Fox News' Jim Angle understated -- and ABC's Charles Gibson omitted -- the poor flight test record of the ground-based missile defense system that the Bush administration reportedly activated in response to North Korea possibly testing a long-range missile.
In their coverage of Ann Coulter's attacks on the widows of 9-11 victims, both Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz and ABC's Jake Tapper denounced Coulter's inflammatory rhetoric while asserting that her underlying point -- that Democrats deliberately put forward "infallible" advocates in order to squelch honest debate -- is "valid" and "perfectly acceptable." But a closer examination of the specific examples of "infallible" advocates cited by Coulter turns up evidence that, in every case, these individuals have faced strong Republican opposition and, quite often, ad hominem attacks from conservatives.
Reports on the CBS Evening News and ABC's World News Tonight noted treasury secretary nominee Henry M. Paulson's environmentally friendly outlook but failed to report that Goldman Sachs, the investment bank Paulson leads, and The Nature Conservancy, an organization where Paulson serves as board chairman, have both urged mandatory reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, a policy the Bush administration has categorically rejected.
ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper ignored the positive results of a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll focused on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). Citing the poll, Tapper claimed that "a daunting 42 percent of all Americans say they will never vote for her," adding that "[s]ome think she's too liberal. Others think she's untrustworthy." But Tapper ignored the actual results of the poll that found that a majority of respondents said Clinton is, in fact, "honest and trustworthy" and that her views are "about right," while a minority thought she is "too liberal."
On ABC's World News Tonight, anchor Charles Gibson cited a poll showing that 60 percent of Americans disapprove of President Bush's handling of the economy and asked chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos to explain the "disconnect" between this disapproval rating and the fact that that "economic numbers are pretty good." Stephanopoulos responded by quoting unnamed "Republican strategists" who attributed the low poll numbers solely to high gas prices. No perspective was offered from Democrats, who might have noted that wage increases are barely keeping pace with inflation.
In their reporting on the conviction of former Enron Corp. executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling on fraud and conspiracy charges, the network news programs all failed to mention the ties between the fallen corporation and President Bush. Further, the Los Angeles Times ran six separate articles on the Enron verdicts on May 26, but not a single one noted Bush's connection to Enron and, in particular, his close personal and political ties to Lay.
On ABC's World News Tonight, George Stephanopoulos falsely claimed that 33 members of Congress "got campaign contributions from [former lobbyist] Jack Abramoff" and "wrote letters to the interior secretary" that were helpful to Abramoff's clients. In addition, by not noting that all the members of Congress who received contributions from Abramoff were Republicans, Stephanopoulos misleadingly implied that Abramoff gave money to members of both parties. In fact, Democrats received contributions from Abramoff's clients and associates but none from Abramoff directly.
Reports by both ABC's World News Tonight and NBC's Nightly News on the Senate hearing for Gen. Michael Hayden's nomination to be CIA director aired Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) comment that he had "a difficult time with [Hayden's] credibility." But neither network mentioned the reasons cited by Wyden to explain his concern, including Hayden's misleading statement to Congress in 2002 that the National Security Agency did not have the authority to electronically eavesdrop on residents without a warrant -- even as the NSA was reportedly conducting such surveillance.
In reporting on President Bush's visit to Arizona to promote his immigration reform proposals, ABC World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas and CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante claimed that Bush was "passionate" about "allowing migrants a chance" but completely ignored the fact that the White House reportedly supported a controversial immigration bill proposed by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) that would have made it a felony to be an illegal resident of the United States.
On ABC's World News Tonight, anchor Elizabeth Vargas noted President Bush's claim that dividend and capital gains tax cuts passed in 2003 "have helped expand the economy and create jobs," but she omitted any mention of critics who have challenged the administration's claims that the tax cuts were responsible for the recent economic growth.
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."