MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama said of Americans with religious beliefs: "Your faith, the faith of your fathers, the faith of your grandfathers, the faith of your grandmothers -- it's just a crutch. It's just a crutch. You only believe that because you're bitter, because you're poor, because you didn't go to college, because you're working class." In fact, Obama said that "in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania," people are "beaten down" and "feel ... betrayed by government," and "it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion."
Author and Fox News contributor Bernard Goldberg falsely claimed on MSNBC's Morning Joe that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "didn't condemn" an ad that referred to Gen. David Petraeus as "General Betray Us." In fact, Obama and Clinton voted for an amendment that condemned the ad.
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On Morning Joe, Tim Russert asserted, "I remember I asked the candidates in a debate last fall whether they would pledge to have all troops out within their first four years. None of them would make the pledge. By the last debate in Cleveland, both [Sens. Barack] Obama and [Hillary] Clinton were saying, 'Oh no, we'll have them out by '09.' " In fact, neither candidate said during the Cleveland debate that he or she would withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2009. During the "debate last fall," they talked about beginning withdrawal as soon as possible, while leaving troops to perform certain functions after the withdrawal is complete, and Russert himself stated during the Cleveland debate that both candidates have said they would "keep a residual force" in Iraq.
On Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski and Carly Fiorina, an economic adviser to Sen. John McCain, suggested that McCain acknowledged his weakness on economic issues only once. But the Boston Globe has reported that "on numerous occasions over the course of the campaign, McCain has volunteered that he is unsatisfied with his lack of knowledge about aspects of economics."
Responding to an ad by John McCain's campaign, which asserts that in response to "home foreclosures mounting, markets teetering," "[Hillary] Clinton and Barack Obama just said they'd solve the problem by raising your taxes -- more money out of your pocket," Joe Scarborough said the ad would "probably work." But Scarborough didn't note that the ad's central claim is false: Neither Clinton nor Obama has asserted that she or he would respond to "home foreclosures rising" by raising taxes.
On Morning Joe, Time's Rick Stengel claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "has to say it's a new paradigm of patriotism, it's a kind of post-identity politics patriotism, where, 'I wouldn't have had the opportunities I've had anywhere else in the world. .... And the qualities that make America what America is, what makes America great, is the reason that I've been able to be so successful.' " But Obama has said precisely that.
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough advanced the myth that Sen. John McCain hasn't flip-flopped on his position on immigration reform by asserting: "[T]here are a lot of issues that Republicans have despised John McCain for taking positions on. He stayed with those positions, and it makes him much stronger in the fall campaign because of it, and I speak mainly of illegal immigration." In response, co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Absolutely." Indeed, conservatives have praised McCain's rightward shift on the issue.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist repeatedly mocked Sen. Barack Obama's bowling performance -- which Scarborough called "dainty" -- at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. Deriding Obama's score, Scarborough said: "You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it's a man, to be a real man." He added, "You get 150, you're a man, or a good woman," to which Geist replied, "Out of my president, I want a 150, at least." After guest Harold Ford Jr. said that Obama's bowling showed a "humble" and "human" side to him, Scarborough replied, "A very human side? A prissy side."
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist, and NBC News' Savannah Guthrie did not challenge senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt's false assertion that "[w]ith regard to the economy," Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are "talking about raising taxes across the board." In fact, Obama and Clinton have proposed tax cuts -- not tax increases -- for the poor and the middle class.
On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough discussed "[a] trip made by three U.S. lawmakers to Iraq before the war [that] was secretly financed by -- Saddam Hussein." Brzezinski stated, "The dates of the tour match one taken by Democratic representatives Jim McDermott, David Bonior, and Mike Thompson." But neither Brzezinski nor Scarborough mentioned that, as reported on the Morning Joe on-screen news ticker, "The Justice Department [told] NBC News it is satisfied the lawmakers believed in good faith the trip was funded by a legitimate charity."
On Morning Joe, Chris Matthews asserted: "We're stuck in Iraq; 4,000 people are dead now because of decisions made by politicians like the Clintons." Matthews did not explain how "politicians like the Clintons" were responsible for the deaths of "4,000 people" in Iraq, nor did he mention President Bush, who actually made the decision to send U.S. troops to invade Iraq.
After Chuck Todd acknowledged a media double standard in coverage of Sen. John McCain's Al Qaeda-Iran gaffe, CNBC's John Harwood asserted on Morning Joe: "I think that at the end of the day, John McCain has got sufficient credibility on that issue that people are not going to look at that and say, 'Oh, John McCain is confused' or 'John McCain's too old' or 'John McCain doesn't get it.' ... But he obviously can't do that too many times or he's got a problem." Harwood was not alone in misrepresenting or excusing McCain's false claim on MSNBC; several MSNBC reporters and anchors have ignored or excused McCain's false claim.
Responding to Barack Obama's comment, made in his March 18 speech addressing controversial statements by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that his white grandmother had "uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes," Joe Scarborough said: "I really wonder why anybody, why any man, would throw his grandmother under the bus during a political speech regardless of the point he was trying to make." But last week, Scarborough said that "we all have people that we love dearly who are crazy," adding, "Do not hold me accountable for things that my father has said in the past ... or for e-mails ... that my mother sends me. ... And again, Mom and Dad, I love you. I'm just making a bigger point."
Joe Scarborough asserted on MSNBC's Morning Joe: "John McCain has never attached himself to these people on the far right that say if you're gay, you're going to hell, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." In fact, McCain has "attached himself to" some notable religious figures who have made controversial statements, among them John Hagee and Rod Parsley.