Discussing Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the White House, CNN's Wolf Blitzer stated that President Bush's comment that the United States is "among the most religious" countries in the world "sounded almost like a veiled rebuke of the controversial words that Barack Obama made." Ed Gillespie, counselor to the president, responded: "I think you're reading way too much into it," adding later, "[I]t's not a veiled anything."
Discussing "the Catholic vote" on Hardball, Chris Matthews said: "It isn't like a vote like, for example, if you're a Jewish voter probably you care about Israel, that's a safe bet. You have one key concern. ... But clearly, if you're African-American, you care about civil rights. You care about certain programs of the federal government. That's a generalization, but probably true."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama said of Americans with religious beliefs: "Your faith, the faith of your fathers, the faith of your grandfathers, the faith of your grandmothers -- it's just a crutch. It's just a crutch. You only believe that because you're bitter, because you're poor, because you didn't go to college, because you're working class." In fact, Obama said that "in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania," people are "beaten down" and "feel ... betrayed by government," and "it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named Pat Robertson the "winner" of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for stating: "I want to say it again, and again, and again: Islam is not a religion, it's a political system meant on -- bent on world domination, not a religion. It masquerades as a religion, but the religion covers a worldwide attempt to exercise power and to subjugate the world into their way of thinking."
On The 700 Club, Pat Robertson said of Islam: "I want to say it again, and again, and again: Islam is not a religion, it is a political system meant on -- bent on world domination, not a religion. It masquerades as a religion, but the religion covers a worldwide attempt to exercise power and to subjugate the world to their way of thinking."
On The Situation Room, Jeanne Moos conducted a "quiz" of people on the street and asserted that Sen. Hillary Clinton "got the answer right when 60 Minutes asked, you don't believe Barack Obama is a Muslim?" But Moos went on to misrepresent Clinton's response by broadcasting only a portion of Clinton's answers on 60 Minutes.
On Hardball, the Politico's Roger Simon falsely suggested that "the last thing [Sen. Hillary Clinton] said" during a recent interview on 60 Minutes when asked whether she believed Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim was: "No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know." In fact, Clinton went on to say, "I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets ... smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time." In his column, Simon wrote of Clinton's "as far as I know" comment, "Doesn't that just continue a smear?"
On Hardball, Chris Matthews played clip of a 60 Minutes interview in which Sen. Hillary Clinton said "[o]f course not" when asked if she believed false rumors that Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim. However, Matthews ignored that statement and other comments Clinton made in the interview, instead highlighting the fact that at one point Clinton said "as far as I know" and repeatedly suggesting that Clinton had left Obama's religious beliefs in doubt.
Fox News correspondent Caroline Shively asserted that "[Sen. Barack] Obama says 'Enough already. There's nothing wrong with being a Muslim, but I have been a Christian for two decades now.' " In fact, Obama has said that he has "always been a Christian," and has also repeatedly stated that he has never been a Muslim or ever practiced Islam.
A Drudge Report headline linking to a 60 Minutes interview of Sen. Hillary Clinton read, "Hillary: Obama Not Muslim 'As Far As I Know' ...," falsely suggesting that Clinton characterized the issue of Sen. Barack Obama's religion as unresolved. In fact, she did the opposite.
Despite reporting in early 2007 Bill Donohue's criticism of John Edwards' presidential campaign for hiring two bloggers who Donohue said are "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," neither The New York Times nor the Associated Press has reported that Donohue blasted Sen. John McCain for accepting the endorsement of televangelist John Hagee. In a statement, Donohue described Hagee as a "bigot," and said McCain should "retract his embrace of Hagee."
In an interview with Mike Huckabee, MSNBC's Alex Witt identified televangelist John Hagee, who has endorsed Sen. John McCain for president, only as an "evangelist" who is "based in San Antonio," and did not note Hagee's numerous controversial statements on such topics as homosexuality, Islam, Catholicism, and women.
The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reported that during the Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama "disavowed an endorsement from [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan but did not directly answer a question about [Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah] Wright once having said that Farrakhan 'epitomizes greatness.' " In fact, the debate question Weisman referenced was not specifically about Wright's reported remarks on Farrakhan.
In an item consisting of suggested questions sent in by readers for the upcoming Democratic presidential debate, The New York Times featured a question for Sen. Barack Obama that included the assertion that Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ, "gives the impression that it encourages only black attendance and black allegiance." The reader went on to write: "Your willing participation in this church for some 20 years does not speak to an open mind and quest. Please explain." But visitors to the church have said that they experienced Trinity as racially inclusive.