ABC News political director Mark Halperin falsely suggested that while progressive 527 organizations with ties to the Democratic Party attacked President Bush during the 2004 election, there were no comparable groups on the right. But one of the most prominent 527 groups in the 2004 election cycle was the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, a group with ties to both the GOP and the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign whose attacks on Democratic candidate John Kerry -- which included numerous false and discredited allegations -- received broad coverage in the media.
While it cannot definitively be said that the reason the senior Iraqi court in charge of Saddam Hussein's trial postponed its verdict in the case until two days before the November elections so that it would influence the midterms, the postponement suggests several obvious questions, including, most importantly: Given the Bush administration's history of timing national security-related actions to the political calendar, has the date for the verdict's release been set to provide maximum political benefit for the administration and congressional Republicans?
Numerous Republican lawmakers and candidates have echoed President Bush's repeated assertions that the United States must "stay the course" in Iraq. But now that Bush has "stopped using" the phrase when talking about the Iraq war, will the media ask GOP candidates who have stressed the need to "stay the course" in Iraq whether they will follow the president's lead in abandoning this language, or adhere to his, and their, original position?
Fox News host Neil Cavuto stated that an October 23 report in Barron's that predicted the GOP would retain control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections was "a possible reason for the uptick" in the stock market that day while not challenging Barron's Washington bureau chief Jim McTague -- who declared, "[T]he numbers don't lie" -- about the false suggestion in the Barron's report that it has used a consistent methodology in predicting Republican victories in 2002, 2004, and now in 2006.
ABC's Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos juxtaposed actor Michael J. Fox's recent campaign advertisement for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill with the Republican National Committee's (RNC) new advertisement featuring clips of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists making threats against the United States. Roberts claimed Fox's ad is "raising a lot of eyebrows," but she did not note that Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, has endorsed McCaskill because she supports embryonic stem cell research. Introducing the RNC ad, Stephanopoulos asserted that Republicans have a "big card" to play on "terrorism," but recent polling is mixed on whether the public trusts Democrats or Republicans more on dealing with terrorism.
MSNBC's Chris Jansing falsely claimed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "frankly acknowledged it's legitimate to consider in the voting, we just heard it -- that she is laser-focused on the presidency and not on representing the people of New York." Jansing was referring to a video clip shown moments earlier in which Clinton said: "I have made no decisions about any future plans, and if that is a concern to any voter, they should factor that into their decision on November 7th."
The Washington Post uncritically reported Rep. Chris Shays's (R-CT) purported explanation for his reference to Chappaquiddick, claiming that he made his comment in the context of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's appearance with Shays's opponent, Diane Farrell, whose calls for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's resignation over the Mark Foley scandal, Shays said, were made before the evidence of Hastert's "serious mishandling" of the scandal had come out. But Shays himself was one of the first Republicans to comment on evidence that the House leadership knew of some of Foley's alleged communications with pages. He was quoted in The New York Times on October 1 -- two days after the scandal broke -- saying that if any House leaders "knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership."