On Today, Tim Russert discussed the schedules from Sen. Hillary Clinton's time as first lady and asserted: "Senator Clinton has made her experience such a part of this campaign, particularly her eight years as first lady. So this may be very rich in terms of exactly how did she spend her time, who did she meet with?" Russert added that "this, I think, today will be analyzed very closely by all of us at NBC News and media organizations across the country." Indeed, while NBC and MSNBC journalists discussed more substantive issues related to her schedules, they also repeatedly discussed what the schedules say, or do not say, about where Hillary Clinton was during Monica Lewinsky's encounters with President Clinton, in many cases teasing segments or leading them with that information.
After Chuck Todd acknowledged a media double standard in coverage of Sen. John McCain's Al Qaeda-Iran gaffe, CNBC's John Harwood asserted on Morning Joe: "I think that at the end of the day, John McCain has got sufficient credibility on that issue that people are not going to look at that and say, 'Oh, John McCain is confused' or 'John McCain's too old' or 'John McCain doesn't get it.' ... But he obviously can't do that too many times or he's got a problem." Harwood was not alone in misrepresenting or excusing McCain's false claim on MSNBC; several MSNBC reporters and anchors have ignored or excused McCain's false claim.
The New York Times quoted a woman who "said she would vote for Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, 'because he spent all those years in a P.O.W. camp and he doesn't talk about it,' an indicator of a reserve that she sees as a sign of the character and good manners she admires in her neighbors." In fact, in his campaign ads, McCain has repeatedly touted his experience as a prisoner of war.
On Glenn Beck, Ken Blackwell stated of Sen. Barack Obama: "Here is a guy who basically said that, while he was in Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright's church, he embraces [Nation of Islam founder] Louis Farrakhan." In fact, Obama has called himself "a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan," which neither Beck nor Blackwell noted.
MSNBC's David Gregory did not challenge Republican strategist Mike Murphy's false claim that "Barack Obama's talked about paratroopers in Islamabad, for heaven's sake." In fact, Obama has stated that "[i]f we have actionable intelligence about high-level Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan's border region, we must act if Pakistan will not or cannot." A Media Matters review found no examples of Obama calling for dropping "paratroopers in Islamabad" or anywhere else in Pakistan.
Noting the National Archives' release of Sen. Hillary Clinton's daily schedule during her time as first lady, ABC's Brian Ross stated, "Senator Clinton, unlike Senators [Barack] Obama and [John] McCain, has still not released any of her tax returns." In fact, McCain reportedly has not released any of his tax returns.
In a report on the controversy surrounding Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, NBC's Lee Cowan uncritically aired clips from a YouTube video that Cowan said "hits not just on Obama's pastor and his faith ... but on the senator's patriotism, too." Cowan did not mention who was behind the video or comment on any of the video's content. However, the Politico reported that the video was created in part by Lee Habeeb, "a former producer of the Laura Ingraham Show" and currently "director of strategic content at Salem Radio Network, the conservative talk radio powerhouse." Cowan's uncritical airing of the video echoes similar reporting on Fox News, which has aired several YouTube videos smearing Democrats.
Several media figures have falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama contradicted previous statements when he said during a March 18 speech on race: "Did I ever hear him [Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor] make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes." In fact, Obama previously asserted he had not been present for particular statements Wright made that were repeated by various media outlets and that spurred the recent controversy. He did not claim to have never heard Wright make "remarks that could be considered controversial."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough claimed that when Hillary Clinton said, "[N]o matter where you were born, or how much money you are born into, no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth," she was using "code language." Scarborough made the "code" claim two more times on Morning Joe.
Rush Limbaugh repeatedly claimed that Rev. James David Manning of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in Harlem -- who said that Sen. Barack Obama "was born trash," "pimps white women and black women," and is an "emissary of the devil" -- is "pro-Hillary" and "pro-Clinton." In fact, Manning stated in a January 25 letter: "I am not now, nor do I ever plan to be a supporter of the Clintons."
Discussing Sen. John McCain's false claim that Iranian operatives are "taking Al Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back," CNN's Wolf Blitzer falsely asserted that McCain "quickly corrected [it] after some prodding from his Senate colleague, Joe Lieberman." Blitzer then aired a spliced video of McCain's misstatement immediately followed by his "correct[ion]." In fact, as The Washington Post reported, it was later in the press conference when McCain was "[p]ressed to elaborate" on his claim and after he reiterated that "Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran," that Lieberman "stepped forward and whispered" in his ear. McCain then corrected himself.
Responding to Barack Obama's comment, made in his March 18 speech addressing controversial statements by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that his white grandmother had "uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes," Joe Scarborough said: "I really wonder why anybody, why any man, would throw his grandmother under the bus during a political speech regardless of the point he was trying to make." But last week, Scarborough said that "we all have people that we love dearly who are crazy," adding, "Do not hold me accountable for things that my father has said in the past ... or for e-mails ... that my mother sends me. ... And again, Mom and Dad, I love you. I'm just making a bigger point."
MSNBC's Pat Buchanan declared that "parts of" Sen. Barack Obama's speech on race and the controversy surrounding Rev. Jeremiah Wright were "very grating" because of what Buchanan asserted was "the constant sense of putting the burden on the society for what's happened to the African-American community and not enough of the acceptance of their own -- their own responsibility, frankly, for what's happened." However, Obama specifically emphasized during the speech that African-Americans should not become "victims of our past," but must instead "tak[e] full responsibility for our own lives."
Fox News' Sean Hannity and Brit Hume falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama's church, in Hannity's words, "deleted the Black Value System from [its] website," a claim put forth by conservative media outlets on March 16. But as FoxNews.com noted, a link to the tenets of the Black Value System can be found on the front page, "where it says 'Click here to read about the Black Value System.' "
The Politico's Jonathan Martin wrote that Sen. John McCain's "comprehensive approach to immigration reform could play well with Hispanics at all income levels," and that "his passion for addressing climate change and zeal for political reform could appeal to the sort of affluent, well-educated voters who have largely abandoned the GOP in the Bush years." But Martin did not note that McCain has shifted his position on comprehensive immigration reform and that he has a lifetime rating of 24 percent from the League of Conservation Voters.