Reporting on Sen. Barack Obama's answer to a question about his "favorite Scripture," Fox News' Major Garrett asserted that "Obama's answer [was] not exactly rooted in Scripture but [was] in the ballpark," and then aired a clip of Obama saying: "[T]he Golden Rule. It's very simple. I mean, it's a very simple concept. I think what he asks of me is that I treat my brother as -- and my sister -- as I would have them treat me." Contrary to Garrett's claim, Obama's answer is, in fact, "rooted in Scripture."
Reporting on a speech by Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Politico's Mike Allen misrepresented Obama's April 16 debate response on "disown[ing]" Wright's controversial remarks by writing, "Obama referred to Wright as 'somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned,' then clarified that to say he had disowned the comments." Allen left out the first part of Obama's sentence: "[T]he notion that somehow that the American people are going to be distracted once again by comments not made by me but somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned, I think doesn't give the American people enough credit."
In reporting on the Democratic National Committee's ad highlighting Sen. John McCain's statement that the U.S. might be in Iraq for "a hundred" years, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and the Tribune Co.'s Washington bureau all reported that McCain indicated that the extended involvement in Iraq that he was referring to would be similar to the presence the U.S. has had in South Korea. But they did not report that McCain has previously dismissed the idea of a Korea-like U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
MSNBC's Tamron Hall held a discussion with North Carolina radio host Jeff Katz about the effect Sen. Barack Obama former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is having on North Carolina voters without disclosing that Katz's website prominently encourages visitors to "Help the N.C. GOP keep their ad on the air," referring to an ad that attacks Obama for his connections to Wright, and contains the false claim that Obama "won't pledge to the flag."
The Washington Post uncritically quoted a voter's assertion -- apparently referring to a chain email containing a photograph of Sen. Barack Obama standing, but without his hand over his heart -- that "[f]rom what I can tell, if he becomes president he will refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance." However, Post "fact checker" Michael Dobbs previously noted that "[c]ontrary to the e-mails attacking Obama for disrespecting the flag, the candidates were not reciting the pledge of allegiance. They were standing for the national anthem." Indeed, other photos show Obama with his hand over his heart during the national anthem.
On Hannity's America, discussing what host Sean Hannity said was Sen. Barack Obama's "friendly relationship" with Weather Underground member William Ayers, retired New York City Police detective Paul Ragonese, who survived a 1970 bombing attack by the Weather Underground, stated, "I can't understand why somebody who wants to be president of the United States, I'll be perfectly honest with you, would want to associate or not condemn the actions of people in the past." Hannity did not note that, in fact, Obama has condemned Ayers' "detestable acts."
NBC's Today and CBS' The Early Show both aired interviews with Sen. John McCain while the candidate was in New Orleans, but in neither case asked McCain about controversial comments that one of his endorsers, Pastor John Hagee, recently made about Hurricane Katrina, though both programs discussed controversial comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Referring to a controversial ad by the North Carolina Republican Party attacking Sen. Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly said: "[T]he reality -- and we've researched this -- is that Senator McCain has no power at all in North Carolina, all right? ... And that's the truth." But several people identified as having leadership positions in the North Carolina Republican Party also have "official" roles in the McCain campaign. Additionally, neither McCain nor the Republican National Committee, which has also denounced the ad, has suggested that the North Carolina GOP will face any repercussions for its refusal to pull the ad.
In an April 24 PBS NewsHour report about a New York Times article that revealed "the role of military analysts on TV and in the Pentagon," Judy Woodruff stated:"[W]e invited Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC to participate, but they declined our offer or did not respond." Further, according to a search of programs in Nexis, several of these outlets have yet to report on the revelations in the April 20 Times article.
A week after claiming that Sen. Barack Obama "can't walk into a dinette [sic] with five or six guys there, white guys, in some cases. He can't just shake hands and hang out," Chris Matthews asserted, "[Obama] doesn't seem to have the knack for walking into a dinette [sic] with regular people in it and just having fun, just connecting."
Beginning on the afternoon of April 23, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN aired a controversial ad by the North Carolina Republican Party attacking Sen. Barack Obama and two Democratic gubernatorial candidates at least 22 times combined, in most cases also noting that Sen. John McCain denounced the ad. As media figures on MSNBC and CNN pointed out, the repeated broadcasts benefit the North Carolina Republican Party, which does not have to pay for them, and they presumably benefit McCain, even as he is credited with taking the high road for criticizing the ad.
Discussing on Fox & Friends whether Sen. John McCain is "fit enough to be the next commander in chief," radio host Mike Papantonio said, "[W]e ought to have the right to know about what's the status of the cancer that he had -- he developed two times, malignant melanoma." Steve Doocy replied, "That is true. All right. And I believe those records have all been released." However, while McCain released his full medical records in 1999, he has yet to release his recent medical records, which his campaign reportedly says it will do "sometime in May" after reportedly having "pledged to release [his cancer] test results before the end of April."
Discussing an attack ad on Sen. Barack Obama that Sen. John McCain has denounced, Fox & Friends co-host Andrew Napolitano asserted: "John McCain, for his whole career, has tried to stay above this kind of a fray. Why should he change now?" Napolitano did not point out that this is the latest example of a pattern in which McCain denounces smears against his opponents, while also benefiting from them. Moreover, in asserting that McCain has "tried to stay above this kind of a fray," Napolitano seemingly ignored several instances in which McCain has misrepresented the statements or positions of his opponents.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer left unchallenged Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's claim that "what Senator [John] McCain talks about" when he said he advocated a long-term military presence in Iraq is "to make sure that those who have lost their lives, that their lives were not lost in vain. I mean, we still maintain troop presence in South Korea." In fact, McCain has made inconsistent statements on the subject of a troop presence in Iraq modeled on South Korea, which Blitzer did not note.
Reporting on an ad from the North Carolina Republican Party that attacks Sen. Barack Obama for his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell asserted that Sen. John McCain "is taking a very strong stand," telling the party "that he does not want them to run this ad." She later said that "John McCain immediately demanded that the North Carolina Republicans kill the ad." By simply reporting McCain's condemnation of the North Carolina ad, Mitchell was repeating a pattern in the media of allowing McCain, as Slate.com's Melinda Henneberger noted, to "take the high road," while his supporters engage in smears for his benefit.