Keith Olbermann again awarded Bill O'Reilly third-place honors in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment, this time for accusing CNN's Christiane Amanpour of having a "rooting interest" in the Iraq war being a disaster.
During an interview with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, CNN Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena failed to question Gonzales about his 2005 confirmation hearing, in which he responded to a question from Sen. Russ Feingold about whether the president could authorize warrantless domestic wiretaps. At the hearing, Gonzales suggested that Feingold had described a "hypothetical situation," despite the fact that the warrantless surveillance program had been in place since 2001 and that President Bush had reauthorized it numerous times.
CNN national security correspondent David Ensor suggested that Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV was disingenuous in his criticism of the Bush administration's apparent failure to fully inform Congress about its warrantless domestic surveillance program because he had been briefed on the program in 2003. But Ensor failed to note that, immediately after being briefed, Rockefeller wrote a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney expressing strong reservations about the program and restrictions on information he needed to evaluate it.
Bill O'Reilly again denied that he endorsed an Al Qaeda attack on San Francisco.
Few major news outlets have covered the fact -- first reported by the New York Daily News -- that in a letter to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense attorneys, special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald said that numerous emails from 2003 are missing from the White House computer archives.
Bill O'Reilly claimed that remarks by CNN's Christiane Amanpour show that she has a "rooting interest" in the Iraq war being a disaster, though nothing she said supports O'Reilly's assertion.
In a New York Times op-ed, former National Security Council senior director Philip Bobbitt appeared to contradict the 9-11 Commission by suggesting that restrictions on electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) prevented the U.S. from identifying the hijackers who later committed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
In a January 23 speech defending his warrantless domestic surveillance program, President Bush claimed that Congress' 2001 authorization of force, upheld by the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, establishes his authority to conduct the program. But numerous legal authorities have objected to Bush's claim that the high court affirmed his authority to wiretap U.S. residents without a warrant. Despite these objections, several news outlets repeated Bush's claim without challenge.
NBC's Andrea Mitchell claimed that recent polls on President Bush's authorization of warrantless wiretapping showed "little public outcry over the program, especially when [the administration] tell[s] people it is limited only to those who talk to Al Qaeda." What Mitchell did not note is that the administration's characterization of the program understates its scope. Moreover, recent polling shows that support for the program is at best split.
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer reported that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld rejected a Democratic study that showed that the military has been strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Schieffer did not note that Rumsfeld also rejected a Pentagon-funded report that came to a similar conclusion.
ABC's World News Tonight uncritically reported President Bush's discredited claim that the National Security Agency might have identified some of the 9-11 terrorists before the attacks if his warrantless domestic surveillance program had been in place.
In his Washington Times column, Donald Lambro repeated a number of falsehoods about the domestic spying scandal.
An Associated Press article described the debate over the NSA spying program as "whether the administration should be able to eavesdrop on suspected terrorist communications" and reported that "congressional Democrats" have criticized this practice. However, critics of the program have not contested that the administration "should be able to eavesdrop on suspected terrorist communications." Rather, the controversy concerns whether the president is legally authorized to allow the domestic eavesdropping without first obtaining a warrant.
In his speech before the National Security Agency, President Bush repeated a debunked claim, previously reported uncritically by some in the media, that his warrantless domestic spying program could have identified some of the 9-11 hijackers. Bush's repetition of the claim gives the media another opportunity to examine it critically in their reporting.
For the third time in just over three months, Bill O'Reilly appeared on NBC's Today despite the fact that, in his previous appearance on the show, he compared those who support withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to Hitler appeasers.