Several media figures have falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama contradicted previous statements when he said during a March 18 speech on race: "Did I ever hear him [Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor] make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes." In fact, Obama previously asserted he had not been present for particular statements Wright made that were repeated by various media outlets and that spurred the recent controversy. He did not claim to have never heard Wright make "remarks that could be considered controversial."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough claimed that when Hillary Clinton said, "[N]o matter where you were born, or how much money you are born into, no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth," she was using "code language." Scarborough made the "code" claim two more times on Morning Joe.
Rush Limbaugh repeatedly claimed that Rev. James David Manning of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in Harlem -- who said that Sen. Barack Obama "was born trash," "pimps white women and black women," and is an "emissary of the devil" -- is "pro-Hillary" and "pro-Clinton." In fact, Manning stated in a January 25 letter: "I am not now, nor do I ever plan to be a supporter of the Clintons."
Discussing Sen. John McCain's false claim that Iranian operatives are "taking Al Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back," CNN's Wolf Blitzer falsely asserted that McCain "quickly corrected [it] after some prodding from his Senate colleague, Joe Lieberman." Blitzer then aired a spliced video of McCain's misstatement immediately followed by his "correct[ion]." In fact, as The Washington Post reported, it was later in the press conference when McCain was "[p]ressed to elaborate" on his claim and after he reiterated that "Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran," that Lieberman "stepped forward and whispered" in his ear. McCain then corrected himself.
Responding to Barack Obama's comment, made in his March 18 speech addressing controversial statements by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that his white grandmother had "uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes," Joe Scarborough said: "I really wonder why anybody, why any man, would throw his grandmother under the bus during a political speech regardless of the point he was trying to make." But last week, Scarborough said that "we all have people that we love dearly who are crazy," adding, "Do not hold me accountable for things that my father has said in the past ... or for e-mails ... that my mother sends me. ... And again, Mom and Dad, I love you. I'm just making a bigger point."
MSNBC's Pat Buchanan declared that "parts of" Sen. Barack Obama's speech on race and the controversy surrounding Rev. Jeremiah Wright were "very grating" because of what Buchanan asserted was "the constant sense of putting the burden on the society for what's happened to the African-American community and not enough of the acceptance of their own -- their own responsibility, frankly, for what's happened." However, Obama specifically emphasized during the speech that African-Americans should not become "victims of our past," but must instead "tak[e] full responsibility for our own lives."
Fox News' Sean Hannity and Brit Hume falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama's church, in Hannity's words, "deleted the Black Value System from [its] website," a claim put forth by conservative media outlets on March 16. But as FoxNews.com noted, a link to the tenets of the Black Value System can be found on the front page, "where it says 'Click here to read about the Black Value System.' "
The Politico's Jonathan Martin wrote that Sen. John McCain's "comprehensive approach to immigration reform could play well with Hispanics at all income levels," and that "his passion for addressing climate change and zeal for political reform could appeal to the sort of affluent, well-educated voters who have largely abandoned the GOP in the Bush years." But Martin did not note that McCain has shifted his position on comprehensive immigration reform and that he has a lifetime rating of 24 percent from the League of Conservation Voters.
On his radio program, Rush Limbaugh quoted from a Judicial Watch blog entry that falsely claimed an "electronic mail" allegedly from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said that "associates of FARC were scheduling a sit down with" Sen. Barack Obama "to lobby him." Limbaugh also read aloud a portion of the blog entry that misattributed a quote from right-wing news website WorldNetDaily to "evidence seized" from FARC, thereby falsely suggesting that a FARC spokesman said the group "see[s] 'more help coming next year if Barack Obama becomes president.' "
The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and Reuters reported Sen. John McCain's claim that his trip overseas is unrelated to his presidential campaign without noting that McCain's trip includes a fundraiser in London or that McCain campaign representatives have reportedly acknowledged the political strategy behind the trip.
On Special Report, discussing controversial statements by Jeremiah Wright, Bret Baier claimed that "it seemed to take Barack Obama a long time to denounce" Wright's statements, while, Baier said, Sen. John McCain denounced controversial statements from his supporters "right away." However, McCain has yet to address controversial comments John Hagee has made about homosexuals, women, Islam, and slavery, or any of the controversial comments by pastor Rod Parsley.
During recent editions of Good Morning America and World News, ABC discussed and aired reports on the "explosive statements" of Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but ABC has yet to report on controversial comments by two "allies" of Sen. John McCain. For example, evangelist John Hagee has said that "Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans," and pastor Rod Parsley reportedly wrote that "America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion [of Islam] destroyed."
On Hardball, Chris Matthews repeatedly referenced allegations that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was linked to a prostitution ring to call into question the role of superdelegates in the Democratic nominating process. Matthews stated: "I have to bring into question the prudence, the justice, the judiciousness of these superdelegates."
The Associated Press reported that "[Sen. John] McCain and [Sen. Barack] Obama have bickered over their prior commitment over a general election spending cap should they emerge as their respective party's nominee," without noting that McCain obtained a loan for his campaign in November 2007 that could have required him to stay in the race, regardless of the viability of his campaign, in order to apply for matching funds to pay back the loan.
The New York Times stated in an editorial that Sen. Barack Obama "has backed away from his proposal to run the general election on public funds." In fact, Obama recently confirmed he would "aggressively pursue" an agreement with the Republican nominee on "a publicly funded general election in 2008 with real spending limits."