Discussing Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson's 2008 predictions, Bill O'Reilly stated on his Fox News show that the "secular-progressive far left says, look, all these people are crazy; all believers are nuts. They're dangerous people. ... Mitt Romney is a dangerous Mormon." However, polling data indicate that white evangelical Protestants are the most likely to be bothered by Romney's religion, and that conservatives are less willing than liberals to vote for a Mormon.
A Des Moines Register article reported that Mitt Romney "defended the Bush administration's use of wiretaps to spy on suspected terrorists," quoting Romney asserting that President Bush "has done what was necessary here with the Patriot Act, as well as by listening in when al-Qaida was calling." But the article simply ignored the central issue in the debate: whether the government should have to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on communications involving people in the United States.
On Meet the Press, Mitt Romney claimed Hillary Clinton "put politics ahead of people" because "she was one of 28 [senators] to vote against alternative methods" of stem cell research. In fact, while Clinton voted against legislation that would have provided funding for alternative research measures, but restricted embryonic stem cell research, she voted for a bill that contained provisions providing for research relating to "alternative method technologies" and also expanded funding for embryonic stem cell research. Romney also touted a recent "breakthrough" on "alternative methods of creating stem cells without having to create new embryos" while failing to note that the senior American scientist involved in the "breakthrough" has emphasized the need to continue embryonic stem cell research. Meet the Press host Tim Russert did not challenge Romney on his claims.
On NBC's Today, David Gregory stated that, in his speech, Mitt Romney "urged voters to reject a religious test for his candidacy," then aired clips of Romney saying, "I will serve no one religion," and "[a] person should not be elected because of his faith, nor should he be rejected because of his faith." Similarly, Matt Lauer did not challenge Romney's claim that he "do[es]n't believe that the people in this country are going to choose a person based upon their faith or what church they go to." Neither Gregory nor Lauer noted that Romney has asserted, on several occasions, that Americans "want a person of faith to lead them."
On the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric asked Mitt Romney "why he didn't spend more time explaining the tenets of his Mormon faith in his speech last week." Romney replied: "I can't imagine doing that in a speech as you're running for president. ... [T]hat would really open the door to the kind of religious test where people would listen and say, 'OK, do I believe that?' " He later stated that "[n]o religious test should ever be required for qualification for office in these United States." But Couric did not note that Romney has repeatedly asserted that Americans "want a person of faith to lead them."
In an article on Mitt Romney, The Washington Post reported that Romney "repeatedly asserts his firm belief in the separation of church and state" and quoted from Romney's "Faith in America" speech: "No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president, he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths." But the Post did not mention that, in that same speech, Romney attacked unnamed people who "seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God," or his claims that "[f]reedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom," and "[f]reedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."
Discussing Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech, CNN's Colleen McEdwards said to the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) Richard Land, "I mean, let's face it, some people go as far as saying Mormonism is a cult." At no point during the interview, however, did Land acknowledge or McEdwards point out that the SBC lists the Mormon church as a "Major Cults/Sect in North America" or that an SBC group uses Mormonism as an example in highlighting four of the six characteristics it uses to answer the question, "What is a Cult or Sect?"
Panelists on The Chris Matthews Show praised Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech, but none noted that Romney attacked unnamed people who "seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God," claiming: "It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America -- the religion of secularism. They are wrong." Nor did they note Romney's claims that "[f]reedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom," and "[f]reedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."
NPR's Ari Shapiro reported on Sen. John McCain's criticism of Mitt Romney "for refusing to say outright that the interrogation technique of controlled drowning known as waterboarding is torture," adding that "Attorney General Michael Mukasey almost was not confirmed based on his refusal to classify waterboarding as torture." But Shapiro did not note that, notwithstanding his criticism of Romney, McCain supported Mukasey's nomination for attorney general despite Mukasey's "refusal to classify waterboarding as torture."
On Hardball, citing "a new Zogby poll," Chris Matthews stated: "Tonight, our Big Number is the number five. That's the number of Republican presidential candidates that [Sen.] Hillary Clinton trails in the November matchups." However, Matthews did not note that the poll was an online Zogby Interactive poll in which participants were chosen from a database of volunteers. Matthews omitted this fact despite statements by the American Association for Public Opinion Research and Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal -- who appeared earlier in the day on MSNBC -- that such polls are unreliable.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews said of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, "I think Huckabee has got the biggest free ride from the liberal media that I have ever seen in my life. I mean, the guy, if you want to get into conspiracy theories -- I mean why is everybody who is liberal pushing Huckabee? Give me a break." However, during the November 8 edition of Hardball, Matthews introduced an interview with Huckabee by comparing him with the other Republican presidential candidates and asking, "[W]hy are prominent Christian conservatives bypassing former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to support a New Yorker with liberal positions on social issues, a senator who's had poor relations with evangelicals, and a Mormon who's changed his position on abortion?" Matthews went on to say, "[I]t's an honor to have you on the show. Everybody likes you, Governor Huckabee. We're waiting for those poll numbers to reflect it. Everybody around here seems to like you, and we'll see what that's worth. Anyway, good luck in Iowa."
On MSNBC's Tucker, the Politico's Josephine Hearn stated that if Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wins the Iowa caucuses, "I think that's very damaging to Mitt Romney, because they're both going after values voters. So they're both trolling in the same areas." Hearn's use of the label "values voters" to characterize the subset of voters being targeted by Huckabee and Romney advanced the myth that this group of voters is the only political constituency that votes its "values."
On MSNBC Live, discussing Democrats' efforts to override President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill, Contessa Brewer stated that "even conservative Republican presidential candidates are trying to sidestep this issue." However, several of the leading Republican candidates have spoken in support of Bush's veto, including Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney.