CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC dedicated a considerable amount of airtime to a purported threat to NFL stadiums in seven cities, despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI both characterized the threat as not credible. Further, with one brief exception, at no point was there any reference on any of the three channels to evidence that the Bush administration has used terrorism-related announcements for political gain.
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PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer reported without challenge or rebuttal that White House senior political adviser Karl Rove "dismissed Democrats' chances of winning control of Congress." MSNBC's David Shuster similarly reported without challenge that Rove "remain[s] very calm and optimistic about the election." But as CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted, Rove "ha[s] to say that."
Although Washington Post, New York Times, and Reuters reports on President Bush's signing of the Military Commissions Act included general criticism of the legislation, they were all silent on its most controversial provision: allowing the president to detain noncitizens in the United States or abroad for any reason, indefinitely.
In her report on President Bush's signing of the controversial detainee bill, ABC's Martha Raddatz noted Sen. Russ Feingold's general opposition to the bill but gave no indication of Feingold's specific criticism -- that the bill "allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court." Nightly news broadcasts on NBC and CBS devoted little attention to the bill's signing and ignored Democratic criticism of it altogether.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity joined authors Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy in comparing Cindy Sheehan's purported interest in online pornography to sexually explicit instant messages former Rep. Mark Foley allegedly sent to underage congressional pages. Morgan asserted that "[t]here's a double standard and hypocrisy at work" in the fact that there was far greater attention and criticism focused on the Foley scandal.
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In their coverage of President Bush's signing later that morning of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell reported that "there has been plenty of controversy" surrounding the bill but did not elaborate on what that controversy might be, while ABC News' Kate Snow did not mention that there is opposition to the bill, much less any of the reasons for that opposition.
NBC's Jonathan Alter falsely suggested that Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois' 6th District, have "a similar view of the war" in Iraq. But Chicago newspapers have reported that Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both her legs in combat, and Roskam, who recently accused Duckworth of favoring a "cut and run" strategy in Iraq, are "worlds apart" on Iraq.
In a New York Times op-ed, Jeff Stein writes that "most American officials I've interviewed," including, "not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles overseeing our spy agencies," "don't have a clue" what the differences are between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. While Stein raises an important question, a more pertinent question is: Why has this critical piece of information gone unreported in the Times' news pages?
NBC host Tim Russert suggested that both the Bush and Clinton administrations "talk[ed] tough with North Korea" but allowed its nuclear program "to go forward." But Russert ignored the fact that North Korea did not produce any plutonium, nor build or test any nuclear bombs, during Clinton's eight years in office.
Fox News host John Gibson falsely claimed that former Clinton administration National Security Adviser Sandy Berger -- in a previous interview with Gibson -- "admitted that he and his cohorts were wrong" in reaching a 1994 agreement with North Korea known as the Agreed Framework. In fact, Berger praised the Agreed Framework, noting that "[n]o plutonium was made during the Clinton administration" and that the "agreement fell apart during Bush II."
While many other media outlets carried the story, ABC's World News and USA Today made no mention of a British army commander's October 12 claim that the presence of British troops in Iraq is fueling violence, and that British military forces should be withdrawn from the country.
Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's misleading statements about the Bush administration's justification for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- that there were "[t]oo many unanswered questions about [Saddam Hussein's] weapons of mass destruction program," despite the Bush administration's pre-war claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that "[i]n the post-September 11 environment, [Iraq] was a threat that needed to be dealt with."
The AP's Terence Hunt and NBC News' David Gregory both reported President Bush's "veiled swipe" at the Clinton administration's North Korea policy, in which Bush said, "I appreciate the efforts of previous administrations. It just didn't work." But neither noted that, following the Clinton administration's signing of the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, that country did not produce any plutonium until 2002, when the Bush administration abandoned the agreement.