Despite media figures from the three broadcast networks asserting that because of the extensive media presence on his trip to the Middle East and Europe, any "mistake," "gaffe," or "misstatement" by Sen. Barack Obama would be amplified and could have vast negative consequences, none of the networks' evening news programs has reported on Sen. John McCain's recent misstatements regarding a nonexistent Iraq-Pakistan border and the timing of the Anbar Awakening.
In a statement reported by The Washington Post on July 24, CBS News now acknowledges that it erred in splicing video of an interview with Sen. John McCain that resulted in the expungement of a false statement made by McCain and the misleading inclusion of an answer McCain gave to a different question. But in the reported statement, CBS News senior VP Paul Friedman maintains, falsely, that the error "did not in any way distort what Senator McCain was saying."
During a CBS Evening News interview, Katie Couric did not challenge Sen. John McCain's suggestion that "five Nobel laureates and 300 economists" agree that his economic plan will allow him to balance the budget, despite an article, excerpted hours before on CBSNews.com, reporting that the statement the economists signed in support of McCain's economic plan said nothing about balancing the budget. The article further quoted one signatory saying, "He's not going to balance the budget. No one's going to balance the budget."
The evening news programs on ABC, NBC, and CBS have yet to cover Sen. John McCain's statement regarding Social Security -- that "Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed" -- even though they have broadcast other remarks McCain made at the same town hall meeting.
On Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer stated that Sen. Barack Obama "seemed to have a slightly different take" on withdrawing troops from Iraq in July 3 remarks, as compared with a speech he made on March 19. But Schieffer omitted Obama's statement in the March 19 speech that he would set Iraq policy in consultation with military commanders.
The CBS Evening News aired a clip of an attack ad against Sen. Barack Obama in which the narrator says, "Obama was enrolled in school as a Muslim while living in Indonesia." Nowhere did the report note that Obama is in fact not a Muslim but, rather, a practicing Christian.
All three network evening newscasts misrepresented retired Gen. Wesley Clark's comments about Sen. John McCain on Face The Nation, with none noting that Clark praised McCain as a "hero" for his Vietnam war service. ABC's David Wright asserted that McCain's experience as a POW made Clark's comments "especially provocative." CBS' Dean Reynolds falsely suggested that Clark had questioned McCain's patriotism and had "critici[zed]" McCain's "service, including five years as a POW." And NBC's Brian Williams falsely suggested that Clark had impugned McCain's "war record."
NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening News have yet to cover Sen. John McCain's campaign loan, despite a February 29 post on the MSNBC.com blog First Read that stated: "We've noticed today the [Sen. John] McCain/FEC stories -- that McCain very well might have to abide by spending limits before the GOP convention -- are starting to roll in. But why is this only now starting to get more traction, compared with all the stories about [Sen. Barack] Obama waffling on his pledge to accept public funds in the general?"
Numerous media outlets have reported all or part of Sen. John McCain's statement rebuking Sen. Barack Obama for his decision to forgo public financing in the general election without mentioning that during the primary, McCain signed a loan that could have forced him to remain in the race -- even if he had no chance of winning -- in order to be eligible for public matching funds to repay the loan.
While discussing President Bush's speech to the Israeli Knesset, in which Bush stated that "some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals," Jeff Greenfield stated that "the number one fear in Israel and among some American Jews is Iran -- that's who Obama wants to talk to." However, Greenfield did not note that Defense Secretary Robert Gates reportedly stated that the United States should "sit down and talk with" Iran.
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.
ABC, CBS, and NBC have still not reported on any of their news programs The New York Times' revelations about the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon. Further, the major broadcast networks and cable news networks all reportedly declined to discuss the issue for an NPR report; the networks similarly reportedly declined to participate in an April 24 PBS NewsHour segment on the issue.
Despite having reported the allegation by Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign that supporters of Ned Lamont had "hacked" Lieberman's campaign website, ABC, CNN, and CBS have yet to report that an FBI investigation reportedly found "no evidence of (an) attack." The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, reported on April 9 that an October 2006 FBI email indicated that the FBI had found Lieberman's website "crashed because Lieberman officials continually exceeded a configured limit of 100 e-mails per hour the night before the primary."
Since The New York Times reported on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon on April 20, ABC, CBS, and NBC have still not mentioned the report. By contrast, during their April 28 evening news broadcasts, all three networks reported on the Vanity Fair photo of Miley Cyrus.
NBC's Today and CBS' The Early Show both aired interviews with Sen. John McCain while the candidate was in New Orleans, but in neither case asked McCain about controversial comments that one of his endorsers, Pastor John Hagee, recently made about Hurricane Katrina, though both programs discussed controversial comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright.