Various news media have uncritically reported ABC's statement that criticism of The Path to 9/11 is "premature and irresponsible," because the film has not yet been finalized, even though the network reportedly said the previous week that the film was "locked and ready to air," screened the film at the National Press Club, and has provided preview copies to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and a number of right-wing bloggers.
During the September 7 editions of MSNBC News Live, MSNBC anchors made a series of misleading or baseless claims while reporting on the controversy surrounding ABC's two-part miniseries The Path to 9/11.
In offering his analysis of President Bush's announcement that 14 terrorism detainees once held at secret prisons had been transferred to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, CBS' Bob Schieffer ignored the politics behind Bush's move. Overlooking the fact that Bush was in no way obligated to make this announcement -- which apparently was timed for maximum political impact -- when he did, Schieffer claimed that Bush had "no choice" but to go to Congress now and request the authority to try the detainees. In stating that there was "no doubt" that Congress will grant Bush that authority, Schieffer ignored the criticism raised by three prominent Senate Republicans of Bush's proposed system for trying terrorism suspects.
On Tucker, Tucker Carlson falsely claimed that when CBS chose not to air 2003 biopic The Reagans, he had "sort of agreed" that the move constituted "censorship," just as he now argues that it will be "censorship" if ABC is pressured into not running The Path to 9/11.
ABC Entertainment released a statement regarding its "docudrama" The Path to 9/11 stating that "[n]o one has seen the final version of the film ... so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible." But ABC reportedly screened the film at the National Press Club and provided preview copies to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and a number of right-wing bloggers.
Investigative reporter Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine, includes numerous significant revelations regarding the White House's handling of the terrorism threat, but news outlets have largely ignored the compelling and relevant questions raised by Suskind's disclosures.
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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 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."
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.
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."
On Your World, Neil Cavuto responded to retired Gen. Wesley Clark's assertion that President Bush describes "anybody who disagrees with him on ... his attack on Iraq as someone who is soft on terror" by falsely claiming that Bush "is not equating Iraq [to the war on terror] in that sense." In fact, Bush recently claimed that those advocating a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops are "wrong" because it "would be a defeat for the United States in a key battleground in the global war on terror."