During September 12 reports on ABC's controversial miniseries The Path to 9/11, not one Fox News anchor or correspondent examined the scenes from the film that contain documented falsehoods, explained Fox News Live co-host Bill Hemmer's reference to Democrats' "paranoia" about the film's depiction of former Clinton administration officials, or mentioned the fact that several prominent conservatives have also questioned the film's accuracy.
Both Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace allowed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to justify the Iraq war by falsely suggesting that the 9-11 Commission report supports her claim that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had "contacts" with Al Qaeda before the U.S.-led invasion of that country in March 2003. Also, after Rice said she couldn't think of any specific "failures" in the Bush administration's fight against terrorism when asked by Wallace to identify one, Wallace failed to press her on the fact that Osama bin Laden is still at large and his trail has reportedly gone "stone cold."
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On MSNBC's Hardball, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund falsely suggested that "the British, the French, the German, and the American intelligence agencies all agree[d]" that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; in fact, according to various news reports, British, French, and German intelligence all agreed that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.
A Media Matters for America review of the conclusion of ABC's two-part miniseries, The Path to 9/11, contained scenes that were factually inaccurate, and that showed President Bush taking aggressive action there is no indication he ever took.
The New York Times and The Washington Post framed President Bush's prime-time address as part of an effort to avoid partisanship on the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, but much of Bush's rhetoric echoed his remarks at recent campaign appearances and in stump speeches during the 2004 presidential election.
A Media Matters for America review of 12 reports on network evening news broadcasts covering President Bush's speeches and statements on Iraq, terrorism, and national security policy in the week preceding September 11 showed that the reports included responses from just five Democratic officials.
Numerous newspapers ran positive reviews of the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 -- calling it "factual," "meticulous," and "completely true" -- failing to inform readers that it has been sharply criticized as inaccurate and even defamatory.
Columnist John Fund claimed that Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright "persuaded ABC to alter the scenes involving them" in the miniseries The Path to 9/11. But while the scenes were apparently edited from earlier versions, both still presented depictions contradicted by both Clinton officials and the 9-11 Commission report.
On Fox News' The Beltway Boys, Morton M. Kondracke aired portions of two advertisements about the "war on terror" by Progress for America and the Center for Security Policy, but he identified these organizations only as "basically pro-defense groups" and did not note their misrepresentations of the criticism directed at the Bush administration over its conduct of the "war on terror" and the war in Iraq.
On Fox News Sunday, William Kristol attacked Democrats for "turn[ing] every event, including now the fifth anniversary of 9-11, into a partisan fight," and claimed that it is "a totally false charge that [President Bush] has played the politics of fear." Kristol also claimed that Bush "has never said a word about the Clinton administration. He has never tried to blame past [national security] failures on them."
NBC News and the Associated Press uncritically reported Vice President Dick Cheney's claim that the absence of an Al Qaeda attack in America since 9-11 is proof that the Bush administration has done "a pretty good job" or "a hell of a job" with counterterrorism. But neither outlet contrasted Cheney's assertion with investigative reporter Ron Suskind's recent disclosure that many CIA analysts believe Al Qaeda leaders have declined to attack the U.S. again for strategic reasons.