Recent reports on the reported activation of the U.S. ground-based missile defense system have overstated its ability to defend against an actual attack and uncritically reported administration claims about its effectiveness. Government Accountability Office reports indicate that the system has no proven ability to shoot down a hostile missile.
Fox News' Brit Hume, John Gibson, and Jim Angle, as well as nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Janet Parshall, continued to ignore conclusive assertions of intelligence officials that the degraded chemical munitions found in Iraq and hyped by Sen. Rick Santorum and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra were not, in fact, in the category of "weapons of mass destruction" that the U.S. was looking for at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Fox News' Jim Angle understated -- and ABC's Charles Gibson omitted -- the poor flight test record of the ground-based missile defense system that the Bush administration reportedly activated in response to North Korea possibly testing a long-range missile.
On June 21, hosts and guests on several Fox News programs hyped a false assertion by Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Peter Hoekstra that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, despite the network's own reporting that discredited the claim.
Geraldo Rivera claimed that "in the last 35 years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat" than Sen. John Kerry, adding that Kerry's Senate amendment to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq by July 2007 "only aids and abets the enemy."
Fox News host John Gibson falsely claimed that "human-rights groups" haven't "sa[id] a word" about reports that two U.S. soldiers had been brutally tortured and murdered by an insurgent group in Iraq. In fact, two major human-rights organizations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, denounced the killings and alleged torture as potential "war crimes."
Guest-hosting MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Michael Smerconish trivialized reports of detainee abuse as "naked pyramid pictures" and "play[ing] Christina Aguilera music a bit too loud." Smerconish claimed to be criticizing "the people who worked themselves into a lather" over reports of detainee mistreatment while ignoring the "dirtbags" who are "thinking about whose head they want to chop off next."
While CNN continued to hype the divisions among Democrats on the issue of U.S. redeployment from Iraq, stemming from the debate over two Senate proposals on the issue, the network entirely ignored a recent display of dissention within the Republican Party, as did Fox News and MSNBC.
Fox News' John Gibson and Sean Hannity hosted segments hyping the threat posed by reports that North Korea will soon conduct a test launch of a long range missile. Most notably, Fox News analyst Col. David Hunt baselessly suggested on Hannity & Colmes that North Korea could attack the U.S. with a nuclear weapon at any moment.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly again suggested that Iraq should be run as it was under Saddam Hussein, stating: "Saddam was able to control Iraq, as you know, and defeat insurgencies against him. The new Iraqi government can do the same, but it needs to get much tougher." O'Reilly also declared that the American Civil Liberties Union, the BBC, and Air America Radio "are helping the terrorists."
CNN's Paula Zahn told Sen. Joe Biden that the Democratic Party is "getting creamed as the party of cut-and-runners, the wobbly, the weak," adding: "[D]o you understand why that divisiveness compromises the credibility of your party?"
The Associated Press and Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume uncritically reported Vice President Dick Cheney's claim that he did not "think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered" in Iraq, as well as Cheney's claim that when Cheney said in May 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes," he was referring to "the series of events that took place in" 2005. In fact, some did anticipate a violent insurgency if the United States invaded Iraq, and Cheney explicitly based his "last throes" assessment on the insurgency's "level of activity, from a military standpoint."
As Senate Democrats debate two proposals regarding U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, news outlets have gone out of their way to frame the Democratic differences over how soon to redeploy forces as politically favorable for the Republicans while not reporting that the Democrats' position is shared by a majority of Americans, that the war supported by Republicans is deeply unpopular with the American public, and that the GOP's alternative plan appears to involve remaining in Iraq indefinitely.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman's false attacks on Democrats over the Iraq war and immigration policy.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly downplayed a recent report of an aborted Al Qaeda attack on the New York City subway system, which was to involve the use of deadly hydrogen-cyanide gas, joking, "[I]f you've been to the subways in New York City in the summer, I don't know how you would tell there was a gas attack, based upon the smell that's down there every day."