During the February 26 Democratic presidential debate, Tim Russert falsely claimed that Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which Sen. Barack Obama attends, "said that Louis Farrakhan 'epitomizes greatness.' "
On Meet the Press, host Tim Russert ignored Republican strategist Mike Murphy's reference to Sen. John McCain's acceptance of an endorsement by evangelist John Hagee. Russert did not identify Hagee by name or mention Hagee's statements denouncing or disparaging homosexuality, Islam, Catholics, and women. By contrast, during the last Democratic debate, Russert persisted with questions to Sen. Barack Obama about Louis Farrakhan's support of Obama, despite Obama's repeated denunciations of Farrakhan's statements.
On The Tim Russert Show, Russert falsely claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton said in 2004: "[O]n substance, NAFTA's been good for New York and America." In fact, what Clinton said in 2004 was: "I think on balance NAFTA has been good for New York and America, but I also think that there are a number of areas where we're not dealt with in an upfront way." On Meet the Press, Russert claimed that a video clip showed Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama "coming out against NAFTA"; as the clips made clear, neither candidate "c[ame] out against NAFTA."
During the February 26 Democratic presidential debate, Tim Russert continued a pattern of asking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton questions that include false assertions of fact while suggesting that she is being inconsistent or not being forthcoming.
During the February 26 Democratic primary debate, Tim Russert repeatedly questioned Sen. Barack Obama about his endorsement by Louis Farrakhan without noting that the campaign was quoted criticizing Farrakhan in the very article Russert cited to note the minister's support, that Obama himself said in a speech the day before the debate that he is a "consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan," or that Obama denounced Farrakhan's comments in his response to Russert's initial question on the subject.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews suggested to Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean that he should be concerned about the party's lack of broad appeal, noting polls showing a large number of "college graduates" and voters of a "high economic and social echelon" voting in the primaries. Matthews added, "I just wonder where regular people are in this." But Matthews didn't mention that, according to CNN, "voters are turning out for the Democratic primaries in number[s] that absolutely shatter previous records." Matthews also failed to mention the record turnout in an earlier discussion on the subject with Tim Russert.
Tim Russert left unchallenged Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Hillary Clinton "would set a timetable within 60 days of withdrawal, complete withdrawal from Iraq." In fact, Clinton said that if she were to become president, "[W]e will start withdrawing within 60 days," and would continue to withdraw "one to two brigades a month" with the goal of having "nearly all the troops out by the end of the year ," except for those necessary to "protect our embassy" and other "strategic interests."
On MSNBC's postdebate coverage of the January 15 Democratic presidential debate, Tim Russert misrepresented the positions on Iraq articulated that evening by Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and John Edwards to suggest a shift in "emphasis" from their statements on the issue during a September 26, 2007, debate, which Russert also moderated.
On the January 13 edition of Meet the Press, host Tim Russert -- who, with NBC's Brian Williams, will moderate the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on January 15 -- once again cited the " National Intelligence Estimate, which had a lot of caveats" about Iraq's weapons programs to challenge a Democrat about his or her Iraq war vote, something he did not do in two previous interviews with Sen. John McCain. Russert also aired a statement from Democratic strategist Donna Brazile criticizing former President Bill Clinton's recent comments about Sen. Barack Obama, but not her subsequent remark that "I take the president at his word that he was not being condescending; he was not being insulting."
After falsely asserting that he was showing viewers "exactly what President Clinton said," referring to January 7 comments Bill Clinton made about Sen. Barack Obama, Tim Russert played a truncated quote from Clinton. In addition, Russert read a quote from The New York Times that truncated Hillary Clinton's statement about civil rights, omitting her reference to President Kennedy.
While discussing the results of the Iowa caucuses, NBC's Tim Russert said the "headline" he would use to describe Mike Huckabee's victory would be about "the Republicans embracing someone whose message was populist, and in terms of foreign policy, anti-George W. Bush." In fact, just two days earlier, Huckabee had said: "I love the president. I've been with him on the war. I've been with him on the surge when Mitt Romney wasn't. So it's absurd to say that I'm against the president."
Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, and Chris Wallace each discussed a Politico article that reported: "As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan." But, at no point during these segments did any of the hosts or guests note that Giuliani was having an extramarital affair with Nathan - whom they described merely as his girlfriend -- and that, because of the affair, New York City taxpayers were reportedly paying for both her protection and that of Giuliani's estranged wife.