On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace offered up a series of false or misleading statements regarding President Bush's authorization of a warrantless domestic wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency.
Just days after the Democratic Party released a national security plan, CNN host Wolf Blitzer and NBC Today host Matt Lauer simply ignored the release and allowed -- and even encouraged -- Republican guests to suggest the Democrats have no "agenda." This continues patterns by CNN and Today of largely ignoring the Democrats' security plan, despite repeatedly reporting or commenting on the Democratic Party's purported lack of clear alternatives to the Republicans.
During an interview with Al Franken, Tim Russert objected to Franken's assertion that "[President] Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney did explicitly link Iraq to 9-11 on several occasions, especially when speaking to the naïve Russert." In fact, Cheney twice directly linked Iraq to the 9-11 attacks while appearing on Russert's NBC program Meet the Press. Additionally, while Bush "never brought ... up" the purported Iraqi link to 9-11 during a 2004 Meet the Press interview, neither did Russert, who could have asked Bush to explain a letter he sent to Congress shortly after the start of the Iraq war, in which he explicitly linked Iraq to 9-11.
In keeping with a pattern at The Washington Post, Shailagh Murray and Howard Kurtz dismissed suggestions that the Post should follow up on a National Journal article on an internal Bush administration review, which found that President Bush had been specifically advised that claims he made during his 2003 State of the Union address about Iraq's nuclear program might not be true. Despite the Post's failure to report on the revelation, Murray suggested readers already knew "that Bush had some indication" the intelligence he cited "was faulty."
On NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that the Bush administration's false prewar claims about Iraq represented a "colossal intelligence failure" and that "[e]very intelligence agency in the world believed that he [former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein] had weapons of mass destruction." In fact, many of the Bush administration's most dramatic prewar claims -- about Iraq's supposed nuclear program, its alleged ties to Al Qaeda, and its willingness to attack the United States -- had been questioned by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Following recent demonstrations in which protesters marched against proposed legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers, some in the media have criticized the demonstrators for carrying Mexican flags. But these same media figures have not complained about people waving other nations' flags, such as Irish flags at St. Patrick's Day events, Italian flags at Columbus Day events, or Israeli flags at Israel Day events.
CNN Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz noted that Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll, released on March 30 by Iraqi insurgents who had held her for 82 days, had "been criticized and had her motives questioned by skeptics, critics, and conspiracy theorists here at home." But Kurtz seemed to have forgotten that he had joined numerous right-wing media figures in questioning the motives behind her statements.
Imus in the Morning executive producer Bernard McGuirk and co-host Charles McCord refused to apologize for their recent remarks about kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll. Because of Carroll's statements upon her release from kidnappers in Iraq that she was "treated very well" and "was not harmed" or "threatened," McGuirk claimed on the March 30 Imus broadcast that Carroll "strikes" him "as the kind of woman who would wear one of those suicide vests" to "try and sneak into the Green Zone," and added the next day that Carroll "is carrying [terrorist leader Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi's baby." McCord agreed with McGuirk on the March 30 program, stating that "[s]he cooked with them [terrorists], lived with them" and adding that "there is no evidence to suggest" that Carroll was not representing terrorists or insurgents with her statements.
On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Mort Kondracke claimed that "experts that I talked to think" that Iran will produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb by summer 2007. Kondracke did not inform viewers which "experts" he was referring to.
The final installment of The Washington Times' months-long series of opinion pieces aimed at "counter[ing]" the "disingenuous charge" that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence in justifying the 2003 invasion of Iraq included "excerpts from two bipartisan reports" that the Times claimed "absolv[e] the president and his staff of these opportunistic accusations." But National Journal investigative reporter Murray Waas, in two recent articles, has further offered evidence that Bush and his aides did, in fact, knowingly twist and manipulate intelligence reports to build the case for war, and then covered up their actions.
Fox News' John Gibson wished Sen. Richard Durbin "good luck" in "convinc[ing] the American people" that they don't like President Bush's strategy in Iraq. But Gibson ignored numerous recent and past polling illustrating that a strong majority of Americans already believe that Bush does not have a clear plan for Iraq and disapprove of the way he is handling the situation there.
Both the AP and the Los Angeles Times reported President Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein was to blame for the sectarian violence in Iraq, but neither news outlet noted that the Bush administration bears considerable responsibility for the escalating conflict between the ethnic groups there.
The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and Knight Ridder uncritically reported Republican criticism of the Democratic national security proposal, including a claim by Vice President Dick Cheney that the proposal was "totally inconsistent" with the Democrats' past behavior.
Chris Matthews declared that he found the recently released Democratic national security proposal "almost funny," because it is "a little late." Matthews also suggested that the proposal is evidence of the Democrats "pretending they're G.I. Joe all of a sudden," and that it might be "phony."
The New York Times published no reports in its March 30 edition about a national security platform that Democratic leaders released on March 29, despite reporting Republican attacks on the platform the day before.