On Today, Kelly O'Donnell uncritically reported President Bush's claim that the formation of a new government in Iraq is a "fundamental change." Similarly, the Associated Press' Nedra Pickler noted that Bush "embraced the new leadership in Iraq as a turning point in the war." In fact, the Bush administration has touted several purportedly pivotal moments since the beginning of the Iraqi occupation, suggesting each time that the situation in Iraq was about to improve.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, host Sean Hannity and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth co-founder John E. O'Neill attacked Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) for saying that a pending military report will show that U.S. Marines deliberately killed innocent Iraqi citizens during a November 2005 raid in Haditha. Murtha served in the Marines for 37 years prior to joining the United States Congress. Yet, while condemning Murtha for discussing the Haditha incident, Hannity did not similarly fault Fox chief White House correspondent Brett Baier, who earlier that day also noted the pending report.
Bill O'Reilly used his interview with Donald Rumsfeld to attack David Letterman, asking Rumsfeld, "Why does a guy like David Letterman think this whole Iraq thing is some kind of corrupt, ridiculous adventure?" and "[H]ave you ever analyzed why he thinks that way?" O'Reilly appeared on CBS' Late Show in January to discuss the so-called "war on Christmas," among other topics, and was told by Letterman: "I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap."
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In reporting on the formation of the Iraqi cabinet, ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's The Early Show, and NBC's Today each failed to note that three of most critical positions in the new government -- the heads of the defense, national security, and interior ministries -- remain vacant.
On ABC's Nightline, co-anchor Terry Moran characterized "the U.S. claim that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction" as "a total intelligence failure at the CIA." In fact, while much of the intelligence produced by the CIA before the Iraq war was indeed faulty, many of the Bush administration's most dramatic prewar claims had been called into question by the CIA or other intelligence agencies.
Reports by both ABC's World News Tonight and NBC's Nightly News on the Senate hearing for Gen. Michael Hayden's nomination to be CIA director aired Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) comment that he had "a difficult time with [Hayden's] credibility." But neither network mentioned the reasons cited by Wyden to explain his concern, including Hayden's misleading statement to Congress in 2002 that the National Security Agency did not have the authority to electronically eavesdrop on residents without a warrant -- even as the NSA was reportedly conducting such surveillance.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity and John O'Neill, co-founder of the discredited Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, attacked Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) for saying that the American military presence in Iraq is helping to fuel the insurgency there, a position held by several U.S. generals conducting the war in Iraq.
Jim Angle falsely claimed that Sen. Carl Levin accused the Bush administration of "orchestrat[ing]" leaks to the media about its own domestic surveillance program. Media Matters for America has noted four other instances, all on Fox News' Special Report, in which Angle and other Fox News correspondents have cropped or misrepresented quotes from Democratic senators.
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.
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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Less than a week after Rush Limbaugh claimed that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush contained "Democratic talking points" and "even some liberal Hollywood Jewish people talking point[s]," Limbaugh hosted Vice President Dick Cheney on The Rush Limbaugh Show.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews criticized the "mainstream media" for "continu[ing] to act as if most people support the war, and it's the outside weirdoes that oppose it," when "[t]hat's not true." However, Matthews himself falsely asserted just two days earlier on Hardball that a CBS News/New York Times poll released May 9 showed "for the first time" that Americans "really have a majority view that we were wrong to go to Iraq." In fact, eight CBS/Times polls dating back to July 2004 have shown that a majority of respondents believe the United States should have "stayed out" of Iraq.
On MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann awarded third place in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" awards to Fox News host David Asman and American Spectator writer Mark Yost for comments they made on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto. Asman stated that journalists covering the Iraq war are "not going to report on a lot of heroism." In response, Yost suggested that reporters are "somewhat embarrassed by people or feel lesser of themselves by people who do incredibly heroic things." Olbermann remarked: "That's right, boys. That's why the media covered up all the heroism on Flight 93."
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In an interview with White House press secretary Tony Snow, NBC's Today co-host Katie Couric allowed Snow's misleading claims -- as well as his use of the racially charged term "tar baby" in his first live televised press briefing -- to go unchallenged.