On April 22, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart highlighted two recent reports concerning national security that have been largely ignored by most television news outlets and NPR: a New York Times article reporting that "the Bush administration has used" media military analysts, many of whom have clients with or seeking Pentagon contracts, "into a kind of media Trojan horse -- an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks"; and a Government Accountability Office report that found that the "United States has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven in Pakistan's FATA."
On Fox News, The Washington Examiner's Bill Sammon said of House Democrats' move to suspend the 60-day requirement for voting on the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement: "I call it more like the 'nuclear option,' because that's what the Democrats called the Republican threat to change the rules back when they were trying to get judges through." Sammon was referring to a 2005 Republican-proposed Senate rule change that would have effectively eliminated the ability to filibuster judicial nominations. But the term "nuclear option," as it pertains to judicial filibusters, was originally coined by Republican Sen. Trent Lott -- not by Democrats.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer said: "General [David] Petraeus is a career military officer. Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker is a career diplomat, a foreign service officer. It's not as if they're political appointees by the Bush administration in which they can sort of, you know, roll up their sleeves and really go after them." In fact, both Petraeus and Crocker were nominated for their current positions by President Bush.
Fox News' Alisyn Camerota falsely claimed that House "Democrats are pushing legislation which would strip telecommunications companies of their immunity." In fact, the House Democrats' bill does not "strip" telecommunications companies of immunity; it provides immunity prospectively, leaving intact existing immunity provisions under current law and leaving to the courts the question of whether the telecom companies are immune from suit for their prior alleged cooperation with the government in its warrantless domestic wiretapping program.
On Hardball, Chris Matthews repeatedly referenced allegations that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was linked to a prostitution ring to call into question the role of superdelegates in the Democratic nominating process. Matthews stated: "I have to bring into question the prudence, the justice, the judiciousness of these superdelegates."
An Associated Press article reported that Sen. John McCain was asked "whether Republican Rep. Rick Renzi should resign from office," but the article did not note that McCain named Renzi a co-chairman of his presidential campaign in Arizona months after it was reported that Renzi was under federal investigation.
On Meet the Press, discussing the New York Times article about Sen. John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist, David Brooks said he "do[esn't] really understand the case" involving McCain and the letters he wrote to the Federal Communications Commission about an issue involving Paxson Communications, then suggested that McCain "only wrote two letters" as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. But the Times reported that McCain sent a series of letters to the FCC in a separate case, including "an unusually blunt letter to the head of the Federal Communications Commission, warning that he would try to overhaul the agency if it closed a broadcast ownership loophole."
While discussing a New York Times article on Sen. John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist, Bill O'Reilly aired a clip of McCain's attorney Robert Bennett defending McCain against the article's allegations, but did not disclose that Bennett represents McCain and was reportedly hired for the explicit purpose of dealing with the controversy.
Discussing reports about Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Pat Buchanan asserted: "I don't have a problem with John McCain writing a letter there, depending on what he says in the letter," adding, "[B]ut McCain shouldn't be denying that, I don't think, because it seems to me that's in the normal course of business of a congressman." But contrary to his description of McCain's actions as "the normal course" for a congressman, the FCC chairman at the time criticized McCain for his request, calling it "highly unusual."
The Chicago Sun-Times uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's assertion that Sen. Barack Obama is "the most liberal Democrat in the United States Senate." However, the Sun-Times made no mention of the fact that the National Journal, which ranked Obama "the most liberal senator in 2007," said that McCain "did not vote frequently enough in 2007 to draw a composite score."
Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that the ACLU's lawsuit over the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program "was basically an attempt ... to try to overcome a law which was passed by Congress, through the courts." In fact, the ACLU's lawsuit claimed, in part, that the program was in violation of several, as O'Reilly put it, "law[s] ... passed by Congress," including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and asked that the courts enforce those laws by ordering the program shut down.
Robert Novak asserted that "[a] closed-door caucus of House Democrats" had "instructed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Bush's bluff on extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists" and that "Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there was no danger in letting the FISA legislation lapse temporarily." In fact, FISA did not lapse or expire; what expired was the Protect America Act (PAA), which amended FISA. Additionally, Novak falsely stated that "the Democratic leadership Wednesday brought up another bill simply extending FISA authority, this time for 21 days" and that most of the Democrats who voted against the bill "intuitively oppose any anti-terrorist proposal." In fact, the House voted on an extension to the PAA, not FISA, and most of the Democrats who voted against the extension have supported other bills to allow surveillance of suspected terrorists.
In an "analysis" of Sen. Barack Obama's response to a question about being rated the "most liberal senator" of 2007 by National Journal, FactCheck.org deputy director Viveca Novak claimed that "[t]he nonpartisan public policy magazine's analysis of the votes and the designation of 'liberal' and 'conservative' positions was done according to a rather rigorous process the publication has been using since 1981." In fact, National Journal editor Charles Green has admitted that the publication changed the methodology it had used in its 2003 ratings after it determined that the methodology that resulted in a "most liberal" senator ranking for 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry had been flawed.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane claimed that Sen. John McCain is "using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack" against Sen. Hillary Clinton. But in the same article, Kane contradicted his claim that McCain has a policy of "blanket opposition to earmarked spending," reporting: "McCain, who has helped lead efforts to strip some earmarks from Senate bills, has not focused on the money headed to his home state. Other Arizona lawmakers secured more than $214 million in pet projects in fiscal 2008 spending bills."