In his column, Pat Buchanan falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama did not visit wounded troops during his recent trip abroad. Buchanan asserted: "While the first half of his foreign trip, to Afghanistan and Iraq, was official, the European tour was campaign related. Yet, it was on this leg that a visit to wounded U.S. soldiers had been scheduled. As campaigning in a military hospital is prohibited, the visit was canceled." In fact, according to Buchanan's colleague, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Obama did visit with wounded troops during the "official" part of his tour.
A front-page Los Angeles Times article reported that Sen. John McCain "has attacked [Sen. Barack] Obama for canceling a visit to wounded U.S. soldiers at a military hospital because he couldn't bring reporters along. Obama's campaign has angrily disputed the charge as false and misleading." But in depicting the issue as a point of contention between the Obama and McCain campaigns, the article did not note that the McCain campaign has since acknowledged that the attack, which it had included in a campaign ad, "seem[s]" to be inaccurate. Nor did the article note that numerous reports, including a separate Times article that same day, have supported the Obama campaign's position that the attack is "false and misleading."
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that "Senator [Barack] Obama opposed it [the troop surge], said it wouldn't work, even voted to cut off the funds for the men and women who are fighting over there." Blitzer did not point out that McCain himself voted against legislation that would have provided funds for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
MSNBC's Tamron Hall failed to challenge the assertions of Nancy Pfotenhauer, an adviser for Sen. John McCain, that Sen. Barack Obama "fought funding for our troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan over a year ago" and was "withholding funds for our troops who are in combat in Iraq and in Afghanistan." Hall did not note that Obama has cast several votes for war-funding legislation, nor did she note that McCain himself has voted against legislation funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On CNN's The Situation Room, Dana Bash uncritically aired an ad by Sen. John McCain that states that Sen. Barack Obama "never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan. He hasn't been to Iraq in years. He voted against funding our troops -- positions that helped him win his nomination." Neither Bash nor host Wolf Blitzer noted that McCain himself "voted against funding our troops" when he voted against legislation that would have provided funds for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On America's Election HQ, Eric Shawn did not challenge retired Col. George "Bud" Day's false assertion that "what was said in the Swift Boat campaign by the swift boaters [was] absolutely true." In fact, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth promoted false and baseless smears about Sen. John Kerry's military service during the 2004 presidential campaign.
An AP article stated that Sen. John McCain "chid[ed] [Sen. Barack Obama] for never receiving a briefing from Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in [Iraq]." The article reported McCain's claims without challenging them -- it made no mention of the fact that Obama has twice questioned Petraeus on the situation in Iraq during Senate hearings.
An article in The Hill stated that there are "some marked differences" between bills offered by Sen. Jim Webb and Sen. John McCain addressing benefits for military veterans. But the article cited only one difference and did not mention the ways in which Webb's bill is more generous to veterans than McCain's.
A New York Times article detailed the connection between numerous media military analysts and the Pentagon and defense industries, reporting that "the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform" media military analysts "into a kind of media Trojan horse -- an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks." A Media Matters review found that since January 1, 2002, the analysts named in the Times article -- many identified as having ties to the defense industry -- collectively appeared or were quoted as experts more than 4,500 times on ABC, ABC News Now, CBS, CBS Radio Network, NBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, and NPR.
Bill O'Reilly again misrepresented comments he made in 2005 about a possible terrorist attack on San Francisco, stating on his Fox News show: "I made a joke out of San Francisco. If they didn't want the military, then the next time there was a terror attack, they're on their own." In fact, O'Reilly had said: "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."
In two separate reports since The New York Times published an exposé on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon, Fox News' Special Report aired quotes from Fox News military analyst Robert Scales without mentioning that Scales was named in the Times article and addressing Scales' relationship with the Defense Department and defense contractors.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer said: "General [David] Petraeus is a career military officer. Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker is a career diplomat, a foreign service officer. It's not as if they're political appointees by the Bush administration in which they can sort of, you know, roll up their sleeves and really go after them." In fact, both Petraeus and Crocker were nominated for their current positions by President Bush.
On Fox News' Special Report, Fred Barnes said of Sen. John McCain's role in a controversial Air Force tanker contract: "He asked for the Air Force to take into consideration, which he thought the Air Force regulations required, aircraft -- taking into consideration maximizing cargo and passenger capacity, which are important in a supertanker. Well, they did. And now Northrop Grumman and Airbus won the contract." But McCain also reportedly urged the Defense Department to not consider the potential implications of a World Trade Organization dispute between the United States and the European Union over whether Airbus and Boeing received illegal subsidies for commercial airliners from their respective governments.
A link on BillOReilly.com, the website of Fox News and conservative radio talk-show host Bill O'Reilly, was titled "Those weren't veterans John Edwards, they were sex offenders," and linked to an Associated Press article about Florida's efforts "to dissolve a community of sex offenders living under a bridge." Media Matters for America has documented the back-and-forth between O'Reilly and former Sen. John Edwards over homelessness and homeless veterans.
Bill O'Reilly took inconsistent positions during the January 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor on the role of the government in addressing the problem of homelessness among veterans, highlighted by John Edwards. O'Reilly said, "Certainly there are homeless veterans, but it's not because of the economy. It's mostly because of addiction and mental illness, something politicians can do little about." But when National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse president Joseph Califano later told O'Reilly that "the real tragedy here is most of those veterans have had combat experience that are suffering from drug and alcohol problems and mental health problems. And we are not taking care of them," O'Reilly replied: "And that is something that should be addressed."