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."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly stated: "[A]ll the money from the elites. We know that journalists -- most journalists give money to Democrats." However, the study O'Reilly was apparently referring to showed that of the small fraction of journalists who donated money at all to campaigns, more gave to Democrats than Republicans -- not that "most journalists give money to Democrats."
On Special Report, correspondent Anita Vogel falsely claimed that ballot initiatives proposed by Democrats on the distribution of California's electoral votes would "protect the current process." In fact, the initiatives would change the "current process" if enacted by California and other states.
On Fox News Live, correspondent Anita Vogel reported on a ballot initiative proposed by a Republican organization that would "divvy up" California's "55 coveted electoral votes to the winner of each congressional district, rather than the winner-take-all system currently in place." On-screen text during Vogel's report identified a spokesman for the GOP group as "pro-reform" and an opponent of the initiative as "anti-reform." However, the spokesman has criticized two other initiatives on California's electoral vote that have been proposed by Democrats.
Karl Rove asserted that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "enters the general election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup Poll," and added: "The only person who comes close is ... hers are at 49. The only other candidate to come close was Al Gore with 34, I believe." In fact, Gallup's polling results show that President Bush's unfavorability ratings as he entered the 2004 general election campaign were consistently above what Rove claimed to be "close[st]" to Clinton's unfavorability rating -- "Al Gore with 34" percent.
In reports about Karl Rove's announcement that he is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff, numerous news reports uncritically repeated Rove's assessments that President Bush "will move back up in the polls" and that Republicans have "a very good chance" of winning the White House in 2008. However, these outlets did not mention Rove's recent track record: Before the November 2006 midterm elections, he predicted that Republicans would "keep" their majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.
Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza asserted that during a debate for Democratic presidential candidates, "Democrats were asked, 'Are your kids in public schools?' Well, most of them said, 'Yes, we believe very strongly in public schools. But no, our kids don't go to them.' " In fact, three of the candidates said their children currently attend or did attend public schools, two said their children attended both public and private schools, and two said their children currently attend or did attend private schools.
After playing a clip of John Edwards asserting that "Fox News ... has a clear and long history of bias against Democrats," host Bill O'Reilly responded that "John Edwards has been on the Fox News Channel 33 times," and that, in reviewing those interviews, "[n]ot once could I find anything insulting, demeaning, or disrespectful to the senator." In fact, beyond Edwards' treatment while a guest on Fox News, O'Reilly himself and numerous other Fox News personalities have repeatedly made "insulting, demeaning, or disrespectful" statements about Edwards and other Democrats.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson repeated the claim that when he worked in the White House in 1996, then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton "wanted to outlaw uniforms, military uniforms in the White House," saying it was a "perfect example" of how Clinton "does not understand the military." Patterson's story of Clinton's purported "edict" -- which he says occurred in 1996 "when he first arrived" at the White House -- echoes a debunked claim about Clinton dating back to 1993. And his version of how he learned of Clinton's purported plan to ban military uniforms in the White House varies with each telling.
While reporting on California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's decision to decertify the state's electronic voting machines in light of a study that found the systems are vulnerable to security breaches, numerous media outlets attacked the study's "unrealistic" methodology or uncritically reported criticism of the study's premise, without noting the researchers' explanation for their methods.