Media figures have claimed or suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is only now admitting that he may have to scale back his campaign agenda as a result of the weak economy. In fact, Obama repeatedly said prior to the November 2008 election that some policies he proposed on the campaign trail might need to be delayed because of economic conditions.
On CNN's Late Edition, Gloria Borger claimed that "the bar is ... on the floor for Sarah Palin" in her upcoming debate with Sen. Joe Biden. Jeffrey Toobin replied, in part: "[W]ho are we to say where the bar is?" He later said that "we sort of create these expectations" that "it's not our job to do."
Days after CNN's Jeffrey Toobin asserted that the media are "being kind of gullible in falling for" Sen. John McCain's announcement that he was going to suspend his campaign, and noting that McCain "didn't suspend his campaign," Wolf Blitzer asserted as fact, not for the first time, that McCain "temporarily suspend[ed] his campaign."
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer and John King both cited an August 15-18 Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in which 52 percent of Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters said they will support Sen. Barack Obama, but neither noted that an August 19-22 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 70 percent of Clinton supporters "back Obama," according to the Post.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that "Senator [Barack] Obama opposed it [the troop surge], said it wouldn't work, even voted to cut off the funds for the men and women who are fighting over there." Blitzer did not point out that McCain himself voted against legislation that would have provided funds for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Gov. Tim Pawlenty's false claim that under Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to increase the capital gains tax rate, "if you have an IRA or a 401(k), which a lot of middle Americans do, and you go to retire or, you know, use that money, you're going to pay almost double the rate in taxation." In fact, most distributions from retirement accounts are taxed as regular income, not as capital gains.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's claim that Sen. John McCain opposed President Bush's 2001 tax cuts because he "wanted a tax cut, a very healthy tax cut, but he wanted spending limitations." In fact, when he voted against the cuts in 2001, contrary to what he now says on the campaign trail, McCain made no mention of deficit concerns or of the absence of offsetting spending cuts.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer stated that Sen. John McCain uses "his reputation out there as an independent, sometimes described as a maverick" to woo voters. In response, Gloria Borger said: "I think he's going to do it by saying that 'I'm a straight-talker; I tell the truth. You may not agree with me, but you ought to believe what I say.' " But as Media Matters has documented, contrary to his media-promoted image as a "straight-talker," McCain has promulgated numerous falsehoods in his campaign.
On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer described opposition to President Bush's 2001 tax cuts on the grounds that "so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief" as "almost like the class warfare argument that the Democrats make," echoing an attack Republicans commonly use against Democratic positions.
In a report on CNN's Late Edition, Suzanne Malveaux reported that President George H.W. Bush recently came out "very forcefully defending" his son against critics of his decision to invade Iraq "because he feels that he does have some experience when it comes to dealing with Saddam Hussein, and he absolutely believes that the criticism against his son has just not been fair." But Malveaux did not mention that the former president declined to order an invasion of Iraq in 1991, saying that after coalition forces expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait, "going into Baghdad" and "going to be an occupying power ... with no allies on our side ... would have been disastrous."
On CNN's Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Mike Huckabee's claim that Saddam Hussein "said that he had" weapons of mass destruction. In fact, in December 2002, Iraq issued a declaration to United Nations weapons inspectors on its chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs and its long-range missile programs, and CNN.com reported that "Iraqi officials say the report proves Baghdad has no weapons of mass destruction."