On Morning Joe, John Harwood asserted that Sen. John McCain's speech on the economy "trying to go after ... corporate greed" demonstrated that his "maverick brand is intact," and that "this is a guy who has established a brand for himself that has endured ... despite that phase in 2007 when he was getting a lot of flak for sort of flip-flopping and trying to court the right." However, The Washington Post reported that "tax cuts, mostly for corporations and wealthy individuals, remain the centerpiece of McCain's economic agenda."
Reporting on the DNC's lawsuit seeking to force the Federal Election Commission to rule on Sen. John McCain's withdrawal from the public financing system for the presidential primary, neither the Los Angeles Times nor NPR noted that FEC chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.
In an article on Sen. John McCain's economic proposals, The Wall Street Journal reported that McCain "famously opposed President Bush's tax cuts a few years ago, saying they would irresponsibly swell the budget deficit." But, while that is the reason McCain now gives for having previously opposed the tax cuts, it was not the reason he gave in a 2001 floor statement explaining his opposition, in which he criticized the tax cuts for disproportionately benefiting the wealthy.
Rush Limbaugh claimed that "the Islamofascists are actually campaigning for the election of Democrats" and that "Islamofascists from [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad to [Ayman] al-Zawahiri ... Osama bin Laden, whoever, are constantly issuing Democrat talking points." Limbaugh previously asserted that Ahmadinejad's May 2006 letter to President Bush contained "Democratic talking points."
On Hardball, Chris Matthews said to Sen. John McCain, "[W]e're back at Villanova, and we've had enough softball, Senator. It's time for the show to start here." Matthews continued: "Let me ask you a tough one here. We've done the Abu Ghraib stuff. We're getting to the domestic Abu Ghraib here. Is [Sen.] Barack Obama an elitist?"
Chris Matthews purports to be "tough" and "blunt" on his show, but he has been effusive on the subject of Sen. John McCain. Matthews recently asked how people could "still think [McCain is] a straight-talk maverick when he's been in league with the president," yet he repeatedly refers to McCain as a "maverick." So, the question is: Which Chris Matthews will show up for his one-hour interview with McCain on the April 15 edition of Hardball?
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.
Most national media have yet to report on whether Sen. John McCain -- a member of the "Founding Board" of the nonpartisan voter education organization Project Vote Smart -- has been removed from the board for his failure to answer and return the group's Political Courage Test, which asks candidates about what policies they would support on a wide range of issues.
On Fox & Friends, former New York Sun columnist John Avlon discussed Jimmy Carter's planned meeting with a Hamas leader and claimed: "[T]his is going to really resurrect some of the old ghosts and bring [Sen. Barack] Obama's attitude of negotiating with all our enemies under further scrutiny." In fact, Obama has reportedly stated that his willingness to meet with international adversaries "does not include Hamas."
The Washington Times' Andrea Billups wrote that Sen. John McCain's "low profile during the Wright flap suggests he doesn't intend to make it a political issue, even if others in his party do." But Billups did not report that a McCain campaign aide reportedly distributed a video that "splices together the most inflammatory language of Jeremiah Wright with a series of other issues that have arisen in the campaign."
Blog posts by The New York Times and washingtonpost.com both reported on the Democratic National Committee's announcement that it would be filing a lawsuit to force the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate Sen. John McCain's unilateral withdrawal from the federal public financing system for the primary election, but neither noted that FEC chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.
A Washington Post article uncritically reported the claim by a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain that McCain "has been seen as standing up to his party and fighting on issues -- the war in Iraq and immigration -- that have damaged him politically." The Post did not report that McCain has reversed his position on immigration to more closely align himself with the Republican Party's base.
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."