NBC's Curry did not challenge Cindy McCain on claim that "[m]y husband is absolutely opposed to any negative campaigning at all"

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

NBC's Ann Curry did not challenge Cindy McCain, Sen. John McCain's wife, when she claimed, "You won't see [negative stuff] come out of our side at all," and asserted, "My husband is absolutely opposed to any negative campaigning at all." In fact, John McCain has a history of negative campaigning and has promulgated numerous falsehoods about his opponents during the 2008 presidential campaign.

On the May 8 edition of NBC's Today, NBC News anchor Ann Curry failed to challenge Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, when she claimed, "You won't see [negative stuff] come out of our side at all," and asserted, "My husband is absolutely opposed to any negative campaigning at all." Indeed, Curry did not mention that John McCain has a documented history of negative campaigning, even as he has denounced it, that he has promulgated numerous falsehoods about his opponents during the campaign, or that he reportedly asserted that the terrorist group Hamas wants Sen. Barack Obama "to be the next president."

Further, Curry uncritically repeated Cindy McCain's claim that the McCain campaign would not engage in negative campaigning, saying: "You talk about -- that none of the nasty kind of campaigning that we've been seeing will come from your side. But are you prepared for the next six months, knowing that that's how it generally does go?" Curry again failed to challenge McCain when she said: "I believe I can speak for my husband on this same thing. We'd rather not win than to have to do that. That's not worth winning for." During the interview, on-screen text read: "Cindy McCain: We Won't Go Negative."

cindy

As Media Matters for America has documented, John McCain has falsely suggested that Obama had said that Al Qaeda is not currently in Iraq; falsely suggested in early April that Obama has only "in the last few days" proposed that a "strike force" remain in Iraq after the United States withdraws most troops; and falsely suggested that Obama "once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan." McCain had previously falsely asserted that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, his rival in the Republican presidential race at the time, "disparage[d] the service and courage of an American hero" with his statement that former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) is "probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me."

Additionally, McCain's supporters have repeatedly engaged in smears for his benefit. Republican state parties and McCain's own campaign have attacked or promoted smears of Obama -- actions that he subsequently denounced or distanced himself from.

The interview, including Cindy McCain's assertions about negative campaigning, aired again on the 11 a.m. ET hour of the May 8 edition of MSNBC Live.

From the May 8 edition of NBC's Today:

CURRY: With Democrats getting closer to choosing a nominee, the spotlight now begins to shine on the general election now just six months away. How nasty might it get? Well, Cindy McCain's answer this morning.

[begin video clip]

McCAIN: And what you're going to see is, I believe we're going to see a great debate, which the American public deserves, more importantly. None of this negative stuff, though. You won't see it come out of our side at all, because --

CURRY: None of the negative stuff will come out of your side?

McCAIN: My husband is absolutely opposed to any negative campaigning at all.

CURRY: Cindy McCain expressed strong feelings on numerous subjects, including the devastation in Myanmar.

[...]

CURRY: It's six months to go before the election. You talk about -- that none of the nasty kind of campaigning that we've been seeing will come from your side. But are you prepared for the next six months, knowing that that's how it generally does go?

McCAIN: Well, I'm never ready for those kinds of things, particularly when it involves my children. But I can tell you that having been through this before, I'm actually glad -- grateful that I've been through it before, because if things do turn that way from the other side, I would hope that I would behave the same way I did before, and that is with grace and with dignity. And rise above it.

CURRY: Even if it doesn't help you win the presidency?

McCAIN: I believe I can speak for my husband on this same thing. We'd rather not win than to have to do that. That's not worth winning for.

[end video clip]

CURRY: I also asked Cindy McCain about published reports this week that she and her husband didn't vote for George W. Bush after their bruising campaign loss in 2000. She said it's not true.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC, NBC
Person
Ann Curry
Show/Publication
Today Show, MSNBC Live
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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