On Special Report, Jim Angle reported that during debate on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, "Senator Orrin Hatch dismissed the idea that the intelligence agencies were trying to listen to anyone other than those with terrorist connections" and aired a clip of Hatch stating, "I don't want to bruise anyone's ego, but if Al Qaeda is not on your speed dial, the government is probably not interested in you." Angle did not note that several news articles have reported that surveillance under the government's warrantless eavesdropping program was not limited to those with "Al Qaeda on [their] speed dial," but also included thousands of Americans with no ties to any terrorist group.
ABCNews.com's The Note, after linking to reports on Sen. John McCain's recent trip to Colombia, stated: "(And the RNC may want you to remember that it was Obama's name -- not McCain's -- that popped up on a seized FARC laptop.)" ABC offered no explanation for its reference to a report that Obama's name "popped up" in a computer seized from "FARC," the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Several right-wing groups and media outlets have used a letter from a FARC spokesman that reportedly mentioned Obama to falsely allege "contacts" and other connections between FARC and Obama.
Rush Limbaugh asserted, "Hamas has endorsed Obama. ... Why do you think they've endorsed Obama? Because they want a very strong ally for Israel in the White House?" In fact, Obama stated his support for Israel in a speech June 4 speech in which he said: "Those who threaten Israel threaten us. ... And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security." Hamas reportedly responded to Obama's remarks by saying, "Hamas does not differentiate between the two presidential candidates, Obama and McCain, because their policies regarding the Arab-Israel conflict are the same and are hostile to us, therefore we do have no preference and are not wishing for either of them to win."
On CNN, Washington Times columnist Diana West said that "Senator Obama's made it very clear that he believes terrorism is simply a matter of cops and robbers." Host Lou Dobbs did not challenge West's assertion echoing claims by the McCain campaign that Obama has said are "demonstrably false."
The Washington Post reported that Sen. Barack Obama's plan for combating terrorism "mixes law enforcement, intelligence and military tools, including the possibility of invading Pakistan to pursue al-Qaeda if the Pakistani government does not cooperate." In fact, Obama did not say he would "invade" Pakistan; he said: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."
The Washington Times ignored reports that President Bush was referring to Sen. Barack Obama when he said, "Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals," and uncritically quoted a memo from presidential counselor Ed Gillespie, who called the controversy a "media-manufactured story line." The Times also quoted Gillespie saying Bush was "reiterat[ing] a long-standing policy" regarding Iran, but did not note that Robert Gates has, like Obama, reportedly said that the United States needs to be willing to meet with Iran.
On Today, during an interview with former CIA agent Michael Sheehan about his new book, Matt Lauer said, "You say we've got to use more undercover agents, informants, wiretapping, email surveillance, the works. The sound you just heard, Michael, is the far left, grabbing for their remote controls, 'cause they say, you're going to do this, you're going to trample civil liberties." In fact, Americans across the political spectrum have denounced the Bush administration for alleged violations of civil liberties.
In the wake of the New York Times exposé on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon, the Department of Defense (DOD) released numerous documents related to the program. One is a June 23, 2006, email containing a report written by CNN military analyst Donald Shepperd about his DOD-sponsored trip to Guantánamo Bay on June 21, 2006. In the report, Shepperd wrote: "Did we drink the government kool-aid? -- of course -- that was the purpose of the trip, to hear the U.S. government side of the story, the other side is provided daily in the media, some informed, most by those who have never been to Gitmo."
CNN hosted Republican advertising consultant Alex Castellanos -- creator of racially charged advertisements for former Sen. Jesse Helms -- who echoed the myth invoked by the Bush administration that there was a link between the September 11 attacks, perpetrated by Al Qaeda, and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In fact, the 9-11 Commission report stated: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."
On Your World, Neil Cavuto said of Sen. Barack Obama: "Well, one of the reasons why he espoused talking to our enemies -- much as Jimmy Carter has with his recent meeting with Hamas and all that -- is that we can't make things worse, so what's the harm in talking to them?" Contrary to Cavuto's suggestion that Obama has expressed a willingness to meet with Hamas, Reuters reported on March 3 that Obama "has said he would break with President George W. Bush's stance of declining to talk to some other international adversaries but that stance does not apply to Hamas."
Bill O'Reilly again misrepresented comments he made in 2005 about a possible terrorist attack on San Francisco, stating on his Fox News show: "I made a joke out of San Francisco. If they didn't want the military, then the next time there was a terror attack, they're on their own." In fact, O'Reilly had said: "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."
On April 22, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart highlighted two recent reports concerning national security that have been largely ignored by most television news outlets and NPR: a New York Times article reporting that "the Bush administration has used" media military analysts, many of whom have clients with or seeking Pentagon contracts, "into a kind of media Trojan horse -- an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks"; and a Government Accountability Office report that found that the "United States has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven in Pakistan's FATA."
After airing several reports in February highlighting Sen. John McCain's assertion that "if we left [Iraq], [Al Qaeda in Iraq] wouldn't be establishing a base ... they'd be taking a country," CNN has yet to follow up by noting that McCain reportedly does not believe that assertion. According to The New York Times, "[f]ew, including Mr. McCain, expect Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia [Iraq], a Sunni group, to take control of Shiite-dominated Iraq in the event of an American withdrawal."
On Fox News, Dick Morris falsely asserted: "Hillary Clinton in the 1980s was on the board of a foundation group called the New World Foundation that gave money to the PLO, which at the time was identified as a terror organization." In fact, the New World Foundation reportedly did not "g[i]ve money to the PLO."