On Special Report, U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone asserted that an Oregon initiative that would have increased cigarette taxes to fund children's health care failed because Oregon voters did not want to pay higher taxes. Barone later claimed "the main reason" Utah voters rejected a statewide school voucher plan was "that there was a very big campaign put on against it by the National Education Association and other teacher unions." In fact, spending by an interest group also played a role in the Oregon vote -- tobacco companies reportedly spent $11.8 million in a campaign to defeat the Oregon initiative, nearly triple the $4.4 million reportedly spent by the "very big campaign" to defeat the Utah school voucher plan.
Bill O'Reilly asserted that The New York Times is not "honest" because an article stated that "MSNBC is competitive with The [O'Reilly] Factor at 8 p.m.," claiming, "MSNBC had no overall ratings growth at 8 p.m. None. In the past five weeks, the Factor has beaten them by 225 percent in total audience and 100 percent in the key demo [the 25- to 54-year-old marketing demographic]." In fact, the article stated that MSNBC's Countdown has "[o]n some nights recently ... come tantalizingly close to surpassing" the Factor "among viewers ages 25 to 54" and noted that "[m]ost of the time, though, Mr. O'Reilly outdraws Mr. Olbermann by about 1.5 million viewers over all at the same hour, according to Nielsen Media Research."
On Fox News' Special Report, Brit Hume asserted that "[t]he Clintons' ability to withhold information from the public extends not just to the Clinton Presidential Library it seems, but also to the University of Arkansas library as well," but provided no evidence to support that claim. Indeed, Hume later said: "The Clinton campaign says it has not had any contact with the University of Arkansas about delaying the release of the papers."
Numerous media outlets have covered the issue of whether former President Bill Clinton's papers relating to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, will be released. Absent from most of these reports and discussions, however, was any mention of Rudy Giuliani's handing of the papers from his time as New York City mayor. While the Clintons' papers have remained in the custody of the National Archives, Giuliani's papers were for several years in the possession of a private foundation directed by Giuliani supporters.
Reporting the Iraqi government's assertion that "more than 3,000 Iraqi families that were driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned home in the past three months because of the decline in sectarian violence," Fox News' Brit Hume stated, "A worker at the Iraqi Airways office in Damascus [Syria] says the flow of refugees from Iraq to Syria has almost reversed." But Hume did not report that Syrian officials recently began requiring people entering Syria from Iraq to obtain a visa first, which has reportedly eliminated the flow of refugees from Iraq into Syria almost entirely.
On Hannity & Colmes, while discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's performance at the October 30 Democratic debate, Kate Obenshain, the former chairwoman of Virginia's Republican Party, said that Clinton "really revealed her Achilles heel this week, which we've all sort of known, but now everybody knows it, that she does not have consistent positions on issues." She later added, "[I]nstead of coming forward to the American people the next day and saying, 'All right. This is really what I meant,' she continued to obfuscate, and then she ran to Wellesley and hid behind the skirts ... and said, 'Those big ... mean boys were picking on me' ... instead of being able to state her positions."
On Fox News' Special Report, Charles Krauthammer claimed that Sen. Barack Obama's policy regarding Iran's purported nuclear weapons program "takes all aggression, all threats, everything serious off the table in advance." But in an interview with The New York Times that formed the basis for an article Krauthammer cited, Obama did not take military action against Iran "off the table." When asked whether he would "retain a military option for striking Iran's nuclear facilities," Obama said, "I don't think the president of the United States takes military options off the table, but I think that we obviously have to measure costs and benefits in all the decisions that we make."
Discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton's performance during the Democratic presidential debate, Chris Matthews claimed that Clinton made herself "look like a switcher" when responding to questions about her views on Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. In fact, Clinton maintained that Spitzer's plan "ma[de] sense," explaining that "what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform" and claiming: "I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well-intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform." Matthews and other media figures invoked Sen. John Kerry's alleged "flip-flopping," suggesting that Clinton made inconsistent statements.