On the December 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Charles Krauthammer falsely suggested that President Bush's authorization of domestic spying -- without obtaining a search warrant -- was an "expedient action" rather than a "scandal" because the administration did "tell the court" after the fact that it was going to do so. In fact, the administration never alerted the relevant court to its surveillance of domestic phone calls.
On Meet the Press, host Tim Russert allowed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to repeatedly deflect his questions about the supposed legal basis for the domestic eavesdropping authorized by President Bush.
A review of the Nexis database of major U.S. newspapers -- consisting of 87 publications -- turned up 12 editorials that criticized President Bush's decision to allow secret wiretapping of U.S. citizens without a warrant, and none in support. Only the New York Post, which is not in the "major newspapers" database, wrote in favor of Bush's actions.
NBC Today host Katie Couric, in an interview with Tim Russert, characterized the debate about the Bush administration's domestic spying as a controversy between "legal analysts and constitutional scholars" on the one hand and "Americans" who "don't want another September 11" on the other.
In an op-ed in USA Today, Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and former Republican National Committee communications director, and National Review Online contributor Andrew McCarthy misrepresented an incident involving the interrogation of an Iraqi policeman with alleged ties to the insurgency.
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrongly credited President Bush with having admitted mistakes in the administration's torture policy and previous opposition to the McCain amendment. In fact, Bush actually said only that he was "happy to work with him [McCain] to achieve a common objective."
During a discussion of Stanley "Tookie" Williams's then-impending execution and whether race is a factor in how the death penalty is applied for murder, Fox News host Sean Hannity and guest Larry Elder noted that eight out of 12 people who had been executed in California since the state reinstated capital punishment were whites. They offered this figure to rebut suggestions that race is a factor in how the death penalty is applied for murder, but they left out far more significant figures. A study published in the Santa Clara Law Review shows that those who kill whites are far more likely to get the death penalty than those who kill either blacks or Hispanics.
A Wall Street Journal editorial said that "numerous" investigations into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal concluded that the abuses "had nothing to do with interrogations." In fact, the opposite is true. The editorial also falsely claimed that a series of Bush administration memos that sought to loosen constraints on interrogators "sanctioned no specific interrogation techniques" and misrepresented an ABC News report on interrogation methods.
Predicting riots if Stanley "Tookie" Williams were not granted clemency, radio host Neal Boortz said, "There are a lot of aspiring rappers and NBA superstars who could really use a nice flat-screen television right now."
On The Radio Factor, host Bill O'Reilly again falsely claimed that Geneva Convention protections apply only to those in "uniform" and "fighting for a recognized country." In fact, the protections outlined in the Fourth Geneva Convention extend to civilians, not only uniformed soldiers.
The O'Reilly Factor host again attacked the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), calling the organization "grossly irresponsible" and accusing it of "going out of its way to help Al Qaeda" and "aiding and abetting the enemy." Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich agreed.
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Rush Limbaugh twice falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had "admitted that torture worked on him" during his five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. The false assertion originated in a NewsMax.com article and is not supported by McCain's version of events.
On his radio program, Rush Limbaugh falsely suggested that the "9-11 Commission didn't say anything" about "[t]his whole picture of the U.S. as a torturous, torturing, barbaric institution." In fact, the 9-11 Commission's final report called for the U.S. government to "engage its friends to develop a common coalition approach toward the detention and humane treatment of captured terrorists."
L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post reported Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statement that the United States "does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances," without noting that the Bush administration's definition of torture is at odds with international standards.