Fox News Sunday's Wallace, Chicago Tribune's Dorning falsely claimed McCain's repeated Iran training falsehood was momentary

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain "momentarily mistook Shias and Sunnis in Jordan," and the Chicago Tribune's Michael Dorning asserted that if Sen. Barack Obama "makes a mistake" on his upcoming overseas trip, "it'll be a much bigger deal than, say, when McCain was in Jordan, or somewhere in the Middle East, and basically mixed up Shia and Sunnis for a moment." In fact, McCain did not "mix[] up" Shias and Sunnis just for a moment; he made the false statement three times in two days.

On the July 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain "momentarily mistook Shias and Sunnis in Jordan" when he made the admittedly false claim that Iranian operatives are "taking Al Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back." Similarly, on the July 18 edition of MSNBC Live, Chicago Tribune Washington correspondent Michael Dorning asserted that if Sen. Barack Obama "makes a mistake" on his upcoming trip to Europe and the Middle East, "[i]t'll be a much bigger deal than, say, when McCain was in Jordan, or somewhere in the Middle East, and basically mixed up Shia and Sunnis for a moment." Contrary to Wallace's and Dorning's assertions, McCain did not "mix[] up" Shias and Sunnis just for a moment; he made the false statement twice during a March 18 press conference in Amman, Jordan and once the day before on Hugh Hewitt's nationally syndicated radio program. After Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who accompanied McCain on the trip, whispered something in his ear during the press conference, McCain said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

Wallace also said of Obama's trip: "He also runs a little bit of a risk if suddenly he's too much of a rock star in the Muslim world or in Europe. I wonder if some people back at home might say, 'Gee, is he representing our interests or their interests?' Some people have suggested that his foreign policy is a little too European anyway."

From the July 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: That was going to be my next question, because you could look at it as a high-risk trip for Barack Obama. However, one of the points for that to happen, potentially, would be that these three mainstream anchors actually ask tough questions.

WALLACE: Yeah, well, I think that they will. And these things always end up being less about the questions that are asked than they do what the guys say. I mean, like John McCain when he momentarily mistook Shias and Sunnis in Jordan. You know, it -- it'll be interesting to see. He also runs a little bit of a risk if suddenly he's too much of a rock star in the Muslim world or in Europe. I wonder if some people back at home might say, "Gee, is he representing our interests or their interests?" Some people have suggested that his foreign policy is a little too European anyway. So, it's going to be a really -- look, it's going to be an interesting week. And we're going to be covering it on Sunday and all next week. And, you know, I wish I could've been along for the ride, but, you know, they -- they've chosen who they want to speak to.

From the 11 a.m. ET hour of the July 18 edition of MSNBC Live:

DORNING: Well, the whole point of the trip, I think, is to make him look presidential and give him -- give people a sense that he's actively engaged in foreign affairs. And there's nothing like the pictures of a future commander in chief or potential future commander in chief actually talking with troops on the ground in the battle zone to make people feel that way. Then he'll be meeting with foreign leaders in Israel --

HALL: Right.

DORNING: -- and in Europe. It all looks very presidential. And, you know, I think then he can later on say, well, I was in Iraq and I made this observation. So, I think politically --

HALL: But, is that really enough, Mike, to counter what McCain is saying to the American public? Yeah, you will see him in these scenarios, but this is just a stunt.

DORNING: Well, I think that it can only help him some. There is a lot of risk attached to it, of course, if he makes a mistake. It'll be a much bigger deal than, say, when McCain was in Jordan --

HALL: Right.

DORNING: -- or somewhere in the Middle East, and basically mixed up Shia and Sunnis for a moment.

HALL: Right.

DORNING: With Barack Obama, he's a newer person, so just a little mistake --

HALL: Mm-hmm.

DORNING: -- will raise people's doubts about him.

HALL: Right.

DORNING: But, that said, you know, McCain can talk about photo-ops and so can the RNC, but people are going to see those photo-ops for seven days straight.

HALL: Right.

DORNING: And he's going to have a chance to talk to all the network anchors and make his case. So there will be all this attention about him talking about foreign policy.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, Chicago Tribune
Person
Chris Wallace, Mike Dorning
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
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