Several members of the media have complied with the Bush administration's efforts to rebrand the "global war on terror" by adopting the administration's newest catchphrase: Islamic fascism.
In recent reports, the Associated Press claimed that Republicans in Congress will use "their strength" by highlighting national security issues, and National Public Radio asserted that they will hold a vote on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to "embarrass" Democrats. However, the AP's most recent poll found that respondents trust Democrats more than Republicans to do a better job protecting the United States.
On September 5, both CNN's Ed Henry and the Associated Press' Merrill Hartson reported that President Bush's September 5 speech regarding the fight against terrorism was an attempt to fight American "complacency."
On Hardball, Norah O'Donnell purported to "challenge" Ron Reagan's criticism of Donald Rumsfeld's comparison of Iraq war critics to Nazi-era "appeasers," asking, "[W]ould [a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq] not essentially hand a victory to the terrorists?"
Several media figures and news outlets have uncritically repeated or lent credence to the false Republican talking point that Democrats, for all their criticism of the Bush administration's Iraq war policy, have no plan of their own to deal with Iraq, terrorism, and national security in general. In fact, Democrats have offered several plans for addressing various issues related to U.S. involvement in Iraq and national security.
On Hannity & Colmes, Newt Gingrich stated that Donald Rumsfeld's likening of Iraq war critics to Nazi appeasers was "not an insulting comment." Gingrich also repeated the misleading claim that the United States "found over 700 chemical warheads and weapons in Iraq, which supposedly had none, according to our friends on the left."
Following the disclosure by Newsweek that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was columnist Robert Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity, a Washington Post editorial asserted that this revelation proved "untrue" the notion that White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to reporters in an effort to "ruin [Plame's] career" and "punish" her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
On Your World, Neil Cavuto failed to challenge Dan Bartlett's straw man argument that "nobody has suggested that or directly said that Saddam Hussein ordered" the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In fact, no one is accusing the administration of claiming that Saddam ordered the terrorist attacks; rather, critics point out the Bush administration's repeated attempts to link Iraq and 9-11 more generally.
In anticipation of ABC's docudrama The Path to 9/11, the right-wing media have resurrected a debunked claim that attempts to place blame for the 9-11 attacks on the Clinton administration. Specifically, a review of the miniseries on the right-wing website Human Events Online asserted that the Clinton administration erected a "wall" to prevent information-sharing between government agencies. In fact, the "wall" long predated Bill Clinton's presidency.
Discussing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's performance before, during, and after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with author Wayne Barrett, Norah O'Donnell asked Barrett: "[Y]ou can't honestly say he [Giuliani] could have predicted that that area [the World Trade Center complex] would have been attacked?" In response, Barrett pointed out that the World Trade Center complex "was at the top of the vulnerability list that [Giuliani's] own police department prepared."
Norah O'Donnell incorporated the White House and Republican talking point that Democrats do not have a strategy to change course in the war in Iraq by asserting that "the thing that perplexes many about the Democratic Party is, what is the alternative?" Later, O'Donnell asked if "part of the problem that the Democrats have is that they don't have a message to respond to the president."
On The Situation Room, John King failed to challenge Rep. Christopher Shays's claim that "since January," the Iraqi government "has done nothing." King did not mention the fact that Shays has, since January, touted "progress" in Iraq.
A McClatchy Newspapers report on President Bush's August 31 speech at the American Legion national convention omitted any Democratic response to the speech, despite reporting it was the beginning of the president's "latest effort to shore up support for the war as Republicans battle to retain control of Congress in the November elections."
Numerous media figures have asserted that a recent report purportedly identifying former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as Robert Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative prove that Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were not involved in the leak of her identity. However, Armitage's role as Novak's first source is not inconsistent with Rove's and Libby's involvements in the leak -- both were original sources of the information for two other reporters.
In his interview with President Bush, NBC's Brian Williams allowed Bush to falsely claim that "we delivered" on the promises Bush made during a September 2005 address to the nation in New Orleans; that Saddam Hussein had an active weapons of mass destruction program prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq; and that Bush had never suggested ties between Iraq, Saddam, and the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Williams also left unchallenged Bush's objection to the argument that the Iraq war has acted as a recruitment tool for terrorists.