In an article on President Bush's threat to veto legislation expanding federal funding for stem cell research, Time magazine reported that "you could argue" that Bush "has made a career of ... holding fast to positions that many voters reject, as a sign of strength in these dangerous times." In fact, as Media Matters for America and many others have pointed out, Bush has a long history of reversing course on issues, particularly when it is politically expedient or necessary to do so.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich declared that "we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the Third World War." As evidence of "World War III," Gingrich cited -- among other events -- two purported terror plots that involved alleged conspirators who intended to attack U.S. targets but had no apparent means to do so.
On his nationally syndicated radio program, Michael Savage responded to the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East by declaring that Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is a "good friend of the liberal left wing, the Michael Moore wing, the [Sen.] Barbara Boxer wing, the [Sen.] Ted Kennedy wing, the anti-American wing of the Democrat Party."
Meet the Press host Tim Russert did little to challenge Bob Novak's misleading statements on some of the key aspects of the Valerie Plame affair. Instead, both focused on the irrelevant issue of whether Novak's sources disclosed her actual name -- which as Novak himself noted, was easily located -- rather than on his sources' motivations in disclosing her identity as a CIA operative.
CNN's Daryn Kagan and John King repeated two falsehoods frequently advanced by conservatives to attack former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, former CIA operative Valerie Plame: that Wilson "did say in one television interview, and ... intimated in some others, that the vice president had sent him to Niger" to investigate reports that Iraq had sought to purchase yellowcake uranium from that country, and that the Senate Intelligence Committee found that Plame "sent" Wilson on the trip to Niger.
In her fifth appearance on NBC or MSNBC since the release of her latest book, Coulter denied that her previous remarks disparaging the 9-11 widows were cruel, claiming that the widows' actions "put a lot of other women at risk for becoming widows."
Fox News' Special Report and ABC's Good Morning America featured nearly identical -- and misleading -- stories about a lawsuit filed by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, ex-CIA officer Valerie Plame, against Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and White House senior adviser Karl Rove. Both segments uncritically reported columnist Robert D. Novak's claim that he "saw no such campaign" by White House officials to discredit Wilson, ignoring assertions by the special counsel in the case of a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" to "discredit, punish, or seek revenge against" Wilson.
Tucker Carlson baselessly criticized a caller to his MSNBC show by conflating "the rest of the world" with "Islamic extremists." In fact, worldwide polling suggests that America's image has indeed declined worldwide since President Bush took office in 2001.
A Los Angeles Times article echoed the claim -- frequently advanced by conservatives -- that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of then-CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity "concluded that the disclosure did not violate a federal law protecting the identity of covert operatives." In fact, Fitzgerald has stated that he was unable to determine whether any laws were violated in the leaking of Plame's identity because his investigation was impeded by former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, whom he charged with perjury and obstructing the grand jury investigation.
On CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer allowed Human Events Online editor Terence P. Jeffrey to repeat Robert Novak's claim that the Bush administration official who originally disclosed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to Novak "had done it inadvertently." In fact, Novak has been inconsistent about the motivations of his sources and the explanation for the inconsistency.
On MSNBC's Tucker, former New York Police Department detective Bo Dietl falsely claimed that "all the hijackers that came and then bombed [the United States] on 9-11, all of them were in this country illegally." In fact, all 19 of the 9-11 hijackers reportedly entered the United States legally, though two had overstayed their visas.
Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham baselessly attacked the The New York Times for publishing a photo of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home. In fact, Rumsfeld's public affairs director confirmed that he granted the Times permission to run the photo, the Secret Service confirmed that the photo "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security, and numerous media -- including Fox News -- had previously reported the location of Rumsfeld's residence. Further, a nearly identical photo ran in The Washington Post six months earlier.
In announcing that Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame had filed a lawsuit against Dick Cheney, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Karl Rove, Fox News host Shepard Smith uncritically stated that Robert Novak "was on this network yesterday saying there was no concerted campaign to out Plame as a way of punishing her husband." But Smith omitted special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's findings that a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" had been intended to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" Wilson.