On Hardball, Chris Matthews used reports that President-elect Barack Obama might nominate Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state to "rehash" 1990s-era smears and scandals involving the Clintons. Matthews invoked Linda Tripp and hosted Rep. Dan Burton, whom Matthews asked to discuss the false accusation that Vince Foster was murdered, and Christopher Hitchens.
The Washington Post asserted that "Republicans tarred [Al Gore] in 2000 as someone who claimed to have discovered the Love Canal disaster and invented the Internet." But the Post did not note that the Love Canal smear was based on a falsehood originating in The New York Times and The Washington Post itself, nor did it note that Gore never claimed to have "invented the Internet."
Chris Matthews asserted that former President Bill Clinton "made a series of remarks about Barack Obama that turned off many Democrats and may have helped galvanize black voters for Obama." Matthews then aired an abbreviated clip of Clinton's January 7 comments, "This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen," leaving out his preceding comments in which Clinton made clear that he was talking about Obama's statements regarding the Iraq war and not Obama's campaign.
Citing the case of Willie Horton, a black man whose image as a criminal who committed crimes while on a weekend furlough from prison was used against 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, Politico's Roger Simon wrote that Al Gore "raised the issue in a New York primary debate against Dukakis." In fact, while Gore questioned Dukakis about "weekend passes for convicted criminals," Gore did not mention Horton's name, his crimes, or his race.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer asserted, as did a Washington Post blog entry, that Bill Clinton "lashed out" at CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin after she asked him a question following a campaign event in South Carolina that day. Recounting the exchange to Blitzer, Yellin agreed, "He lashed out, Wolf." Similarly, an ABCNews.com report described a "testy exchange" between Barack Obama and New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny. But videos of the two exchanges do not support these sensational descriptions.
Discussing "dynasticism" on NBC's Meet the Press, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan asserted that "this Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton" is a "sickness" that "is giving so many people pause." But when asked how they felt about members of the Bush and Clinton families holding the presidency for nearly 20 years, 50 percent of respondents in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll said it "doesn't really make much difference."
Referencing an interview former President Bill Clinton gave on PBS' The Charlie Rose Show, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter wrote, "During a December taping with PBS's Charlie Rose, a frustrated Clinton called [Sen. Barack] Obama 'a roll of the dice,' as aides tried to end the interview." However, Alter omitted Rose's on-air comments in which he indicated why Clinton's aides wanted to "end the interview."
ABC's The Note referred to an American Spectator column claiming that there was a "vast record of Hillary's joint misdeeds with her spouse" as a "Must-Read," but the column offered false or misleading examples as evidence of these purported "misdeeds."
Fox News' America's Newsroom uncritically reported Republican assertions that Al Gore violated House and Senate committee rules by not submitting copies of his testimony 48 hours in advance, but did not note that committee rules give the chairman authority to waive or ignore the requirement.