In reporting on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearing, NBC correspondent Pete Williams noted that despite a 1985 job application expressing Alito's "very strong" personal belief that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," Alito's supporters say his personal views "don't count, that when he puts on a judge's robes, he follows the law, including the legal precedent upholding abortion rights." But Williams ignored the distinction between an appellate judge, who is bound by higher court precedents, and a Supreme Court justice, who might not be.
Rush Limbaugh baselessly accused Sen. Carl Levin of being tainted by the Jack Abramoff scandal for accepting contributions from an Indian tribe. The newspaper articles Limbaugh cited to back up his claim offer no evidence linking Abramoff-directed contributions to Levin's efforts to obtain a federal grant for the tribe.
Tim Russert revived his prior false claim that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer were perceived as very liberal when they were nominated to the Supreme Court and that their confirmations indicate that Alito should also be easily confirmed.
NBC correspondent Pete Williams falsely claimed that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. was following Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's precedent in his dissent in favor of spousal notification in an abortion-rights case and that O'Connor subsequently "changed her mind." In fact, that case, upon its appeal to the Supreme Court, was O'Connor's first ruling on spousal notification.
Promoting a falsehood he had previously told, Brit Hume failed to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham when he asserted that Alito's comments in his 1985 memo -- that he didn't believe in a constitutional right to abortion -- were the views of the Reagan administration, not his personal views.
The New York Times glossed over and presented one-sided accounts of a recusal issue regarding Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. in two recent articles about Alito's upcoming confirmation hearings.
On Hardball, host Chris Matthews repeatedly mentioned Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) decision to donate to charity $2,000 in campaign contributions received from American Indian tribes represented by lobbyist and felon Jack Abramoff, yet virtually ignored the $6,000 and $69,000 in campaign contributions received from Abramoff and his clients by President Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), respectively -- contributions both have also pledged to donate to charity.
In anticipation of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., Media Matters for America has compiled a list of top myths and falsehoods advanced by conservatives and Alito supporters.
On CBN's The 700 Club, Pat Robertson falsely claimed that Jamie Gorelick, while serving in the Clinton administration, said the president has "absolute authority to conduct domestic wiretaps in war against enemy agents." On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs failed to challenge a similar claim.
Fox News correspondent Major Garrett stated that "neither [former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay nor his aides have been charged" in the investigation surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In fact, while none of DeLay's current aides has been charged, DeLay's former communications director has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery and fraud, and another former DeLay aide has reportedly been implicated.
Both Peggy Noonan and Newt Gingrich claimed that the Abramoff scandal is worse for Republicans because Democrats are expected to be corrupt.
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The New York Times reported that President Bush and other Republican lawmakers were moving to return or donate to charity campaign contributions by lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the wake of his plea agreement. However, the Times omitted any reference to the more than $100,000 Abramoff reportedly raised in his capacity as a Bush-Cheney campaign "Pioneer," which the Republican National Committee, apparently speaking for the Bush campaign, said the campaign has no plans to donate or return.
Both the AP and Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume reported on a White House event in which U.S. attorneys appeared and spoke in favor of President Bush's efforts to renew controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act. However, both media outlets omitted the fact that all of the U.S. attorneys participating are Bush appointees.
In reporting on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s refusal to recuse himself in two cases involving companies in which he owned stock, The New York Times reported without challenge Alito's assertion that his pledge to recuse himself had been limited to a certain period of time after his confirmation. In fact, when Alito pledged under oath that he would recuse himself from cases involving certain companies, he did not qualify the pledge in any way or even suggest that it was time-limited.
Casting the Jack Abramoff scandal as bipartisan, the media have conflated two categories of conduct: 1) the legal receipt of campaign contributions; and 2) other possible illegal conduct including the receipt of campaign contributions in exchange for something.