On the February 17 broadcast of his radio program, Focus on the Family president James C. Dobson and Tom Minnery, the organization's vice president of public policy, sought to fend off questions arising from reports of their alleged collusion with convicted felon and former gambling industry lobbyist Jack Abramoff in a scheme to shut down competition to his clients' casinos. While both Dobson and Minnery deny working with Abramoff, email exchanges between Abramoff and associates Ralph Reed and Michael Scanlon appear to contradict Dobson and Minnery's claim that Focus on the Family's activities in opposition to the expansion of a Louisiana casino had nothing to do with requests from Abramoff or Reed.
In an article covering the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race between Sen. Rick Santorum (R) and likely Democratic nominee Robert P. Casey Jr., The Washington Post mischaracterized issues surrounding mortgage deals each candidate made. By reporting that each candidate had received a loan from a bank whose board members had made campaign contributions to him, the Post falsely suggested that their transactions were comparable when, in fact, Santorum's deal may have violated Senate ethics rules.
A Washington Post editorial adopted several claims that the Bush administration has made in defense of its agreement to let a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) manage six U.S. ports, even though those claims are contradicted by the Post's own news reporting. News reports in the Post and The New York Times also cited without challenge the administration claims about the length of the review, even though their own previous reporting directly contradicted the claims.
In detailing the evaluation process the Bush administration purportedly undertook before agreeing to permit a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to manage port terminals in six major U.S. cities, several media outlets reported that the administration approved of the deal only after a thorough review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). But none of the reports noted the glaring inconsistency in the administration's account: that Donald Rumsfeld, a key member of CFIUS, acknowledged in a February 21 press conference that he possessed "minimal information" about the deal because he had "just heard about this over the weekend."
CNN anchors and reporters repeatedly described Dubai Ports World -- the company set to assume control of six U.S. ports -- as an "Arab company" or a "Dubai-based company." However, in describing the company as such, these reporters are ignoring a key factor in the bipartisan controversy surrounding the takeover deal, which is that the company is a state-run business in the United Arab Emirates.
The Los Angeles Times reprinted an abridged version of a flawed Associated Press story about links between disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. The Washington Times' Donald Lambro also selectively cited the article in a column.
Reporting on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study that found that the Bush administration has spent $1.6 billion in public relations contracts since 2003, Brit Hume noted the White House claim that its use of "video news releases" is legal. However, Hume did not report that, according to the GAO, this practice violates federal law.
On February 13, MSNBC issued a correction of a falsehood previously documented by Media Matters for America, that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave $68,000 in campaign contributions to Sen. Harry Reid.
Two days after an Associated Press report ignored crucial details that undermine a link between Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a follow-up AP article misrepresented new evidence, which the AP suggested provides further confirmation of such a link but, in fact, casts additional doubt on whether such a link exists.
CNN's Lou Dobbs reported on an Associated Press article published that day that he said demonstrated "the huge influence of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff in Congress" by showing that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had written "at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Abramoff." But the AP article left out important details of two incidents that purportedly link Reid to Abramoff -- details that undermine Dobbs' assertion that it demonstrates any influence Abramoff had with Reid.
During a report on a dispute between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, CBS' Gloria Borger uncritically presented McCain's side of the dispute. While she noted that McCain accused Obama of distancing himself from McCain's reform proposals for "partisan reasons," she said: "It's very clear that lobbying reform is a very personal issue for John McCain. It's very important to John McCain."
The Associated Press, The New York Times, and ABC's World News Tonight reported on Republican efforts to present new House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH) as a clean break from GOP corruption scandals, but they ignored criticism Boehner received for passing out checks from a tobacco industry group on the House floor moments before a key tobacco vote, as well as other ethical questions raised by Boehner's record.
Reporting that new House Majority Leader John Boehner could satisfy "a lot of Republican rank-and-file [who] want change because of the lobbying scandals," CNN's Ed Henry ignored Boehner's history of ethics concerns, including the criticism he received for passing out checks from a tobacco industry group on the House floor moments before a key tobacco vote.
One day after NBC's Katie Couric chided Howard Dean for saying that Democratic lawmakers received no campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff, Matt Lauer said that "technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct." In fact, Dean was correct and Couric was wrong.
Media figures have argued that the scandal surrounding former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is good news for Sen. John McCain because, unlike other members of Congress, he is untainted by the scandal and could benefit politically from being cast as a reformer. But these media figures failed to note that, like many Democrats who they have suggested are tainted, McCain received campaign money from Abramoff's clients, as reported by the Associated Press and the Center for Responsive Politics. *