CNN's Ed Henry said that Sen. John Kerry's call for a filibuster of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s nomination to the Supreme Court reinforced the "elitist" label given to Kerry by the GOP during the 2004 presidential campaign because he made the statement from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. However, when CNN later interviewed Sen. Saxby Chambliss about the potential filibuster, there were no "elitist" comments to be found, even though Chambliss was also commenting from Davos.
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.
Various media outlets have failed to challenge the claims of Republican senators that they disregarded ideology when voting to confirm Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer in the 1990s. In fact, both Ginsburg and Breyer were consensus nominees, suggested to President Clinton by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and had reputations and judicial records of moderates at the time of their nominations.
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. *
A West Virginia Sunday Gazette Mail column quoted Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, that "[t]he religious right already controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives" and plans to "pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues" but then falsely attributed words to Neas, suggesting without basis that by "religious right," Neas meant "these evil churchgoers."
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips misstated a false assertion made by Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell regarding Democrats and indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Phillips reported that Howell "wrote that ... Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans." Phillips then said: "Well that's true, though most of the money went to Republicans." In fact, Abramoff made no contribution to Democrats.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Democrats took campaign contributions from former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. When a caller noted his false claim, O'Reilly stated: "So you are a Kool-Aid drinker who is blinded by whatever neurosis you have, because that's just insane." As Media Matters for America has documented, only Republicans received direct contributions from Abramoff.
A January 18 Associated Press article reported that "Democrats tried to link [indicted Republican lobbyist Jack] Abramoff to Republicans." However, the article failed to discuss numerous ties between the GOP and Abramoff.
News outlets reported that the Republican-sponsored ethics reform package would ban lobbyist-paid travel. But the proposed reform measure would still allow lobbyist-paid meals and trips as long as they were offered as campaign fundraising activities.
A Time magazine article wrongly stated that Congress eliminated funding once earmarked for a mile-long, 200-foot-high bridge connecting Ketchikan, Alaska, to a sparsely populated island and regional airport. In fact, while the earmark was removed from the budget, the money remained, now available for use by the state of Alaska for any reason state officials deem fit -- including for the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere."
Covering the nomination hearing of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., NBC News correspondent Pete Williams asserted that "Alito himself told the senators this week that a president does not have the power to disregard a law." But Williams based this on only a part of a response Alito gave on the issue of presidential power. In fact, Alito's entire response on the issue constitutes a legal truism that tells senators nothing about his views on presidential power versus congressional power -- that the president cannot disregard a law that is constitutional. Simply put, Alito told the committee that the president has to follow the law except when he doesn't have to.
In an interview with Rep. Roy Blunt, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace let Blunt make several false and misleading claims in defense of his ethical record.
Hotline editor-in-chief Chuck Todd defended Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton by saying former Sen. Bill Bradley also was a member. Todd neglected to mention that Bradley resigned his membership in the first year after the organization was formed because of its stance on women and minorities.
On NPR's All Things Considered, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson interviewed five Republicans and no Democrats during a segment host Michele Norris described as a "look at how Republicans in Congress are dealing with the fallout from the Abramoff affair." The all-GOP format of Liasson's report gave one of the Republicans a chance to launch unanswered attacks on Democrats.
Deborah Howell, the Washington Post ombudsman, falsely asserted twice that Democrats received contributions from Jack Abramoff.