On Meet the Press, discussing the New York Times article about Sen. John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist, David Brooks said he "do[esn't] really understand the case" involving McCain and the letters he wrote to the Federal Communications Commission about an issue involving Paxson Communications, then suggested that McCain "only wrote two letters" as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. But the Times reported that McCain sent a series of letters to the FCC in a separate case, including "an unusually blunt letter to the head of the Federal Communications Commission, warning that he would try to overhaul the agency if it closed a broadcast ownership loophole."
While discussing a New York Times article on Sen. John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist, Bill O'Reilly aired a clip of McCain's attorney Robert Bennett defending McCain against the article's allegations, but did not disclose that Bennett represents McCain and was reportedly hired for the explicit purpose of dealing with the controversy.
Discussing reports about Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Pat Buchanan asserted: "I don't have a problem with John McCain writing a letter there, depending on what he says in the letter," adding, "[B]ut McCain shouldn't be denying that, I don't think, because it seems to me that's in the normal course of business of a congressman." But contrary to his description of McCain's actions as "the normal course" for a congressman, the FCC chairman at the time criticized McCain for his request, calling it "highly unusual."
During a discussion of Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, CNN's Howard Kurtz asked if it was "plausible" that CBS made Rather "a scapegoat to placate the Bush administration" over the controversial 60 Minutes II report about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, as Rather alleges. Kurtz's guests -- conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and former CBS Evening News executive producer Rome Hartman -- disputed Rather's assertion. But neither Kurtz nor his guests mentioned two other instances in which CBS allegedly acted to placate the White House in 2004.
Glenn Beck -- apparently referring to Democratic donor William Paw -- falsely stated that Paw, who Beck said had an income of $46,000, sent Clinton "I think $200,000 in donations." In fact, according to the Federal Election Commission's donor database, William Paw himself donated $4,200 to Hillary Clinton's campaign and $11,800 to all Democratic candidates beginning in October 2005, while, according to the Los Angeles Times, the seven members of the Paw family "gave $213,000, including $55,000 to Clinton and $14,000 to candidates for state-level offices in New York." Beck's guest, American Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., stated that Norman Hsu, a businessman and Clinton "bundler," is one of several "shadowy Asian figures" who have been involved with campaign finance violations associated with the Clintons.
An article in the latest issue of Newsweek reported on Fred Thompson's leadership of a 1997 investigation into campaign finance irregularities, asserting that "Thompson wound up losing control of the investigation, and the support of his own party," and that "Thompson has said he wanted to make sure the inquiry was fair, and not just a Republican hunting party that would be viewed with suspicion by the public." But Thompson reportedly shut down the investigation before Democrats were able to introduce evidence linking Republican lawmakers to a fundraising group that was found to have skirted campaign finance laws.
A Washington Post editorial arguing for legally mandated full disclosure of campaign donation "bundlers" left out key facts about the two cases that it cited, Geoffrey Fieger and Norman Hsu. The editorial did not note that prosecutors have reportedly confirmed that John Edwards' campaign was unaware of alleged illegal contributions made by Fieger and absolved the campaign of any wrongdoing; similarly, the editorial failed to note that the Wall Street Journal article it cited offered no evidence implicating Hillary Clinton with regard to Hsu.
The Washington Times claimed that Norman Hsu "donated more than $1 million to senior Democrats, including the presidential campaigns of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois." The article later claimed, providing no evidence, that "[s]ome of Mr. Hsu's donations were made through several people" -- which would presumably be a violation of federal law. In fact, Hsu himself has reportedly donated $255,000 to federal candidates since 2003," and has acted as a "bundler," soliciting friends and associates to make contributions to certain candidates with their own money, which, when added to Hsu's own donations, total more than $1 million. Bundling itself is not illegal, but as The New York Times noted, it is "illegal for a bundler to reimburse a contributor."
CNN's Kelli Arena reported that "there have been some allegations that certain people were hired as career prosecutors because of their political affiliation." In fact, former Justice Department White House liaison Monica Goodling testified before Congress that she had repeatedly considered political affiliation when she made hiring decisions about assistant U.S. attorneys.
A New York Times article, which reported on Fred Thompson's leadership of a 1997 Governmental Affairs Committee investigation into campaign finance irregularities, uncritically quoted Thompson saying of the hearings, "[T]here was no way that I was going to shield any obvious problems that our side had." However, according to a New York Times article published at the time, Republicans shut down the hearings before Democrats were able to introduce evidence linking Republican lawmakers to Triad Management, a fundraising group that Democrats claimed had skirted campaign finance laws.
During a Situation Room report on the allegation that, in 2005, then-chairman of the House Transportation Committee Don Young (R-AK) changed the language of a $10 million earmark for Florida after the bill had been passed, correspondent John Zarrella failed to identify Young as a Republican. Additionally, neither he nor host Wolf Blitzer noted that Republicans controlled Congress when Young allegedly made the change to the bill.
During a CNN interview about the effect of Karl Rove's resignation, Suzanne Malveaux did not challenge Tom DeLay's claim that "[t]he president held the line on spending," despite the fact that, even though President Bush assumed office with a $125.3 billion surplus, the Bush administration has run a deficit in every fiscal year of the Bush presidency. Additionally, Malveaux did not note Rove's reported assertion that his "biggest error" of the 2006 election cycle was "not working soon enough to replace Republicans tainted by scandal," or point out that DeLay himself remained in the House for several months following his indictment on money laundering and conspiracy charges.
On Special Report, Jennifer Griffin reported that a former Pentagon chaplain had "arranged" for the nonprofit Christian Embassy to film at the Pentagon, but not that, according to the inspector general's report, he did so in part by "mischaracterizing the purpose and proponent of the video" by "impl[ying] that the video was being produced to document the Pentagon Chaplain's ministry rather than to promote a non-Federal entity," a violation of Department of Defense regulations.