The three major broadcast networks' morning programs have hosted far more commentary on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict from Republicans and conservatives than from Democrats and progressives. The shows have hosted nine solo interviews of Republicans and conservatives, but only two of progressives.
On Your World, Neil Cavuto turned to Ann Coulter and private investigator Richard "Bo" Dietl for insight into the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. In separate interviews, Coulter declared that, if she were president, she would first "deport all liberals" and then focus on the Middle East, while Dietl, answering a question about Hezbollah's finances, suggested that Turkey is seeking to reinstitute "the Ottoman Empire" by "overpopuliz[ing]" [sic] Germany.
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Julie Banderas rhetorically asked viewers to "guess which television" outlet Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had recently appeared on, and then stated: "No, not The New York Times, but Al Jazeera television, broadcasting this terrorist on TV."
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Christopher Hitchens concluded that Robert Novak's July 12 "tell-all" column and his July 16 appearance on Meet the Press "dissolved any remaining doubt" that the Bush administration "outed" Valerie Plame, but presented irrelevant facts and assertions in support of that conclusion.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that The New York Times editorial board has not commented on the current conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, alleging that the Times editorial board has not criticized Israel's actions because "[m]any American Jews are liberal," and "the Times cannot afford to alienate its liberal base." In fact, since the onset of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, the New York Times editorial page as authored three different editorials on the subject, on July 13, 15, and 18.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed he has "never said liberal America wants the USA to lose in Iraq." Media Matters for America has found numerous examples in which he has asserted that very thing.
Rush Limbaugh deceptively cropped a series of news reports on the recent violence in the Middle East to falsely suggest the reports didn't identify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In fact, each of the news reports Limbaugh cited mentioned that Hezbollah is an organization devoted to destroying the state of Israel and either called it a terrorist organization or noted that the United States and Israel describe the group as such.
On NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer let Newt Gingrich repeat and promote his claim that current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, with what Gingrich reported as a fear of Hezbollah attacks elsewhere, amounts to World War III. Despite media reports that Gingrich intends to promote the World War III rhetoric to give Republicans an edge in the 2006 congressional elections -- and that he is also urging President Bush and congressional Republicans to use war rhetoric for political gain -- Lauer failed to question the validity or motivation of Gingrich's characterization.
Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert -- highlighting a trend noted by Media Matters for America -- aired a series of clips of Fox News hosts and guests declaring the current crisis in the Middle East "World War III," and in one case, "World War IV." Colbert then instructed the rest of the media: "It's a World War III. Or IV. Adjust your graphics accordingly."
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Chris Matthews continued his practice of praising former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a strong potential presidential candidate in 2008, comparing him to President John F. Kennedy. And when NBC News chief foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell attempted to bring up criticism Giuliani received for pushing President Bush to nominate former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to the post of Homeland Security secretary, Matthews interrupted her and changed the subject.
In an article on President Bush's threat to veto legislation expanding federal funding for stem cell research, Time magazine reported that "you could argue" that Bush "has made a career of ... holding fast to positions that many voters reject, as a sign of strength in these dangerous times." In fact, as Media Matters for America and many others have pointed out, Bush has a long history of reversing course on issues, particularly when it is politically expedient or necessary to do so.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich declared that "we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the Third World War." As evidence of "World War III," Gingrich cited -- among other events -- two purported terror plots that involved alleged conspirators who intended to attack U.S. targets but had no apparent means to do so.
On his nationally syndicated radio program, Michael Savage responded to the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East by declaring that Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is a "good friend of the liberal left wing, the Michael Moore wing, the [Sen.] Barbara Boxer wing, the [Sen.] Ted Kennedy wing, the anti-American wing of the Democrat Party."
Meet the Press host Tim Russert did little to challenge Bob Novak's misleading statements on some of the key aspects of the Valerie Plame affair. Instead, both focused on the irrelevant issue of whether Novak's sources disclosed her actual name -- which as Novak himself noted, was easily located -- rather than on his sources' motivations in disclosing her identity as a CIA operative.