In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Joseph R Biden Jr. (D-DE) challenged host Tim Russert's previous suggestion that Democratic lawmakers seized on the recent ports controversy in order to build their national security credentials. Biden pointed out that since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly put forth proposals to bolster port security nationwide -- proposals that have consistently been met with stiff Republican resistance.
Fox News host John Gibson praised the announcement by Dubai Ports World (DPW) that it would divest itself of leases it holds for terminals at six U.S. ports. Gibson also praised President Bush, stating: "[H]ats off to President Bush for not getting too stubborn over this deal."
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On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, New York Post columnist Ralph Peters repeated the claim -- previously advanced by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Peter Pace -- that during the recent sectarian violence in Iraq, the "Iraqi army was able to put over 100,000 troops in the street, and they calmed the situation." But news reports contradict Pace's and Peters's claims.
James Taranto falsely claimed that Media Matters for America "cheered" Rep. John Murtha's call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq but also "denied that he had done any such thing." In fact, Media Matters neither endorsed nor condemned Murtha's proposal, nor did we deny Murtha called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Media Matters instead corrected those in the media who falsely claimed that Murtha called for an "immediate withdrawal" or who falsely referred to Rep. Duncan Hunter's one-sentence resolution calling for immediate withdrawal as the "Murtha amendment."
Following Dubai Ports World's announcement that it would divest its leases to terminals at six U.S. ports, news outlets and media figures depicted Republicans as having neutralized the issue of port security. In other cases, they portrayed the Democratic opposition to the state-owned Arab firm's acquisition of the ports as purely political. But such characterizations take a narrow view of the political issues involved in the controversy, entirely ignoring differences between the two parties' broader records on this issue.
On his radio program, Bill O'Reilly stated: "You know in a sane world, every country would unite against Iran and blow it off the face of the Earth. That would be the sane thing to do."
A Washington Post editorial adopted the Bush administration's false suggestion that there is no difference between Dubai Ports World (DPW) and Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O). The Post, like the Bush administration, suggested that criticism of the ports deal was based on DPW's Arab ownership and was therefore discriminatory. In fact, there is a key difference as a matter of law between DPW and P&O: DPW is a state-owned company, whereas P&O was not, prior to its acquisition by DPW.
Rush Limbaugh characterized congressional opposition to the proposed transfer of operational control of six U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World -- a company owned by the government of Dubai -- as "a lynch mob." Limbaugh added that Republicans are "sitting there beating their chests like a bunch of Tarzans."
The New York Times issued a correction of a previous correction of an article that misstated the purpose of legislation by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) regarding control of U.S. seaports. But the Times has yet to issue a correction about a similar falsehood regarding port-related legislation proposed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA).
In a discussion about a class project at a New Jersey high school involving the mock trial of President Bush for war crimes, Joe Scarborough said: "This isn't about free speech. This is about slandering the commander in chief at a time of war."
Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke accused Democrats of attempting to politicize the Senate Intelligence Committee, falsely asserting that the committee had already investigated allegations that the Bush administration "lied about weapons of mass destruction" in the run-up to the Iraq war. In fact, no governmental entity to date, including the Intelligence Committee, has investigated the administration's use of prewar intelligence.
New York Times staff writers David Sanger and Elisabeth Bumiller used the opportunity presented by President Bush's March 3 visit to Pakistan to contrast Bush's "more public landing" on Air Force One with Clinton's 2000 visit, in which, Bumiller wrote, he "slipped into Islamabad for six hours on an unmarked military jet." However, both Sanger and Bumiller ignored the historical and political context of Clinton's trip to Pakistan and the security measures taken by Bush that undermine any notion that he "arrived with a roar on Air Force One."
A March 6 Associated Press article misstated what Rep. Duncan Hunter outlined as the scope of his proposal to ban foreign companies from owning or operating any U.S. installations deemed critical to national security. According to the article, on the March 5 broadcast of ABC's This Week, Hunter said his proposal would "require foreign governments to divest of critical U.S. installations." In fact, Hunter stated that his legislation would require that all "critical infrastructure[s]" in the United States "be operated by Americans and ... be owned by Americans," meaning that the ban would apply to all foreign companies, not only those owned or controlled by foreign governments.
Michael Barone claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee's 2004 report on prewar intelligence assessments of Iraq showed "that the CIA did obtain evidence of an al-Qaida-Saddam relationship from foreign intelligence and open sources." In fact, the report was critical of the U.S. intelligence community for using foreign sources too heavily, and it concluded that the CIA "reasonably assessed" that contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda "did not add up to an established formal relationship."
On NBC's Meet the Press, Tim Russert failed to challenge several misleading claims made by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in support of his assertion that the Iraq war is "going very, very well."