Chris Matthews asserted that "[t]here's only one way to read" Bill Clinton's statement -- "I think it'd be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country ... instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics": "He's saying that if you pick these two people, you get two people who love their country. If you don't, you don't get two people who love their country." But others have in fact offered an explanation of Clinton's comments that differs from Matthews', demonstrating that, contrary to his claim, there is more than one way "to read that."
On Fox News Sunday, when Bill Kristol was asked whether "it's fair" to compare "[Sen. John] McCain's, quote, 'ministers,' " John Hagee and Rod Parsley, "to [Sen. Barack] Obama's pastor," Kristol replied: "No, because these are just individuals who've endorsed Senator McCain." However, McCain stated in a joint appearance with Hagee that he was "very proud to have Pastor Hagee's support" and reportedly called Parsley a "spiritual guide."
The Washington Post's George Will asserted that Sen. John McCain's admittedly false claim that Iran is training Al Qaeda is "[n]ot damaging at all" to McCain, "because people say it's a given that this man knows what he's talking about." Similarly, The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman asserted that "I don't think many people believe" "the argument that McCain doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to foreign policy." But neither Will nor Zuckman noted that McCain has made that error more than once.
While discussing whether Sen. John McCain is "smart to make national security the centerpiece of his campaign," Chris Matthews highlighted McCain's recent Middle East trip and said McCain was "showing off his foreign policy credentials." But at no point did Matthews, or any of his guests, point out that, during his trip, McCain made the admittedly false claim that "Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran."
In a Fox News report, Carl Cameron asserted as fact that "[m]any Europeans mistakenly believe that if elected, [Sen. John] McCain will mimic all Bush policies," citing as evidence of their purported "mistake" that "McCain was a leading critic of the early Bush Iraq strategy, and has disagreed on various issues ranging from how aggressively to combat climate change to wanting to close Guantánamo Bay." However, Cameron did not note that McCain has entirely embraced President Bush's current Iraq policy.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said of Sen. Barack Obama's handling of the controversy surrounding remarks by Rev. Jeremiah Wright: "It is clear that Senator Obama has disowned his white half, that he's decided he's got to go all in on the black side."
CNN's Dana Bash uncritically reported the assertion by Sen. John McCain's campaign that he simply "misspoke" when he falsely claimed Iranian operatives are training members of Al Qaeda. In fact, McCain has made that error more than once. Also, Wolf Blitzer adopted the McCain campaign talking point that McCain -- in Blitzer's words -- "usually takes pride in" his "straight talk," despite McCain's repeated falsehoods and his stark inconsistencies on numerous issues.
Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace criticized the hosts of Fox & Friends for engaging in "two hours of Obama bashing" and for "distorting" comments Sen. Barack Obama made about his grandmother in a radio interview on March 20.
On Hardball, USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page asserted of John McCain's admittedly false claim that "[i]t's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and is receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran": "I think it's a verbal error. And, you know, most Americans can't tell you the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, either."
The Associated Press reported that Sen. John McCain "has decided not to accept the public matching funds," but that the Federal Election Commission "wants him to assure regulators that he did not use the promise of public money as collateral for [a] loan." The article did not mention that FEC Chairman David Mason has asserted that McCain cannot legally withdraw from the public finance system without FEC approval. Additionally, a Wall Street Journal article did not note that McCain may not be able to opt out of the public financing system.
Echoing the assertion that Sen. John McCain simply "misspoke" when he falsely claimed during a March 18 press conference that Iran is training Al Qaeda, Fox News' Shepard Smith said, "I mean, as much as these people talk, and ad-lib and live speeches and all the rest, slip-ups like that can happen." In fact, McCain had previously made the same misstatement to radio host Hugh Hewitt and did so more than once during the press conference.
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN correspondent Louise Schiavone falsely asserted that in votes cast last week, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "said no to additional funding for border security, immigration enforcement, and deportation of criminal aliens." Additionally, Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that Obama and Clinton are "not for border security."
In noting Sen. John McCain's false statement that "[i]t's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and is receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran," PolitiFact.com asserted: "We're not trying to pile on to Sen. John McCain over his misstatement on the link between Iran and al-Qaida. Maybe he was confused just for a moment. He did correct himself quickly." PolitiFact did not mention that McCain made the same error twice, and that he had made it the previous day.
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.