Some media figures have postulated that if a white male or a conservative had made the equivalent of Sonia Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark, they would be branded a racist, "run out of town," "properly banished from polite society," or "railroaded off the [judicial] bench."
The Los Angeles Times uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's claim that Sen. Barack Obama "proposes" to raise taxes on small businesses, while the Chicago Tribune reported McCain's accusation that Obama "clearly wants to" raise such taxes. In fact, as FactCheck.org wrote in response to a prior McCain claim that Obama would increase taxes on small-business owners: "[T]he overwhelming majority of those small-business owners would see no increase, because they earn too little to be affected."
Numerous print media outlets reported that Sen. Barack Obama represented the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now in the 1990s in a lawsuit, but they did not report that the Department of Justice was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit with the League of Women Voters and others. The lawsuit sought to require the state of Illinois to implement federal law on voter registration.
The Chicago Tribune uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's false assertion during the second presidential debate that Sen. Barack Obama "will fine" small business owners who don't insure employees. In fact, Obama's health care plan states that small businesses are "exempt" from its requirement that "[l]arge employers" either "offer meaningful coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees" or "contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan."
In a September 26 article, the New York Times asserted as fact that Sen. John McCain "suspend[ed] his campaign," but it did not mention that McCain campaign surrogates continued to attack Sen. Barack Obama on television, that McCain campaign ads continued to air on television, and that McCain campaign offices in various battleground states reportedly remained open.
The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva repeated Gov. Sarah Palin's claim that "the Obama-Biden Democrats have been vicious in their attacks directed toward ... my family," but gave no indication that he had challenged Republican aides to substantiate Palin's charge with examples of purported attacks. By contrast, while reporting the charge, NBC, ABC, and the AP all reported that when asked to provide examples of such attacks, Palin aides, the McCain campaign, and the RNC did not provide any.
Numerous print media outlets uncritically reported Gov. Sarah Palin's claim that Sen. Barack Obama "is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform -- not even in the state senate," without noting that Obama has played key roles in the passage of reform legislation at both the federal and state levels, including a bill that McCain co-sponsored and thanked Obama for his work on.
Media outlets continue to report that Sen. Joe Biden was accused in 1987 of plagiarizing then-British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock without noting that while Biden did paraphrase from a Kinnock speech without attribution on at least two occasions in August 1987, he had reportedly credited Kinnock when previously using the same language.
Several media outlets have uncritically reported the false charge by Sen. John McCain's campaign that Sen. Barack Obama "just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii." In fact, according to the Hawaii Department of Land and Resources, all beaches in Hawaii are public.
A Chicago Tribune article uncritically and repeatedly quoted a "senior McCain adviser" attacking Sen. Barack Obama and asserted that the adviser "spoke on condition that he not be identified in order to discuss strategy." But the authors gave no explanation of why they would agree to anonymity for a source who proceeded to attack and to foreshadow further attacks on the opposing candidate.
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 Situation Room, Gloria Borger asserted that Sen. Barack Obama's decision to forgo public financing for the general election "is going to become a character issue for Barack Obama, because ... [i]t gives [Sen.] John McCain an opening to say, 'This is not the man you think you know.' " But Borger did not note that McCain has also given Obama an "opening" on the issue of public financing: a loan agreement McCain signed during the primary season 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.
In a blog post, the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman wrote: "Asked by one of his supporters to provide a few examples where [Sen. Barack] Obama has reached across the aisle, [Sen. John] McCain -- not surprisingly -- was unable to come up with anything." But Zuckman did not note that McCain has previously thanked Obama for his bipartisan work on a bill with several Republicans, including McCain, and McCain's Senate office reportedly contacted Obama's office to cosponsor an update of that bill.
The Chicago Tribune juxtaposed smears on Sen. John McCain in 2000 with Sen. Barack Obama's May 8 comment that McCain was "losing his bearings" without noting the context of Obama's remarks that would have made clear that the Tribune was advancing a false comparison. Obama made the remark in response to an attack by McCain and was accusing McCain of violating his pledge to avoid negative campaigning.
The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman asserted that Sen. John McCain "has a considerable record" as a "maverick" and cited his partnership with Democrats on immigration legislation, among other issues. But Zuckman did not mention that McCain reversed his position on immigration reform to appeal to Republican primary voters and no longer supports the comprehensive immigration reform legislation he sponsored with Sen. Edward Kennedy.