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.
On ABC's World News Tonight, George Stephanopoulos cropped a clip from Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito's nomination hearing to suggest Alito had "backed away from past statements suggesting a supremely powerful president." But contrary to Stephanopoulos's assertion, the entirety of Alito's response illustrated that he has not, in fact, "backed away" from earlier views on executive power.
The Washington Post used false and misleading comparisons to report that, during his recent Supreme Court nomination hearings, Samuel A. Alito Jr. "did not embrace some of the most controversial legal views" of conservative Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto remarked that Democratic senators drove Martha-Ann Alito -- the wife of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito -- to tears during Alito's nomination hearing. Cavuto further proclaimed that the Democrats were "villains" for "literally driving [Alito's] wife to tears ... after repeatedly trying to paint Alito as a bigot." During these segments, onscreen text called Democrats "vicious" and "clueless."
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The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger falsely claimed in his January 13 column that Democrats had "deliver[ed] yet another innovation" in their use of the filibuster to block Bush judicial nominees. In fact, as Media Matters for America has previously noted, Republicans have used the filibuster and other tactics to block Democratic nominees.
A New York Times article covering the third day of Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination hearing ignored an example presented by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to Alito to highlight what she characterized as an apparent contradiction in Alito's explanation for why he would not discuss his assessment of Roe v.Wade -- the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion -- but had no apparent reservations about discussing another principle relevant to a case that is currently before the court: "one man, one vote."
Despite the fact that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s wife's emotional response did not come during the Democrats' questioning, but during Sen. Lindsey Graham's characterization of the Democrats' questioning, numerous media outlets pounced on the incident to raise the question of whether Democrats on the committee "took this a step too far."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough characterized a factually accurate statement by Howard Dean -- that no congressional Democrats had received campaign contributions from lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- as a "snow job," and falsely claimed that The Washington Post and "other news outlets" had proven Dean's statement wrong. In fact, Dean's statement in an appearance on CNN was entirely accurate, and neither CNN nor the Post has challenged or refuted it.
The Washington Post falsely reported that the wife of acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt "does not lobby Congress." In fact, Abigail Blunt is a registered lobbyist for Philip Morris, as she was in 2002, when Blunt tried to modify Homeland Security legislation in a way that would have benefited Philip Morris.
On Fox News Live, anchor Jon Scott claimed that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) had criticized Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. for "chang[ing] his thinking over time." In fact, Leahy did not criticize Alito for changing his viewpoint over the course of his career; rather, he objected to the nominee's failure to explain inconsistencies between his record and his Senate testimony.
Robert D. Novak falsely stated that there was "no evidence" the group Concerned Alumni of Princeton, of which Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. was a member, was against women.