During a CBS report purporting to discuss what "leads a candidate to exaggerate or be hyperbolic about his or her record," Time magazine's Joe Klein was quoted stating: "John McCain doesn't need to exaggerate his biography. It's a spectacular biography. But he does exaggerate the threat of Al Qaeda in Iraq." In fact, McCain's campaign has reportedly admitted McCain made at least one false claim about his "record," when he stated that "I'm the only one that said that Rumsfeld had to go." In reality, McCain never called for Rumsfeld's resignation. Further, he has admitted to making a false statement regarding Iran's involvement in training members of Al Qaeda and has repeatedly distorted the positions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
On America's Election HQ, Megyn Kelly repeatedly distorted comments by Howard Dean and falsely claimed that Dean charged that "McCain is out there touting his military experience and that there is something opportunistic about it." Several other Fox News hosts have similarly misrepresented Dean's comments.
On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough failed to challenge Sen. John McCain's false suggestion that Sen. Barack Obama has only "in the last few days" proposed that a "strike force" remain in Iraq after the U.S. withdraws troops. Similarly, on Fox News, Carl Cameron uncritically aired McCain's claim that Obama "has now said that he would keep a, quote, 'strike force' -- a, quote, 'strike force' -- in Iraq." In fact, as early as October 2007, Obama said he envisioned a U.S. military "strike force" either in the region or in Iraq for performing counter-terrorism operations.
Blogs on MSNBC.com and CBSNews.com noted that Sen. John McCain planned to honor Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, the 40th anniversary of King's death. However, neither reported that in 1983, McCain voted against establishing a holiday honoring King.
A Washington Post "Fact Checker" item accused Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of "twist[ing]" Sen. John McCain's "words by claiming that he 'wants' to fight a 100-year war." But the "fact check" did not note that, during the same event, McCain repeatedly avoided directly answering how many years he would be willing to fight a war in Iraq if Americans are "being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."
On The Situation Room, John King uncritically reported that "[i]n a statement, a McCain spokesman took a shot at the other party, saying, 'Americans can't afford the Democrats' liberal agenda to raise taxes, nationalize health care, cut off trade, and crush the economy under big government.' " Following what has become a pattern in the media, King failed to note the significant falsehoods and misleading claims in McCain's statement and simply read it without challenge.
On Morning Joe, Time's Rick Stengel claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "has to say it's a new paradigm of patriotism, it's a kind of post-identity politics patriotism, where, 'I wouldn't have had the opportunities I've had anywhere else in the world. .... And the qualities that make America what America is, what makes America great, is the reason that I've been able to be so successful.' " But Obama has said precisely that.
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews said that during an interview the previous day, he "prodded" Sen. Barack Obama on his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But while Matthews touted his questioning of Obama, he did not provide Obama's response. After Obama told Matthews that he had "never heard [Wright] say those things that were in those clips," which he said the media "ran  over and over and over again," Matthews continued: "But you did say you heard him say controversial things." Obama responded, "Well, but I hear you say controversial things, Chris."
Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson suggested that Sen. Barack Obama should "come out strongly for policies that would reduce the number of abortions -- support for pregnant women, abstinence education, the responsible promotion of birth control." In fact, Obama has advocated the policies Gerson mentioned: "education" that "include[s] abstinence" and "information about contraception."
On The Situation Room, Candy Crowley stated that Sen. Barack Obama "accus[ed] [Sen. John] McCain of wanting to be in Iraq for another 100 years." She then reported "that is a distortion of what McCain said, and they push back very hard -- the McCain campaign -- when they hear this." In fact, during a January 3 town hall meeting in New Hampshire, McCain said a U.S. military presence in Iraq for the next 100 years would "be fine ... [a]s long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."
Republican strategist David Hill, who writes a weekly column published in The Hill, claimed that "the failures of Mitt Romney's assaults on [Sen. John] McCain confirmed his view that negative ads don't win campaigns." In fact, McCain engaged in negative campaigning in the 2008 and 2000 Republican presidential primaries.
In a report on Sen. John McCain, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell referred to McCain's "statesman-in-waiting trip overseas last month to pump up his international image," but did not note that, during the trip, McCain made the admittedly false claim, more than once, that "Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq." O'Donnell also did not mention that the trip included a fundraiser in London.
Chris Matthews suggested Sen. Barack Obama was exaggerating the price of gasoline when Obama reportedly noted a friend's complaint that it cost "$85 to fill up my tank." In fact, numerous trucks and SUVs have gasoline tanks large enough that, based on current prices, it costs $85 or more to fill them up.
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough advanced the myth that Sen. John McCain hasn't flip-flopped on his position on immigration reform by asserting: "[T]here are a lot of issues that Republicans have despised John McCain for taking positions on. He stayed with those positions, and it makes him much stronger in the fall campaign because of it, and I speak mainly of illegal immigration." In response, co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Absolutely." Indeed, conservatives have praised McCain's rightward shift on the issue.