In reporting on Sen. John McCain's October 16 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, several media outlets noted McCain's response to a question about his association with Watergate break-in figure G. Gordon Liddy that Liddy "paid his debt, he went to prison." However, none of these outlets noted other controversial actions by Liddy, which McCain did not mention, let alone denounce, on Letterman's show, including multiple instances of reportedly advising his radio show audience on the best way to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents -- statements that were reportedly made long after Liddy left prison.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and The New York Times' Katharine Q. Seelye asked whether Sen. Joe Biden will "help" Gov. Sarah Palin "with her chair" at the beginning of the vice-presidential debate. The question is one that presumably would not be asked if the two candidates were the same gender, and the premise of the question itself is false, as the debate format rules state that Biden and Palin will be "standing at podiums" -- a fact Seelye later acknowledged.
In reporting the McCain campaign's attack on Sen. Barack Obama for "the $400,000 from big oil contributors" he has received, The New York Times' The Caucus blog did not point out that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sen. John McCain has received approximately $1.3 million from the oil and gas industry, more than triple the amount Obama has received.
Despite a recent poll showing Sen. Barack Obama holding a 34 percentage-point lead over Sen. John McCain among Hispanic voters, the New York Times blog The Caucus uncritically reported remarks by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) touting McCain's helpfulness to GOP candidates in Colorado and New Mexico "because of the Hispanic vote."
The New York Times' political blog, The Caucus, reported that Sen. John McCain's campaign "believes" Sen. Barack Obama "reneged on his pledge to accept public financing," and that McCain's campaign "circulated an editorial ... that questioned Mr. Obama's commitment to the public financing system." However, The Caucus did not report that McCain may have violated campaign finance laws by surpassing spending limits under the public financing system for the primary campaign.
In a blog post, New York Times reporter Patrick Healy wrote that as Spanish-speaking voters chanted "Si se puede" at a rally in California, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "bellowed into her microphone, 'Si se pueda is right!' " Healy added, "Several colleagues who speak better Spanish than I do say that 'pueda' (as opposed to 'puede') has meaning in other contexts, but it does not really make sense in this one." In fact, Clinton used the correct verb but the wrong tense.