On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly apparently modified his false claim that the New York Times' editorial board is "sitting ... out" the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, stating that the Times was "basically sitting ... out" [emphasis added] the issue. Yet during the same day's edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly repeated his previous claim that the Times was "absolutely sitting it out editorially." In fact, the Times has now published four editorials on the conflict.
Over the past 18 months, the media have repeatedly dismissed the need to follow up on new evidence that President Bush knowingly misled the nation in making the case to go to war in Iraq. Media figures have defended this lack of coverage by claiming that the public is already aware that Bush made false claims about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his purported arsenal of WMDs. But a recent Harris poll found that the share of Americans who believe Saddam actually did possess WMDs at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has increased substantially since February 2005, from 36 percent to 50 percent.
During an interview with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Neil Cavuto allowed DeLay to claim that "we went and got" the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, recent reports indicate that the security situation in Iraq and Afghanistan has deteriorated significantly.
CNN host Glenn Beck declared that the reason the Bush administration stated for invading Iraq in 2003 -- that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction -- was "just gravy" and that the "real objective" was "to prevent World War III ... to prevent the evil Iranian ideology from spreading across the region."
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NBC's Chip Reid contrasted the position of Democrats "who think we ought to get the troops out now" with the position of those "who think we ought to have a very carefully thought-out plan for getting them out down the road, but not cutting and running." Reid added that "it is amazing how angry" the "liberal anti-war wing of the Democratic Party" gets at Sen. Joseph Lieberman for defending President Bush.
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Following a recent trend of portraying bad news for President Bush as a blessing in disguise for Republicans and the White House, various news outlets and media figures have uncritically echoed the Bush administration's claim that the recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hezbollah represents a "leadership opportunity" for Bush.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume failed to challenge House Speaker Dennis Hastert's assertion that the "disruptive" "foreign influence" in Iraq is "getting shut down." In fact, a Congressional Research Service report found that foreign influence -- political, economic, and military -- in Iraq, particularly by Iran, remains considerable and is not likely to subside in the near future.
On Imus in the Morning, Richard "Bo" Dietl decried the "influxitation [sic] of the Muslim Empire that's taking over Europe," suggested the United States should "make a parking lot out of Damascus," and claimed that "every Muslim family is told to have six to eight children." Dietl added that Muslim fanatics are willing to "let two of them go get blown up because you always got six more."
For the second time in recent days, a Fox News host asked Ann Coulter what she would do if she were president. Coulter's most recent reply -- during a discussion on Sean Hannity's radio show of Iran's potential development of nuclear weapons -- was that she would "carpet-bomb them so they can't build a transistor radio" much less a nuclear weapon.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, guest co-host Rich Lowry asserted that Rep. John P. Murtha was "again sounding like the grim reaper when it comes to the war on terror." Lowry also asked whether Murtha has "already decided to undermine another American war effort." Former CIA operative Wayne Simmons attacked Murtha for "running a psy-op [psychological operation] against his own people and against his own military," adding that Murtha "has come out and talked poorly about the military."
During his interview with U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton, Bill O'Reilly repeatedly lashed out at the U.N., putting Bolton -- who, before being appointed ambassador to the U.N., had made comments that were harshly critical of the organization -- in the position of defending the U.N. and its Security Council.
Wolf Blitzer and CNN national news correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that "pundits, politicians, comics, and radio talk show hosts" have begun to talk of World War III in the wake of the onset of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. While Moos's segment included clips from programs that satirized the trend of conservatives referring to World War III or World War IV, both Moos and Blitzer stated that the question of whether World War III had begun was "serious."
During a segment in which John Gibson and Julie Banderas were speculating on whether there was any truth to the baseless reports and statements from unidentified "experts" that Saddam Hussein's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction had been secretly transported from Iraq to Syria before the Iraq war and "might have been put in the hands of Hezbollah," the onscreen text read: "Are Saddam Hussein's WMDs Now in Hezbollah's Hands?"
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The three major broadcast networks' morning programs have hosted far more commentary on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict from Republicans and conservatives than from Democrats and progressives. The shows have hosted nine solo interviews of Republicans and conservatives, but only two of progressives.