A March 20 New York Times article bore the headline "E-Mail Shows Performance, Not Politics, Prompted Attorney Firings, Officials Say." But the article itself reported that performance did not appear to play a role in at least one firing, that of Daniel K. Bogden of Nevada. According to the article, "a top Justice Department official who oversaw the dismissals said he had never even reviewed the performance" of Bogden.
An article in the New York Times "Week in Review" section left out a key element in the controversy over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys: Justice Department emails appear to contradict Alberto Gonzales' congressional testimony, in which he said that the administration intended to seek Senate approval for every U.S. attorney appointed to replace those who had been fired.
While discussing the U.S. attorney firings on ABC's World News, Charles Gibson suggested that the administration did nothing wrong, given the president's authority to fire U.S. attorneys at will. Legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg concurred, adding that the only "problem" is that "the White House hasn't been forthcoming with how this whole plan began." But both Gibson and Greenburg miss the central issues raised by this scandal, which involve allegations of unethical conduct by Republican members of Congress and charges that a former high-ranking Justice Department official violated federal law by knowingly allowing DOJ officials to give false information to Congress.
Commenting on Sen. Pete Domenici's (R-NM) alleged involvement in the firing of U.S. attorney David Iglesias, National Journal's Stuart Taylor Jr. said he "doubt[s] that there'll be anything discrediting to Senator Domenici," ignoring Domenici's reversal on his contact with Iglesias. Taylor also asserted that Joseph Wilson "was not very well qualified" to investigate whether Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Niger.
Mara Liasson falsely claimed that the Bush administration's "interim" U.S. attorney appointees "couldn't stay there" without Senate confirmation. In fact, a law enacted as part of the renewal of the USA Patriot Act does allow an "interim" U.S. attorney to serve indefinitely without Senate confirmation.