Discussing Howard Dean's assertion that Sen. John McCain is a "blatant opportunist," on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace stated, "I think you can call John McCain a lot of things. Opportunist?" Bill Kristol responded that polls on the Iraq war show "that most people would like to be told, 'Hey, we can get out of there soon, no problem, no damage,' " and added: "I think the opportunist line is just ludicrous." The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman asserted: "McCain actually revels in saying the thing that you don't want to hear. And he says it first." No member of the Fox News Sunday panel mentioned that McCain has reversed his positions on issues such as taxes, immigration, and his view of the religious right to align himself more closely with the base of his party.
On ABC's This Week, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman claimed that Sen. John McCain "actually stepped out and was much more forward-leaning on immigration reform than Barack Obama was -- Senator Clinton wasn't involved in those negotiations." Host George Stephanopoulos did not point out that McCain abandoned his previous support for comprehensive immigration legislation during his campaign for the Republican nomination.
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama has "never reached across the aisle as a senator in legislation." In fact, Obama was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. In a press release upon Senate passage of the bill, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn himself referred to the legislation as the "Coburn-Obama Bill." Obama has also worked with Republicans on other bills.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and an article in the Los Angeles Times both uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's statement regarding possible responses to the home mortgage crisis: "What is not necessary is a multibillion-dollar bailout for big banks and speculators, as Senators Clinton and Obama have proposed." In fact, neither Clinton nor Obama has proposed "a multibillion-dollar bailout" for "speculators." Moreover, neither Malveaux nor the Times noted that McCain recently expressed support for the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of the near-bankrupt investment bank Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that Sen. John McCain, in the words of Times reporters Michael Powell and Jeff Zeleny, "argued this week against a vigorous federal intervention to address the [housing] crisis, saying Washington should not bail out banks and homeowners who in his view had knowingly taken on risky mortgages." However, neither article noted that McCain reportedly expressed support for the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
In a report on congressional action in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, National Public Radio's Brian Naylor uncritically reported McCain's statement that it's not the government's job to "bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers." Naylor did not note that McCain reportedly agreed with the Federal Reserve's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.
A Washington Post article claimed that "[o]f the three candidates, budget analysts said [Sen. John] McCain has been most aggressive at identifying ways to reduce spending." While the article noted that "McCain's proposals come nowhere near generating the sums necessary to meet the costs," it did not note that, in addition to his proposals to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, those "costs" include the war in Iraq, for which, unlike Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, McCain does not support a timetable for withdrawal.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer highlighted Sen. John McCain's assertion that he has "always been committed to the principle that it's not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they're big banks or small borrowers," but did not mention that McCain reportedly said he didn't think the Federal Reserve "went too far in helping" investment bank Bear Stearns avoid bankruptcy.
In an interview on CNN's American Morning, Sen. Chuck Hagel said: "John [McCain] and I have some pretty fundamental differences on Iraq, on foreign policy." But in a later interview, Wolf Blitzer skipped the opportunity to press Hagel to elaborate on those "fundamental differences," or to give his assessment, in light of those differences, of the impact of a McCain presidency on the nation.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist, and NBC News' Savannah Guthrie did not challenge senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt's false assertion that "[w]ith regard to the economy," Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are "talking about raising taxes across the board." In fact, Obama and Clinton have proposed tax cuts -- not tax increases -- for the poor and the middle class.
Fox News' Megyn Kelly echoed a Washington Times column that questioned the legality of an Elton John concert for Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, even after the Clinton campaign posted a statement from FEC spokesman Bob Biersack saying he does not believe there is "anything unlawful about Elton John performing in a concert to raise money for a US presidential candidate." Additionally, Lis Wiehl falsely claimed that a 1981 FEC advisory opinion stated that "you couldn't volunteer any time if you're a foreign national."
In a column about an Elton John concert on behalf of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, The Washington Times' John McCaslin questioned whether the concert violates federal election law and wrote that FEC spokesman Bob Biersack "said he doesn't know whether the Elton John performance would be considered unlawful by FEC standards." While McCaslin later updated his column, he did not note that, according to the Clinton campaign, Biersack said: "I did not intend to convey ... that there is anything unlawful" about the concert. McCaslin also falsely asserted that a 1981 FEC advisory opinion "prohibited a foreign national artist from donating his services in connection with fundraising for a U.S. Senate campaign."
The Associated Press quoted Sen. John McCain claiming that Sen. Barack Obama will "raise taxes" on homeowners. In fact, Obama has proposed "at least $80 billion a year in tax cuts to middle-class workers, homeowners and retirees," and specifically called for "extending a mortgage credit to taxpayers who do not itemize, generating about $500 in savings for 10 million people."
The Washington Post asserted in a March 27 editorial that Sen. John McCain is a "champion" of "campaign finance reform," despite having stated less than three weeks before that McCain's decision to "deriv[e] some benefit from the matching funds system and then abandon it when that was to his advantage" was "not Mr. McCain's proudest moment as a reformer."
A day after falsely claiming that Sen. John McCain "called for Don Rumsfeld's resignation," MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell issued a "clarification," saying: "Yesterday, I suggested that John McCain had called for Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation in the past. In fact, what McCain had said repeatedly was that he lacked confidence in Rumsfeld. But he did not directly call for Rumsfeld to step down back when Rumsfeld was still in office."