within their first four years. None of them would make the pledge. By the last debate in Cleveland, both [Sens. Barack] Obama and [Hillary] Clinton were saying, 'Oh no, we'll have them out by '09.' " In fact, neither candidate said during the Cleveland debate that he or she would withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2009. During the "debate last fall," they talked about beginning withdrawal as soon as possible, while leaving troops to perform certain functions after the withdrawal is complete, and Russert himself stated during the Cleveland debate that both candidates have said they would "keep a residual force" in Iraq.