On ABC's World News Tonight, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, discussing a May 15 ABC News/Washington Post poll, said that "a president just shouldn't be at 33 percent when you've got 89 percent of the country optimistic about their future." Stephanopoulos focused on the administration's handling of Iraq as an "opportunity ... if things can turn around in Iraq" while omitting other results, both from that poll and others, that provide other reasons for Bush's low approval ratings.
On ABC's World News Tonight, ABC chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz incorrectly reported that the temporary-worker program that President Bush promoted in his May 15 prime-time address would "allow immigrants to work temporarily in the U.S. and eventually gain citizenship." In fact, in his speech, Bush clearly stated that he supports a guest-worker program that provides temporary work permits and requires participants to leave the country when their work permit expires.
David Muir's report on the "morning-after" pill, or Plan B, on ABC's World News Tonight, included a conservative group's claim that allowing sales of the pill without a prescription would be unsafe, but provided no scientific evidence to support the claim, while omitting the fact that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff scientists and outside advisory panels have recommended that the FDA approve allowing over-the-counter sales.
ABC World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas -- repeating a false characterization by the Bush administration that has been repeatedly debunked -- described the revised estimates for when the Social Security and Medicare programs' respective trust funds will become depleted as "the day when the Social Security and Medicare programs run out of money." In fact, neither program would "run out of money" when its trust fund became depleted.
On the April 25 edition of ABC's World News Tonight, co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas reported that President Bush "unveil[ed] an ambitious plan to lower the cost of oil and gas." Yet later in the same broadcast, ABC News chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz reported that the Bush administration "acknowledges that this plan will likely not bring down the price of gas anytime soon."
On April 24 and 25, CNN and ABC reported that congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, were calling for President Bush to investigate possible price gouging by the oil industry. But none of the reports noted that Democrats had previously called for a price-fixing probe, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, who had called for such an investigation at a press conference a week earlier.
ABC correspondent Jake Tapper quoted several participants in a conference titled "The War Against Christians" who complained that the concerns of conservative Christian voters are being ignored on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. But nowhere in Tapper's report were any progressive voices included, nor were any Christian leaders quoted who disagree with the notion that there is a "war on Christianity."
Since a March 27 New York Times article confirmed that a leaked British memo appears to contradict President Bush's repeated claim prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that he wanted to avoid war, media have failed to note the full significance of the document and in some cases ignored the story altogether.
Since March 23, each of the three major network nightly newscasts have uncritically reported administration statements expressing outrage over the prosecution and possible execution of an Afghan man for converting to Christianity, in defiance of Islamic law. But none of the nightly newscasts noted that when the Afghan constitution was ratified in 2004, President Bush hailed it for "lay[ing] the foundation for democratic institutions," despite a provision in the constitution asserting the supremacy of Islamic law.
ABC's Elizabeth Vargas reported that "Congress voted to raise the national debt limit to nearly $9 trillion," but omitted the fact that all Senate Democrats voted against the increase, along with three Republicans.
National Public Radio (NPR), the Associated Press, and ABC reported uncritically on the purported improvement of Iraqi forces, as touted by President Bush in a speech. But these outlets failed to note that the number of Iraqi battalions capable of operating independently has dropped from three in June 2005 to none eight months later. Moreover, contrary to NPR's assertion, Bush ignored this statistic in his speech and instead focused on other, more favorable indicators of improved troop readiness.
For the second night in a row, in reporting on newly released video showing President Bush receiving warnings that Hurricane Katrina could cause New Orleans levees to fail, ABC's World News Tonight did not mention Bush's comment, made days after the storm, that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
ABC World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas failed to note the apparent conflict between a newly released videotape that shows President Bush receiving a warning that New Orleans levees could be topped and Bush's later comment that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell similarly failed to note this contradiction during an interview with deputy White House press secretary Trent Duffy.
During an exclusive interview with President Bush on the February 28 broadcast of ABC's World News Tonight, co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas repeated White House distortions and uncritically accepted Bush's answers -- even though some were demonstrably false.
In recent days, media figures pronounced the story surrounding Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting partner "over," despite several unanswered questions regarding the incident and contradictory statements offered by Cheney and hunting party host Katharine Armstrong, whom Cheney said he designated to first report the incident.