On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly criticized an Obama campaign ad for including a May 2003 statement from Sen. John McCain, in which McCain said that "there was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president 90 percent of the time." O'Reilly asserted that the "country was in a far different place" when McCain made those comments. In fact, according to a vote analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly, McCain was the administration's most reliable supporter in 2007.
On Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade falsely claimed that "the president of the United States never even said there's a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq," and that "[t]hat wasn't the premise for going in there." In fact, President Bush repeatedly said there was such a link, and that the United States should invade because Saddam might give his purported weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda.
On his radio show, Sean Hannity said that Sen. Barack Obama "can't point to a single instance in which President Bush or McCain or Karl Rove or Sean Hannity or talk radio or any other major Republican has made an issue of Obama's race." In fact, Hannity asserted on the March 2 edition of Hannity's America: "As more is learned about Barack Obama's positions, his past, and his affiliations, it seems that the 'change' candidate has all the same problems with race as those before him," and later added, "It's only fair to ask: Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?" Media Matters has also documented numerous examples of other radio and TV personalities making "an issue of Obama's race."
Echoing The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, Fox News' Neil Cavuto repeated as fact a disputed version of a comment Sen. Barack Obama reportedly made in a closed-door meeting with congressional Democrats, citing it as purported evidence that Obama's "messianic thing is getting a little over the top."
In The Obama Nation, Jerome Corsi writes that Sen. Barack Obama "has yet to answer" the question of whether "he stopped using marijuana and cocaine completely in college." But on Fox & Friends, Jerome Corsi contradicted that assertion, stating that Obama "fully admitted his drug use, both marijuana and cocaine. He says it continued through college." In fact, both of Corsi's allegations are false; Obama wrote in his memoir that he "stopped getting high" shortly after moving to New York City to attend Columbia University as an undergraduate.
On Hannity & Colmes, Alan Colmes questioned David Freddoso's assertion in his new book that Sen. Barack Obama "thr[e]w all of his opponents off the ballot on a technicality, so that those voters have no choice but to elect him. This is precisely how he first won his state Senate seat in 1996." But Colmes pointed out that the "technicality" that Freddoso described included allegedly forged petitions and signatures reportedly from people who did not live within the district that the Senate seat represented.
Sean Hannity asked Democratic strategist Michael Brown: "Can you name any prominent Republican that has brought up -- that has said that [Sen. Barack Obama] is not patriotic, or that he's got a funny name, or that he doesn't look like those presidents on dollar bills? Do you know any prominent Republican that has said any of these things?" Indeed, there have been numerous instances of Republicans -- as well as Hannity himself -- who have questioned Obama's patriotism or brought up his "funny name."
On Hannity & Colmes, Newt Gingrich ridiculed Sen. Barack Obama for encouraging people to properly inflate their tires and falsely suggested that that constituted Obama's only "energy strategy." In fact, Obama has proposed a "Plan for a Clean Energy Future," which includes proposals to "invest $150 billion over 10 years in clean energy," "improve energy efficiency 50 percent by 2030," "support next generation biofuels," and "double fuel economy standards within 18 years." And, Gingrich's ridicule aside, the Department of Energy and the EPA, as well as Republican governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charlie Crist, have all referred to the fuel economy benefits of properly inflated tires.
On Hannity & Colmes, author Jerome Corsi claimed that in his upcoming book, The Obama Nation, "I do a great deal of analysis of [Sen. Barack Obama's] autobiography." Corsi then asserted, "Obama first presents his father as a great hero, and the truth was, his father was a polygamist and a alcoholic." However, contrary to Corsi's suggestion that Obama did not address these issues in his memoir Dreams From My Father, he discusses his father's alcoholism and polygamy in multiple passages in the book.
Sean Hannity falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama canceled a visit with wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center "because the cameras weren't ... allowed and the campaign wasn't allowed." But in discussing an ad by Sen. John McCain's campaign that makes the same claim, NBC's Andrea Mitchell stated, "The McCain commercial on this subject is completely wrong, factually wrong." Further, ABC's Jake Tapper and Time's Karen Tumulty both noted that McCain's campaign has provided "no evidence" to support the assertion that Obama canceled the visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."
Fox news host Gregg Jarrett did not challenge the false assertion by U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman that "[w]hen we had Katrina and Rita, the two worst hurricanes in at least in recent memory, in '05, some three years ago, there was not one case where we had a -- a situation with oil or gas being spilled in the environment." In fact, according to a 2007 report prepared for the U.S. Minerals Management Service, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita resulted in 124 spills from outer continental shelf structures with a total volume of more than 17,000 barrels of petroleum.
On Hannity & Colmes, Mike Gallagher falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama and his wife do not give Christmas and birthday presents to their daughters, saying it's "proof positive that this is a socialist family." Gallagher further claimed that as a result of what he falsely asserted was the Obamas' refusal to give their daughters birthday and Christmas presents, the Obamas' children "are going to have a lifetime of therapy" and are "going to wind up on a bell tower someday if we don't send them presents."
Discussing Sen. John McCain's criticism of Sen. Barack Obama for not visiting wounded soldiers in Germany, Fox News' Molly Henneberg asserted that the "Obama campaign originally said the candidate thought it would be, quote, 'inappropriate' to visit wounded troops as part of a campaign-funded trip, but later they said that the Pentagon said they couldn't go without media cameras." In fact, the Obama campaign did not say that Obama decided not to visit because the Pentagon barred media from accompanying him.
On Fox News, David Asman falsely claimed of Sen. Barack Obama's reported plans for a White House transition months before the November election: "It's never been done before." Similarly, on MSNBC Live, U.S. News & World Report's Kenneth Walsh asserted that Obama is preparing for taking office "very early, and it plays into this notion that the Republicans are talking about, about Obama being too arrogant, that he has sort of a sense of inevitability that has set in there." However, a Media Matters review confirms that Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter all planned for a White House transition months before the election.
Numerous media outlets quoted or aired all or part of a statement Sen. John McCain made criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for giving a "political speech" in Berlin while "a candidate for the office of the presidency," but none noted that McCain himself gave a "political speech" in a foreign country last month, speaking to the Economic Club of Toronto in Ottawa, Canada, on a trip paid for by his presidential campaign.