A USA Today editorial falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "provoked needless controversy in Pakistan when he said he'd invade to chase terrorists if the Pakistanis did not." In fact, Obama did not say he would "invade" Pakistan; rather, he said, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."
Repeating the myth that social conservatives are the only political constituency that votes its "values," the January 24 USA Today twice referred to voters most inclined to support Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as "values voters." A front-page graphic claimed "Huckabee: Has drawn evangelicals and 'values voters,' " while an accompanying article noted that "Huckabee's strength is among just those kind of 'values voters' " who are "uncomfortable" with Rudy Giuliani.
A USA Today article described John McCain as "a maverick senator from the West" who has taken "maverick stands, including votes against Bush's tax cuts in 2001" and "his sponsorship last year of an immigration bill that included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in this country," while a USA Today editorial asserted that "McCain's chief sin, apparently, is that he has broken ranks on issues that include campaign finance, President Bush's tax cuts, illegal immigration and global warming." Neither the article nor the editorial mentioned that McCain has since shifted positions on the Bush tax cuts and immigration.
Numerous print media outlets reported on Sen. John McCain's assertion following the Iowa caucuses that "[t]he lesson of this election in Iowa is that ... negative campaigns don't work." But none of those articles noted that McCain has run negative TV and Web ads against Mitt Romney.
Reporting on a House resolution stating that the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenian people, numerous print outlets noted President Bush's opposition to the measure. However, none of those outlets mentioned that as a presidential candidate in 2000, Bush sent a letter to the Armenian National Committee of America, according to a press release on the organization's website, in which he wrote that "[t]he Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension" and that if elected president, he "would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."
In articles on Blackwater USA chairman Erik Prince's congressional testimony about his security contracting company's performance in Iraq, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times did not report, as other media outlets have, that Prince has made more than $226,000 in political contributions to Republican organizations and candidates.
Many major media outlets that covered the controversy surrounding MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad have yet to cover the bipartisan outcry over Rush Limbaugh's remarks characterizing service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers."
On September 22, the Politico reported that Mitt Romney "has remained mum on the alleged killing of 11 Iraqis by a company where one of his top advisers serves as vice chairman, even as the case has led to an uproar in Baghdad and Washington. ... The top counterterrorism and national security adviser to Romney's presidential campaign is Cofer Black, vice chairman of Blackwater USA." But despite prominent reports by the five major newspapers and the three networks on the Iraqi Interior Ministry revoking Blackwater USA's license, none of those outlets has reported on Romney's connection to Blackwater or his refusal to comment on the matter.
In articles on Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care proposal, several media outlets reported Mitt Romney's attack on the plan without mentioning that, as governor of Massachusetts, he signed into law a health care bill that requires every state resident to obtain health insurance -- one of the central tenets of Clinton's plan.
In articles on President Bush's expected endorsement of Gen. David Petraeus' recommendation to begin drawing down U.S. troops from Iraq in early 2008, The Washington Post and USA Today uncritically reported that "White House aides" said "the president plans to emphasize that he is in a position to order troop cuts only because of the success achieved on the ground in Iraq," and that, according to "senior administration officials," "[t]he final number [of troops withdrawn] will be based on security conditions at the time." But Petraeus himself has stated that "active brigade combat teams were going to come out of" Iraq anyway and that "the strain on the force ... was very much one that informed the recommendations."
In reports on a recent advertisement buy by Freedom's Watch in support of the Iraq war, media reports have failed to resolve the question of which members of Congress the ad buys are targeting, despite the apparent newsworthiness of the issue. For instance, The Washington Post suggested that the ad campaign is an attack on Democrats, a suggestion repeated by Time's Karen Tumulty; other reports have not even mentioned the issue; while still others have asserted that the ads target both Democrats and Republicans. However, according to analyses by war opponents, the buys target mainly Republicans, a charge Freedom's Watch called "propaganda by our enemies."