Contradicting other reporting, Bill Bennett claimed that Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair opposed President Obama's recent release of four previously classified Justice Department memos that had authorized the use of harsh interrogation techniques.
Sean Hannity falsely asserted that President-elect Barack Obama "talked about in the campaign cutting tens of millions of dollars in defense spending" when, in fact, Obama said he would cut "tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending." Hannity also asserted that Obama said "[h]e's not gonna weaponize space, slow development of Future Combat Systems" and that he would "set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons" without noting that former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and other prominent GOP figures have advocated similar positions.
During postdebate coverage, Bill Bennett asked, "Why didn't [Sen. Barack] Obama say it was wrong?" -- referring to a statement by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) that invoked George Wallace. In fact, during the debate, Obama said of Lewis' statement, "I do think that he inappropriately drew a comparison between what was happening there and what had happened during the civil rights movement, and we immediately put out a statement saying that we don't think that comparison is appropriate."
Bill Bennett stated: "On the issues, the immigration debate, a lot of people thought would derail John McCain. He hasn't recanted that position. He hasn't recanted his position on McCain-Feingold or McCain-Kennedy." In fact, McCain stated during a Republican primary debate that he would not vote for the immigration reform bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Ted Kennedy.
NPR's Renée Montagne, MSNBC's Pat Buchanan, and CNN's Bill Bennett all referred to the National Journal's 2007 Vote Ratings, which ranked Sen. Barack Obama the most liberal senator that year, without noting the subjectivity of the ratings. The National Journal based its rankings not on all votes cast by senators in 2007, but on "99 key Senate votes, selected by NJ reporters and editors, to place every senator on a liberal-to-conservative scale."
On The Situation Room, Bill Bennett defended Sen. John McCain against criticism he has received from radio host Laura Ingraham and other conservatives. But Bennett and host Wolf Blitzer both failed to disclose that Bennett has given more than $2,000 to McCain's presidential campaign.
During the early evening of January 8, the day of the New Hampshire primaries, Bill Bennett said on CNN: "The Clintons come in like George McGovern and go out like Richard Nixon. I think they're going out, by the way." Later, Bennett also stated: "Count Hillary Clinton out of this." But after CNN called the primary for Clinton that night, Bennett commented, "You know, watching the mainstream media saying that she was done and finished -- for a conservative Republican, where do I go? Do I side with the Clintons or do I side with the mainstream media?" At no point did Bennett mention his earlier comments.
While discussing a recent campaign event during which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's voice broke as she talked about why she is seeking the presidency, several media figures described Clinton's actions as "calculated," reviving a characterization frequently made by the media that Clinton is "calculating."
Media figures have attributed Democratic gains in the House and Senate in the midterm elections to the number of wins by conservative or moderate Democratic challengers and have suggested that because the party's victory in the House was purportedly "built on the back of more centrist candidates," the incoming Democratic majority will be sharply divided. However, a Media Matters for America survey of the policy positions of 27 victorious House candidates found that they all agree on a core set of issues, including raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security.
Responding to criticism of an RNC ad attacking Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. -- an ad described by former Republican senator and Secretary of Defense William Cohen as "overt[ly] racist" -- CNN political analyst Bill Bennett and Ron Christie, former special assistant to President Bush, revived the dubious claim that, in 2002, Maryland Senate candidate and lieutenant governor Michael Steele (R), who is an African-American, "had Oreos thrown at him" by Democrats as a racial insult. In fact, there is significant evidence that calls into question the Oreo cookie claims.