Fox News dishonestly accused White House spokesman Jay Carney of calling the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, a "phony attack" -- a complete fabrication that in no way reflects the comments Carney actually made.
During the July 31 White House press briefing, Carney responded to a question challenging President Obama's criticism that Congressional Republicans have been fixated on "phony scandals." Carney said:
I think we all remember a few weeks ago when Washington was consumed with a variety of issues that, while in some cases significant, there was an effort underway to turn them into partisan scandals. I don't think anybody here would doubt that. And what we've seen as time has passed and more facts have become known -- whether it's about the attacks in Benghazi and the talking points, or revelations about conduct at the IRS -- that attempts to turn this into a scandal have failed.
While the hosts of The Five discussed the press briefing, Fox aired on-screen text that directly quoted Carney calling Benghazi a "phony attack."
Carney had identified as "phony" the fabricated controversy over talking points related to the Benghazi attack. At no point during the press briefing did Carney say that Benghazi itself was a "phony attack."
In a blog post, Jay Carney claimed that Sen. John McCain's "campaign has released a 60-second ad that uses Bill Clinton's words to pin the blame for the mortgage crisis on Democrats" without noting that in the interview clipped in the ad, Clinton actually said that "the biggest mistake" was the SEC's repealing of a regulation on short selling, when President Bush was in office.
In a Swampland blog post headlined "McCain's Legitimate Attack," Jay Carney wrote that unlike previous McCain campaign ads that included "false and distorted assaults" on Sen. Barack Obama, McCain's "new ad ... attacking Obama 'and his liberal allies' for failing to lead in the midst of the current financial markets crisis" is "entirely within bounds." In fact, the new McCain ad contains falsehoods about Obama's response to the current economic situation and his tax proposals.
On Morning Joe, NBC News political director Chuck Todd said of media coverage of Sen. Barack Obama's comment that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" while discussing Sen. John McCain's proposed policies: "I think the McCain campaign is laughing, laughing their butts off this morning. That any of us have taken the bait on this lipstick thing, I mean, this is a joke. It is laughable." Time's Jay Carney stated that the McCain campaign's claim that Obama's comments represented "sexism" was "false" and "ridiculous."
Time's James Carney wrote: "As any Republican will tell you, the National Journal ranked [Sen. Barack] Obama the most liberal member of the Senate." But Carney did not note that the National Journal's rankings are based on subjective criteria.
The Washington Post's George Will asserted that Sen. John McCain's admittedly false claim that Iran is training Al Qaeda is "[n]ot damaging at all" to McCain, "because people say it's a given that this man knows what he's talking about." Similarly, The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman asserted that "I don't think many people believe" "the argument that McCain doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to foreign policy." But neither Will nor Zuckman noted that McCain has made that error more than once.