Several media outlets reporting on the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote to authorize subpoenas of senior White House officials to force on-the-record testimony in the U.S. attorney investigation suggested that the vote fell along partisan lines. In fact, Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican, went on record with an "aye" vote in favor of subpoenas.
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.