Media figures have argued that the scandal surrounding former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is good news for Sen. John McCain because, unlike other members of Congress, he is untainted by the scandal and could benefit politically from being cast as a reformer. But these media figures failed to note that, like many Democrats who they have suggested are tainted, McCain received campaign money from Abramoff's clients, as reported by the Associated Press and the Center for Responsive Politics. *
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips misstated a false assertion made by Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell regarding Democrats and indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Phillips reported that Howell "wrote that ... Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans." Phillips then said: "Well that's true, though most of the money went to Republicans." In fact, Abramoff made no contribution to Democrats.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Democrats took campaign contributions from former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. When a caller noted his false claim, O'Reilly stated: "So you are a Kool-Aid drinker who is blinded by whatever neurosis you have, because that's just insane." As Media Matters for America has documented, only Republicans received direct contributions from Abramoff.
A January 18 Associated Press article reported that "Democrats tried to link [indicted Republican lobbyist Jack] Abramoff to Republicans." However, the article failed to discuss numerous ties between the GOP and Abramoff.
News outlets reported that the Republican-sponsored ethics reform package would ban lobbyist-paid travel. But the proposed reform measure would still allow lobbyist-paid meals and trips as long as they were offered as campaign fundraising activities.
In an interview with Rep. Roy Blunt, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace let Blunt make several false and misleading claims in defense of his ethical record.
On NPR's All Things Considered, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson interviewed five Republicans and no Democrats during a segment host Michele Norris described as a "look at how Republicans in Congress are dealing with the fallout from the Abramoff affair." The all-GOP format of Liasson's report gave one of the Republicans a chance to launch unanswered attacks on Democrats.
Deborah Howell, the Washington Post ombudsman, falsely asserted twice that Democrats received contributions from Jack Abramoff.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough characterized a factually accurate statement by Howard Dean -- that no congressional Democrats had received campaign contributions from lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- as a "snow job," and falsely claimed that The Washington Post and "other news outlets" had proven Dean's statement wrong. In fact, Dean's statement in an appearance on CNN was entirely accurate, and neither CNN nor the Post has challenged or refuted it.
The Washington Post falsely reported that the wife of acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt "does not lobby Congress." In fact, Abigail Blunt is a registered lobbyist for Philip Morris, as she was in 2002, when Blunt tried to modify Homeland Security legislation in a way that would have benefited Philip Morris.
An Associated Press article on the contest between Reps. John Boehner and Roy Blunt to replace Rep. Tom DeLay as House majority leader did not mention the ethics issues surrounding both men.
On Hannity & Colmes, an onscreen caption falsely listed guest Jimmy Hayes -- a former U.S. representative from Louisiana -- as a Democrat. In fact, Hayes became a Republican in 1995 before leaving the House of Representatives. Co-host Sean Hannity brought on Hayes and former Rep. George Nethercutt, both Republicans, as the only two guests to discuss money Democrats have taken from clients or employers of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, as well as to assess the "formula for success for the Democratic Party to win in 2006."
Appearing on Hardball to discuss the Jack Abramoff scandal, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough failed to disclose that he received $1,000 from Jack Abramoff and other contributions from Abramoff's firms.
Rush Limbaugh baselessly accused Sen. Carl Levin of being tainted by the Jack Abramoff scandal for accepting contributions from an Indian tribe. The newspaper articles Limbaugh cited to back up his claim offer no evidence linking Abramoff-directed contributions to Levin's efforts to obtain a federal grant for the tribe.
On Hardball, host Chris Matthews repeatedly mentioned Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) decision to donate to charity $2,000 in campaign contributions received from American Indian tribes represented by lobbyist and felon Jack Abramoff, yet virtually ignored the $6,000 and $69,000 in campaign contributions received from Abramoff and his clients by President Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), respectively -- contributions both have also pledged to donate to charity.