On Fox News, David Asman falsely claimed of Sen. Barack Obama's reported plans for a White House transition months before the November election: "It's never been done before." Similarly, on MSNBC Live, U.S. News & World Report's Kenneth Walsh asserted that Obama is preparing for taking office "very early, and it plays into this notion that the Republicans are talking about, about Obama being too arrogant, that he has sort of a sense of inevitability that has set in there." However, a Media Matters review confirms that Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter all planned for a White House transition months before the election.
On MSNBC Live, Alex Witt reported on a statement by Sen. John McCain's campaign criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for reportedly having "already set up a White House transition team." Witt did not challenge the suggestion that it is unusual or inappropriate for a presumptive nominee to plan for a presidential transition; indeed then-Gov. George W. Bush did in the summer of 2000. Nor did Witt note that Bush-Cheney transition director Clay Johnson said at the time that it would be "irresponsible not to be doing this."
Several print media outlets reported that during a July 21 campaign event, Sen. John McCain, in the words of the Associated Press, "disparaged [Sen. Barack] Obama as 'someone who has no military experience whatsoever.' " But none of the articles noted that McCain has previously said he does not "accept the notion" that military experience is necessary to be an effective commander in chief.
In a story on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's assertion to a German magazine that Sen. Barack Obama's 16-month timeline "would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal," the Los Angeles Times reported that "a Maliki spokesman said the magazine, Der Spiegel, had misinterpreted the prime minister's comments." But the Los Angeles Times did not note that the Maliki office's statement was issued only after the U.S. embassy reportedly contacted Maliki "to express concern."
On his radio show, Fox News' Sean Hannity touted a Washington Examiner blog post claiming that Sen. Barack Obama got a "discount" and a "Countrywide-like sweetheart mortgage deal" from Northern Trust for the purchase of his house. But the Examiner's only source for that claim in the blog post was a Washington Post article that did not cite any evidence that the interest rate Obama received was in any way out of the ordinary or in any way the result of preferential treatment.
While discussing reports of a shortage of one type of IP addresses, Gretchen Carlson stated: "I was wondering if we should call up Al Gore. Because maybe he would have a solution for this, since he invented the Internet." In fact, Gore never said that he "invented the Internet."
The Politico falsely claimed that "[a] Democratic bill that would have blocked a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors fell just one vote short of the 60 it needed for passage Thursday." In fact, the vote in question was a cloture vote, which required a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster of a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill. The bill itself would have required a simple majority to pass.
On his PBS program, Charlie Rose did not challenge Antonin Scalia's false assertion that "the press unanimously" found that, in Rose's words, George W. Bush "won that election in Florida." In fact, according to The Washington Post, data from a study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center found that under several different criteria for assessing a voter's intent, Al Gore would have received more votes than Bush after a statewide recount of all ballots "that were initially rejected by voting machines."
In an article on five new FEC confirmations, The Washington Post did not note that President Bush withdrew the renomination of chairman David Mason, who has requested that Sen. John McCain assure the FEC he did not act improperly by signing a loan agreement that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.
Articles by the AP and The New York Times uncritically quoted Sen. John McCain's labeling of Sen. Barack Obama as "the most liberal" senator without mentioning that the National Journal rankings to which McCain was referring did not offer a ranking for McCain himself because he "did not vote frequently enough" to receive one. They also did not mention that the ranking was based on subjectively selected votes, or that a separate study that considers all non-unanimous votes offers a notably different ranking for Obama.
In an article about Sen. John McCain's early political career, the Los Angeles Times' Richard A. Serrano described Charles H. Keating Jr. as "[a]nother influential friend" who "raised more than $100,000 for McCain." Serrano noted that Keating eventually went to prison for his role in a savings and loan scandal, but did not mention McCain's own alleged involvement in the scandal, or that Keating's relationship to McCain reportedly extended beyond simply raising money for his congressional campaigns.
NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, who in February stated that "the story about Senator [John] McCain and lobbyists and ethics and money -- that continues," again ignored the issue of "McCain and lobbyists and ethics and money" on the May 25 edition of Meet the Press, despite numerous recent, related developments bearing on that issue.
CNN and MSNBC.com's First Read blog uncritically repeated McCain campaign adviser Charlie Black's claim that campaign manager "Rick Davis and nobody else at his firm [Davis Manafort] either has been a registered lobbyist in five years." In fact, public disclosure reports filed with Congress show that Davis was registered to lobby in 2005 for Davis Manafort -- three years ago, not five. In addition, in 2006, while no longer registered as a lobbyist, Davis reportedly helped arrange a meeting with McCain on behalf of a Russian aluminum magnate with whom he was "seeking to do business."
A New York Times article stated, "In 2006 ABC made changes to 'The Path to 9/11' after complaints from former Clinton administration officials that it portrayed them as less than vigilant in their pursuit of Osama bin Laden." But the article did not note that, despite editing, the final version of the ABC miniseries still included several fabricated scenes, falsehoods, and sharp discrepancies between its account of certain events and the findings laid out in the 9-11 Commission's report.
Referring to criticism of President Bush by Dick Gephardt over rising gas prices, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "[G]as prices didn't start going through the roof till [Democrats] took over the House in 2006." In fact, average monthly gasoline prices (adjusted for inflation) began to climb several years before Democrats took control of Congress.