An April 23 Los Angeles Times editorial falsely asserted that President Bush "has acknowledged with increasing explicitness that he was wrong to believe that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction [WMD]." In fact, while Bush has described the intelligence as "wrong," has accepted responsibility for "the decision to go into Iraq," and has said he was "responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities," he has never stated he was wrong to believe the flawed intelligence or assumed responsibility for the intelligence failures.
On CBS' 60 Minutes, former high-ranking CIA official Tyler Drumheller proved that the Bush administration dismissed clear-cut evidence undermining President Bush's central case for war -- that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. But in the nearly two days since this explosive report aired, the media have almost entirely ignored the story.
On Fox News Sunday, William Kristol falsely claimed that President Bush "declassified most" of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that he reportedly authorized then-vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to leak to reporters. In fact, Libby leaked a very small, cherry-picked series of excerpts from the 90-page NIE, reportedly following Bush's authorization.
Keith Olbermann awarded Bill O'Reilly third place in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment. O'Reilly was honored for his statement, first documented by Media Matters for America, that "I have to go on what my military analysts, people paid by Fox News, say to me. I can't base my opinion on anything else."
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Fox News host David Asman claimed without basis that "getting to the 30,000 centrifuges" Iran needs to produce a significant amount of weapons-grade nuclear material "is going to be a cakewalk," adding: "Are we going to have to wait until there's a mushroom cloud over Jerusalem before we take a hit in Iran?" But The New York Times noted that Western nuclear analysts have determined that Iran "still lack[s] the parts and materials to make droves of the highly complex [centrifuges] which can spin uranium into fuel rich enough for use in nuclear reactors or atom bombs."
Fox News' John Gibson falsely claimed that the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times report that revealed warrantless domestic wiretaps approved by the Bush administration "probably did do damage to national security because it may have tipped off Al Qaeda that we could listen to their cell-phone calls to people inside this country." In fact, media reports indicate that Al Qaeda was aware that the United States was monitoring its cell-phone calls well before the disclosure of the warrantless wiretapping program.
Bill O'Reilly declared, "I can't base my opinion" about the Iraq war "on anything" other than "what my military analysts, people paid by Fox News, say to me." O'Reilly added that he could trust only Fox military analysts because "[t]he newspapers ... all have an agenda" and "only give you a snapshot of the war." However, Fox News' military analysts made numerous wrong predictions and false assertions in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.
On Fox News Watch, Cal Thomas repeated a theory -- first proposed by Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley -- that the retired generals who have recently called for Donald Rumsfeld's ouster are part of a "cabal." Thomas, however, expanded upon Blankley's original theory and claimed that the alleged cabal is "possibly assisted by Democrats for political advantage."
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Three days after CNN's Wolf Blitzer missed an opportunity to quiz CNN political analyst William Bennett about his comment that the journalists who recently were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their work publicly disclosing the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program and the CIA's alleged use of secret interrogation sites across the globe should not be rewarded but jailed, a CNN anchor finally asked Bennett about the controversial statement.
On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke asserted that the disclosure of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program to The New York Times "is the equivalent of telling the newspapers that ... we've broken the Japanese codes or, hey, we've discovered radar, we can see enemy planes."
Supporters of Donald Rumsfeld have repeated Rumsfeld's assertion that retired U.S. generals criticizing Rumsfeld and calling for his resignation may be aiding U.S. enemies. Rumsfeld made this claim during an appearance on The Rush Limbaugh Show.
MSNBC political analyst Monica Crowley repeatedly asserted that Iran "may already have" a nuclear weapon, despite the overwhelming consensus of international weapons experts to the contrary. Crowley said that the "maniacs in Tehran" may "already have" nuclear weapons, and that Iran may "pass them off to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda then to bring them into the United States and detonate them." However, The New York Times reported on March 5 that "American intelligence agencies say it will take 5 to 10 years for Iran to manufacture the fuel for its first atomic bomb."
A Washington Post editorial drew a false comparison between the recent calls by several retired generals for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign and the "pushback of uniformed military against President Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve." The generals who have publicly called for Rumsfeld's resignation are retired; conversely, a March 13, 1993, Post article described active-duty troops' hatred for Clinton's intention to lift the ban on gays in the military.
In his Washington Times column, Tony Blankley stated that there is "strong evidence" of a secret agreement between active-duty generals to retire in succession and then speak out against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In fact, Blankley's only evidence is a Washington Post column by former Clinton ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke, who wrote that he expected more generals to speak out. According to Blankley: "Mr. Holbrook [sic] is at the least very well informed if he is not himself part of this military cabal intended to 'consume ... Donald Rumsfeld.' "