Reporting on a false assertion by Sen. John McCain during an interview with CBS News, The New York Times' Michael Cooper falsely suggested that CBS News actually aired McCain's false statement. In fact, the falsehood was expunged from the version of the interview aired on the July 22 broadcast of the CBS Evening News and, in its place, CBS spliced together three separate statements made by McCain, one of which responded to a different question from the one resulting in the falsehood.
In a second omission of a falsehood by Sen. John McCain during his interview with Katie Couric, the CBS Evening News did not air a statement in which McCain characterized the war in Iraq as "the first major conflict since 9/11," apparently disregarding the war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001.
On MSNBC Live, Alex Witt reported on a statement by Sen. John McCain's campaign criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for reportedly having "already set up a White House transition team." Witt did not challenge the suggestion that it is unusual or inappropriate for a presumptive nominee to plan for a presidential transition; indeed then-Gov. George W. Bush did in the summer of 2000. Nor did Witt note that Bush-Cheney transition director Clay Johnson said at the time that it would be "irresponsible not to be doing this."
In a statement reported by The Washington Post on July 24, CBS News now acknowledges that it erred in splicing video of an interview with Sen. John McCain that resulted in the expungement of a false statement made by McCain and the misleading inclusion of an answer McCain gave to a different question. But in the reported statement, CBS News senior VP Paul Friedman maintains, falsely, that the error "did not in any way distort what Senator McCain was saying."
On Glenn Beck, Ben Stein, while discussing Sen. Barack Obama's plan to deliver his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at Denver's Invesco Field, stated that he did not "like the idea of Senator Obama giving his acceptance speech in front of 75,000 wildly cheering people." Stein further stated: "Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that's something the Fuehrer would have done."
Revealing his "moral dilemma" about the 2008 presidential campaign, Focus on the Family's James Dobson said that while "neither of the candidates is consistent with my views," Sen. John McCain "comes closer to what I believe" than Sen. Barack Obama, adding that McCain "seems to understand the Muslim threat."
On MSNBC Live, Alex Witt uncritically repeated a statement by McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds defending a false statement by Sen. John McCain made the previous day during an interview with CBS, the video clip of which CBS edited to expunge the falsehood. But Witt did not note that Bounds inaccurately represented McCain's original statement or that McCain's statement was itself false.
Asked on Imus in the Morning about "the press coverage of Senator Obama," CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin responded: "[I]f there is one public figure in America who has gotten better press over the years than John McCain, I don't know who it is."
In his Los Angeles Times column, Jonah Goldberg falsely claimed that "[w]ithin months of the [Iraq] invasion, [Sen. John] McCain was calling for more troops and the head of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld." In fact, McCain did not call for Rumsfeld to be fired, or for his resignation.
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric aired portions of an interview she conducted with Sen. John McCain, removing a part of a response in which he falsely asserted that the 2007 U.S. troop surge "began the Anbar awakening." Couric gave no indication that McCain's comments had been edited in any manner, nor did she otherwise note his falsehood.
Several print media outlets reported that during a July 21 campaign event, Sen. John McCain, in the words of the Associated Press, "disparaged [Sen. Barack] Obama as 'someone who has no military experience whatsoever.' " But none of the articles noted that McCain has previously said he does not "accept the notion" that military experience is necessary to be an effective commander in chief.
In a discussion with Newt Gingrich on Fox News, Sean Hannity mischaracterized Sen. Barack Obama's comments about taking unilateral action against terrorism targets in Pakistan, if necessary, suggesting that Obama advocated "invading Pakistan." Rather, in an August 2007 speech, Obama said: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets [in Pakistan] and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Further, just two days earlier on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Gingrich himself spoke in favor of taking action against terrorists in Pakistan.
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote that an ad by Sen. John McCain "is accurate in saying that [Sen. Barack] Obama, who has spent most of the past two years campaigning, has not held a hearing on Afghanistan in the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee he chairs." But Kurtz failed to note that McCain -- a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- reportedly has not attended a single hearing of that committee related to Afghanistan in 2007-08.