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.
Media reports regarding when the Kenedy County Sheriff's department actually interviewed Vice President Dick Cheney have varied widely and have sometimes conflicted, a fact that the media themselves have largely ignored.
Reporting on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Elizabeth Vargas of ABC News said Gonzales "held his own." ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos agreed and added that, at times, "it got personal."
Most major news outlets did not report the dispute over Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter's refusal to swear in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the committee's hearing on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
The Associated Press, The New York Times, and ABC's World News Tonight reported on Republican efforts to present new House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH) as a clean break from GOP corruption scandals, but they ignored criticism Boehner received for passing out checks from a tobacco industry group on the House floor moments before a key tobacco vote, as well as other ethical questions raised by Boehner's record.
An ABC News graphic labeled a segment previewing President Bush's State of the Union address as "America's Agenda."
ABC's World News Tonight uncritically reported President Bush's discredited claim that the National Security Agency might have identified some of the 9-11 terrorists before the attacks if his warrantless domestic surveillance program had been in place.
In coverage of President Bush's January 23 speech at Kansas State University, evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC uncritically reported Bush's assertion that his "briefing Congress" about his authorization of warrantless domestic wiretaps by the National Security Agency shows that he believed the wiretapping program was legal; however, members of Congress from both parties have disputed the claim that they were adequately briefed. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) said that the "program in fact goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which I was briefed."
During a World News Tonight report on two recently filed lawsuits that challenge the legality of the Bush administration's use of warrantless domestic surveillance, ABC Justice Department correspondent Pierre Thomas failed to disclose that the "legal scholar" he quoted saying that "it's really questionable" whether the lawsuits can go forward worked as a White House lawyer for President Bush and may have been involved in reviewing and approving the surveillance programs in question.
On ABC's World News Tonight, George Stephanopoulos cropped a clip from Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito's nomination hearing to suggest Alito had "backed away from past statements suggesting a supremely powerful president." But contrary to Stephanopoulos's assertion, the entirety of Alito's response illustrated that he has not, in fact, "backed away" from earlier views on executive power.