On Good Morning America, correspondent Dan Harris reported that "[t]he latest national poll says 31 percent of Americans believe the media make things in Iraq sound worse than they are." But Harris failed to inform viewers that in the same poll he cited, a majority of Americans -- 59 percent -- said that the media describe "things in Iraq" either "accurately" or "better than they are."
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.
On ABC's Nightline, correspondent John Donvan misrepresented the scope of the controversy about ties between Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) and disgraced defense contractor Mitchell Wade. Donvan reported that Wade "made illegal contributions to her campaign" but added: "[T]hough she gave the money back, it's what reporters in Florida keep asking about. Even this week it came up." In fact, in the past week, while Florida newspapers have continued to raise questions about the illegal campaign contributions, they have also focused on Harris's subsequent request to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for a $10 million earmark that would have benefited Wade's company.
During a March 21 press conference, the White House press corps failed to challenge President Bush after he offered a misleading and evasive answer about his reasons for invading Iraq in response to a question asked by Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas.
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.
In an ABC Nightline segment featuring Rev. Franklin Graham's controversial comments about Islam, ABC News' John Donvan reported: "So, Franklin Graham may not get a diplomacy prize, either. And yet, his message when he's preaching is actually quite positive."
In a March 15 entry on his ABC News weblog, Down and Dirty, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper blasted "Awe-Inspiring, Soul-on-firing Democrats" for distancing themselves from Sen. Russ Feingold's resolution to censure President Bush over his warrantless domestic wiretapping program, adding, "Is this what a majority party looks like to you?"
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.
ABCNews.com's The Note criticized New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for using "selective facts" to say that John McCain "is not a maverick, a moderate, nor a straight talker." However, The Note offered no facts to counter Krugman's argument.
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.
Most major print and broadcast media outlets offered no coverage of House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King's March 1 claim that there was "no investigation into terrorism whatsoever" during the Bush administration's initial review of the proposed deal that would allow Dubai Ports World (DPW) to assume control of terminal operations at six major U.S. ports.
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.
Several journalists and media figures have taken to describing Democratic criticism of the Bush administration's approval of a deal allowing state-owned Dubai Ports World to assume control of six major U.S. ports as an attempt by Democrats to move "to the right" of President Bush and Republicans in Congress on issues of national security. In fact, some of the Democrats who have most strongly denounced the deal have been among the most active proponents of enhancing port security since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Vice President Dick Cheney's recent hunting accident offered yet another example of an unmistakable pattern with the Bush administration, which few in the media have noted. When faced with potential political damage stemming from its actions or decisions, the Bush White House attacks those fomenting the criticism; Cheney or President Bush then take to the airwaves and appear to temper the debate -- while benefiting from whatever discrediting their surrogates' smears brought on their targets.