Meet the Press host Tim Russert failed to challenge Sen. John McCain on the feasibility of his call for sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and his statement that "[w]e're either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months." Russert also failed to note that at the time McCain made a 2005 statement that ethanol mandates are "harmful" and "will result in higher gasoline costs for states," the price of oil had risen past the threshold at which McCain had previously claimed that ethanol mandates "make sense."
Following the midterm elections, prominent Republicans and conservative media figures, as well as The Washington Post, dismissed suggestions that the results represented a referendum on Iraq by noting that Connecticut voters re-elected Sen. Joe Lieberman, despite his support for the war. But these attempts to cast Lieberman's victory as a counter to claims that the outcome of the elections was a repudiation of Bush's Iraq policy overlook Lieberman's efforts in the weeks leading up to the election to portray himself as a critic of the war.
Reporting on President Bush's announcement of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, media outlets, with few exceptions, have avoided characterizing Bush's assertion the previous week that he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as a "lie" or intentional misrepresentation -- this, despite Bush's own admission of a deliberate deception. Some outlets even failed to acknowledge Bush's previous statement that Rumsfeld would stay on as defense secretary until the end of his presidency.
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Despite the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld coming less than a week after President Bush pledged to keep Rumsfeld on until the end of his presidency, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell opined: "This president, whether you love him or hate him, is decisive."
In their coverage of Saddam Hussein's November 5 guilty verdict, several print news outlets reported U.S. officials' assertions that the announcement had not been timed to coincide with the midterm elections but ignored reporting that conflicts with these denials -- in particular, the fact that the full verdict in Saddam's trial is not set to be released until November 9.
Fox News' Steve Harrigan underwent what he described as three "phase[s]" of the controversial interrogation technique known as "waterboarding," on camera, concluding that the technique is "a pretty efficient mechanism to get someone to talk and then still have them alive and healthy within minutes." Psychologists have asserted that "such forms of near-asphyxiation" can lead to long-term psychological damage.
A New York Times article uncritically reported White House press secretary Tony Snow's assertion that it is "preposterous" to suggest that the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein "was timed to coincide with this week's elections in the United States," despite the U.S. government's heavy influence on the tribunal that tried Saddam and the Bush administration's history of reportedly timing Iraq- or terrorism-related actions to the U.S. political calendar.
Fox News' John Gibson repeatedly asserted -- falsely -- that because The New York Times reported that the United States had posted Iraqi documents related to constructing an atomic bomb, the Times "said today Saddam had nukes." Similarly, conservative radio host Pat Campbell falsely suggested that the Times reported Iraq was "a year away from making the atomic bomb" at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. In fact, Iraq did not have nuclear weapons in 2003 or at any time -- including prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War -- and Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program in 2003.
Contradicting her earlier reporting, The Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer reported that "U.S. officials close to the trial deny" that they have the "power to set [the] date" for the announcement of Saddam Hussein's verdict. Knickmeyer had previously reported that the U.S. government "run[s] much of the day-to-day arrangements for the trial."
ABC News' George Stephanopoulos prompted Cheney to again blame the recent upsurge of violence in Iraq on an insurgent "strategy" to "influence" the midterm elections, asking Cheney if "that mean[s] that a Democratic victory is a victory for the insurgents," not mentioning the administration's recent pattern of attempting to extract political benefit from the ebb and flow of violence in Iraq by claiming success in both increases and decreases in levels of violence in Iraq.