The Washington Post reported Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's defense of the Justice Department's decision to terminate an inquiry into whether department lawyers acted properly in authorizing the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance program without providing any indication of the nature or degree of criticism greeting that decision.
In his Los Angeles Times column, Max Boot mischaracterized the opposition to the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance programs, offered a misleading defense of the National Security Agency's reported call-tracking operation, and falsely claimed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act impeded a pre-9-11 terror investigation.
In its coverage of the nomination of Gen. Michael V. Hayden to be CIA director, CNN made no mention of Hayden's testimony in 2002, in which he told Congress he did not have the authority to electronically eavesdrop on U.S. residents without a warrant, until Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) confronted Hayden about it at his May 18 nomination hearing.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly blamed "the Mexican drug corruption" for the alleged mugging in New York City of his television show's makeup artist. O'Reilly explained that she "was mugged the other day; punched in the face" by "[d]rug addicts desperate for money." O'Reilly then warned that "all you have to do is multiply that by 10 million, and you see how all of this corruption in Mexico has infected our society."
On Fox News' Special Report, Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke said the telecommunications company Qwest was "basically helping terrorists" because "to its discredit, [it] said it was not cooperating with the NSA [National Security Agency] and specifically decided not to cooperate" by providing the NSA with the phone call records of its customers. According to The New York Times, a lawyer representing Qwest's former CEO has said that the company "[[Qwest]] turned down requests by the National Security Agency for private telephone records because it concluded that doing so would violate federal privacy laws."
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The Associated Press reported without challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-UT) statement that at least two of the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been briefed on the National Security Agency's (NSA) domestic spying activities and that "[n]one raised any objections." The AP article did not note that these two judges reportedly expressed serious concerns about the constitutionality of the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
Time White House correspondent Mike Allen, Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler, and Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke praised White House press secretary Tony Snow's handling of his first televised press conference. In fact, Snow gave numerous misleading and even false answers to reporters' questions regarding the National Security Agency's phone data collection controversy.
Fox News' Brian Wilson cropped a quote from President Bush at a press conference, omitting a statement in which Bush appeared to confirm a USA Today report that the National Security Agency is collecting records of "tens of millions" of Americans' telephone calls. Without any further explanation, Wilson then reported that "a few minutes later," White House press secretary Tony Snow "insisted the president was not confirming details of the original USA Today report."
In reporting on new White House press secretary Tony Snow's first televised press briefing, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Ed Henry praised Snow's "candor," "bluntness," and "honesty" while overlooking Snow's false or, at best, misleading answers to questions from reporters at the briefing.
Fox News' David Asman falsely claimed that "the one poll we've seen" on the National Security Agency (NSA) program to collect phone call records of tens of millions of Americans "shows that over 60 percent, a big majority, believe this is not spying, that it is not violating Americans' rights." Asman was presumably referring to a flawed Washington Post/ABC News poll that indicated that 63 percent of respondents said the program is "acceptable." However, Asman ignored the fact that USA Today/Gallup and Newsweek have each released polls on the topic indicating that a majority of Americans disapprove of the reported data collection program.
On Inside Washington, Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas claimed that "[y]ou cannot have an open society and an effective spy service."
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On Fox News' Special Report, host Brit Hume compared a recent USA Today/Gallup poll -- which found that a majority of respondents disapprove of the National Security Agency's (NSA) reported collection of Americans' telephone records -- with an earlier Washington Post/ABC News poll -- which found that 63 percent of respondents said the program was acceptable. Hume told viewers that "USA Today's poll question does not mention that the NSA database program does not involve listening to or recording telephone conversations, while the Post poll question did mention that." However, Hume did not mention that a Newsweek poll found that even after being told that the program does not involve "listen[ing] to calls," a majority of respondents said the program "goes too far."
In a profile of Gen. Michael V. Hayden, President Bush's nominee for director of the CIA, Time magazine senior editor Nancy Gibbs wrote that Hayden "was credited with so effectively defending the National Security Agency's no-warrant wiretapping program after it was exposed in December that he helped turn a simmering scandal into a political win for the Administration." However, Gibbs's reporting omitted a key point: In defending the surveillance program, Hayden made statements that were mutually inconsistent and that contradicted those of other administration officials.
A Weekly Standard editorial criticized the Bush administration for not hyping "data-mining," demonstrated by the National Security Agency's reported data collection program, as "a crucial tool against unknown mass-murderers." The editorial offered little to justify the claim that "data-mining" is "a crucial tool," though there are experts who question the utility of "data-mining" in terrorism investigations -- specifically the type of "data-mining" the in which NSA is allegedly engaged.
Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron suggested that "the idea that so many Democrats are complaining about the NSA programs without really knowing what they are is precisely why so many Republicans say Democrats just aren't serious about security."
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