On Fox News Sunday, National Public Radio's Juan Williams acknowledged that "most people are telling pollsters that they trust the Democrats more on taxes than they do the Republicans," but then said, "To me, that's crazy." On The Chris Matthews Show, Chris Matthews again falsely suggested that the issue of taxes favors Republicans, even though recent polling shows otherwise.
Matt Lauer asked former White House chief of staff Andrew Card whether he "question[s] the timing" of a New York Times report that documents that weapons experts say "constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb" were posted on a government website functioning as a clearinghouse for documents found in Iraq. Separately, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell asked NBC's Andrea Mitchell if the report "helps the [Bush] administration by reminding people about potential weapons of mass destruction that were developed before the first Gulf War."
Despite the significance of President Bush's November 1 pronouncement that Donald Rumsfeld will remain defense secretary until the end of his presidency, multiple media outlets have devoted much greater attention to the controversy over Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke."
On October 31, the network news led with coverage of the controversy surrounding Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke," downplaying a story on the U.S. military's accession to an order by Iraqi's prime minister to dismantle checkpoints around Sadr City that were part of an effort to locate a missing U.S. soldier. The Los Angeles Times ran the Kerry story on the front page of its print edition, relegating the story on Sadr City to Page 10.
Numerous news outlets have failed to provide the full context for Kerry's recent remarks on Iraq, instead presenting the issue of whether Kerry intended to criticize the troops as a he-said/she-said conflict. These outlets have also ignored comments by several prominent Republicans acknowledging that Kerry did not intend to disparage American soldiers.
In a segment on whether Osama bin Laden will release a propaganda tape prior to the midterm elections -- as he did two years ago -- NBC's Lisa Myers omitted any discussion of bin Laden's motivations in releasing the 2004 message, which the CIA reportedly determined to be an effort to assist in the re-election of President Bush.
During a debate between Maryland Senate candidates, Tim Russert read conflicting comments about the war in Iraq made by GOP candidate Michael Steele, but he failed to prompt Steele to explain the contradictory statements. An Associated Press story about the debate did not note the conflicting comments that Russert read, nor did it mention Steele's assertion that he believes the war has been "worth it."
Several days after ABC's Nightline ran a report on the ad wars of the 2006 elections, claiming, without providing any examples of Democratic-sponsored attack ads, that "both sides are playing a serious game of hardball" with "mudslinging" attack ads hitting "below the belt," NBC News followed its lead, airing a report on "dirty tricks" in political campaigns without any examples of "dirty tricks" by Democrats.
NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer suggested that when Rush Limbaugh "said perhaps Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease" in a recent campaign ad, Limbaugh was "just say[ing] what a lot of people were privately thinking." Also on Today, radio host Laura Ingraham baselessly claimed that just because people are "unhappy with the current situation" in Iraq "doesn't mean you redeploy as John Murtha says or John Kerry or most of the Democrats"; in fact, polls have shown that Americans overwhelmingly favor withdrawing from Iraq.
On Meet the Press, Tim Russert cited a Barron's report that predicts Republicans will retain both the House and the Senate in the November midterms. Barron's predicted the outcome by determining "which candidate had the largest campaign war chest," adding, "We ignore the polls," and claimed that its "method" of predicting election outcomes in the past has "certainly" been reliable. Barron's gave no indication, however, that its method has changed in each of the last three election cycles and, in past elections, has included the use of polling data.