On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough defended Sen. John McCain's apparent conflation of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, saying: "The thing is, everybody is obsessing over the fact that he keeps confusing Sunni and Shia. The fact is, I -- you know what? I could start peppering people with questions about Sunnis and Shia and Kurds, and the relationships there, and 99 percent of Americans wouldn't know; 99 percent of Americans wouldn't give a damn."
During a panel discussion on America's Election HQ that included two former Bush administration officials but no progressives or Democrats, Ari Fleischer said Sen. John McCain's questioning of Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker showed "he had the best intuitive understanding of the issues." But no participant in the discussion noted that during his questioning of Petraeus, McCain asked of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQ-I): "Certainly not an obscure sect of -- of the Shiites all -- overall?" In fact, AQ-I is a Sunni Muslim, not Shiite, group.
On Today, Matt Lauer, Tim Russert, and Andrea Mitchell discussed Bill and Hillary Clinton's tax returns, speculating about, in Lauer's words, the "actual impact" the returns will have on "those so-called blue-collar workers that are so much a part of her base." They did not mention that Sen. John McCain has yet to release his tax returns, nor did they speculate as to what impact McCain's family's wealth would have on his ability to connect with "blue-collar workers."
CNN's The Situation Room and a Wall Street Journal article both noted that, during a Senate hearing, Sen. John McCain asked Gen. David H. Petraeus about whether Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQ-I) is a "major threat," without also noting that McCain went on to ask of Al Qaeda in Iraq: "Certainly not an obscure sect of -- of the Shiites all -- overall?" In fact, AQ-I is a Sunni Muslim, not Shiite, group.
On Fox News' Your World, Monica Crowley asserted that "liberals like the Clintons" argue "against tax cuts" and to "let the government have more of your money." In fact, Sen. Hillary Clinton's website says that she would "[l]ower taxes for middle class families by: extending the middle class tax cuts ... offering new tax cuts for healthcare, college and retirement, and expanding the EITC [earned income tax credit] and the child care tax credit."
On Morning Joe, Tim Russert asserted, "I remember I asked the candidates in a debate last fall whether they would pledge to have all troops out within their first four years. None of them would make the pledge. By the last debate in Cleveland, both [Sens. Barack] Obama and [Hillary] Clinton were saying, 'Oh no, we'll have them out by '09.' " In fact, neither candidate said during the Cleveland debate that he or she would withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2009. During the "debate last fall," they talked about beginning withdrawal as soon as possible, while leaving troops to perform certain functions after the withdrawal is complete, and Russert himself stated during the Cleveland debate that both candidates have said they would "keep a residual force" in Iraq.
Asserting that "millions of Americans of all colors are fed up with race-baiters and accusations of racism," Bill O'Reilly identified those he deemed to be "race hustlers" and "race-baiters" -- among them Media Matters for America -- and declared: "You better watch it. We got your number. And the gloves are off."
Reporting on Sen. John McCain's speech about the Iraq war, The Washington Times asserted that "Democrats have condemned Mr. McCain for his 100-year comment, though Mr. McCain was saying Iraq could become a nation like South Korea, where U.S. forces have been stationed for more than 50 years." But the Times did not mention that McCain has been inconsistent on whether U.S. troop's future presence in Iraq would be analogous to that in South Korea.
On America's Election HQ, Chris Cillizza repeatedly and falsely referred to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman as a Democrat. Even though an on-screen graphic identified Lieberman as an independent, Cillizza stated of the possibility that Sen. John McCain would pick a Democrat as a running mate: "[T]he Democrat that I think makes the most sense -- though I would say I think it's very unlikely John McCain picks a Democrat -- but the Democrat that makes the most sense is Joe Lieberman."
On ABC's This Week, while discussing the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, Cokie Roberts asserted that Sen. John McCain is "even or winning in the polls." On MSNBC Live, Reuters' Jon Decker similarly stated that McCain is "running either ahead of both" Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "or running even with both of them." But neither Roberts nor Decker mentioned that in that same poll, both Clinton and Obama beat McCain in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups.
After noting the title of Dee Dee Myers' book Why Women Should Rule the World while discussing with Myers the resignation of Mark Penn as Sen. Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell asserted: "I don't know -- this campaign, right now, is not the greatest example of why women should rule the world."
Sen. John McCain said at a New Hampshire town hall meeting that the U.S. may have a presence in Iraq for "[m]aybe a hundred [years]. We've been in South Korea; we've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so." But McCain said in an interview four months earlier on Charlie Rose that a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq, modeled after its presence in South Korea, would not work "because of the nature of the society in Iraq." When Sen. John Kerry pointed out this inconsistency on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace did not acknowledge it, instead saying that he thought Kerry was "conflating two different interviews."
The Los Angeles Times reported of Sen. Barack Obama: "National Journal magazine has ranked him as the most liberal member of the Senate." In relying on National Journal's rankings, the article ignored a more comprehensive vote study by two political science professors that placed Obama in a tie for the ranking of 10th most liberal senator in 2007.
On Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski and Carly Fiorina, an economic adviser to Sen. John McCain, suggested that McCain acknowledged his weakness on economic issues only once. But the Boston Globe has reported that "on numerous occasions over the course of the campaign, McCain has volunteered that he is unsatisfied with his lack of knowledge about aspects of economics."
The Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. John McCain "displayed a strong populist streak over the housing crisis this weekend, blasting what he called the 'outrageous' and 'unconscionable' compensation of Bear Stearns and Countrywide executives and their 'co-conspirators,' " but did not mention that McCain reportedly expressed support for the Fed's decision to extend a $30 billion line of credit to facilitate the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase.