Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor Daniel Henninger claimed that Democrats were "very ungracious" during President Bush's January 31 State of the Union address for "refusing to applaud anything this president said." In fact, the Democrats applauded more than a dozen times during Bush's speech.
Rush Limbaugh repeatedly criticized Democrats for failing to give President Bush a standing ovation following a segment of the State of the Union address in which Bush touted long-term declines in abortions and teen pregnancies, despite the fact that Republicans also remained seated.
On the February 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity quoted a CBS poll that showed "77 percent of the people watching [the State of the Union address] liked his [President Bush's] agenda." In doing so, Hannity touted poll results that CBS' own Bob Schieffer warned his audience may not be reliable.
In describing the shirts worn by Cindy Sheehan and Beverly Young that caused them to be ejected from President Bush's State of the Union address, an Associated Press report (later amended) described the message on Young's shirt as "the opposite" of the one worn by Sheehan, while The Baltimore Sun called Young's message "more patriotic" than Sheehan's.
NBC's Katie Couric falsely claimed that during most of the State of the Union address, "Democrats sat on their hands" and "really applauded" only when President Bush mentioned the failure of his Social Security plan.
CNN political analyst and former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) accused Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine of falsely claiming during the Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address that Republicans in Congress are cutting funding for student loans and have tried to cut Medicaid funds. In fact, bills already passed by the House and the Senate include $12.7 billion in spending cuts to student loan programs and approximately $7 billion in spending cuts to Medicaid.
On Good Morning America, Charles Gibson characterized as "new" President Bush's call, in his January 31 State of the Union address, to end dependence on foreign oil. However, in every prior State of the Union address since 2002, Bush called on Congress to pass his energy proposal, saying the United States needed to reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy.
CNN's Jeff Greenfield chided Rep. Robert Wexler for releasing a rebuttal of President Bush's State of the Union address without actually seeing the speech. But as it has in past years, the White House made excerpts of the speech available well before it was delivered, leaving Wexler ample time to read the excerpts before issuing his response.
NBC's Tim Russert falsely suggested that the members of Congress who escorted President Bush into the House chamber prior to the State of the Union address had all been briefed on the warrantless domestic surveillance program. In fact, only three of the 20 lawmakers on the "escort committee" received briefings on the controversial program prior to its public disclosure. Furthermore, members of Congress from both parties have challenged the adequacy of those briefings.
Appearing on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank repeated President Bush's recent defense of statements he made in 2004 suggesting that the government does not engage in surveillance without obtaining a warrant. Milbank said that Bush had been referring only to "roving wiretaps" in the context of the USA Patriot Act, and not to all domestic wiretapping. While that is the context in which Bush was speaking, what he actually said referred to all wiretapping activity, even while he was secretly authorizing warrantless wiretaps.
Following President Bush's State of the Union address, various media figures described his defense of domestic eavesdropping as "strong," "vigorous," and "fierce." But they failed to note the numerous inaccuracies Bush employed in justifying the surveillance program, whose legality has been challenged not just by Democrats, but by Republicans and some prominent conservative legal scholars as well.
On Fox, Newt Gingrich falsely accused Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of taking money from former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and asserted that this made it more difficult for Democrats to charge Republicans with perpetuating a "culture of corruption."
ABC's Charles Gibson said that President Bush may get a "pretty good size boost in his polls" after the State of the Union address, even though ABC News polling director Gary Langer had dismissed such polls as a highly unreliable indicator of the entire country's view of the speech because those who listen or watch the speech, by and large, support the president already.
During MSNBC's coverage of the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, Newsweek's Jon Meacham referred to the Democratic base as "the people who have an almost irrational hatred of George W. Bush in the way the hard right in the Republican Party had an irrational hatred of Bill Clinton." He added: "I mean some things never change."
Immediately following the State of the Union address, Chris Matthews praised the "strong statements" that President Bush made defending his domestic spying program without correcting Bush's discredited suggestion that two 9-11 hijackers could have been caught if the program had existed. Matthews also said that the criticism of the program was defined by partisanship, despite the fact that the program has been questioned by both Democrats and Republicans.