In anticipation of ABC's docudrama The Path to 9/11, the right-wing media have resurrected a debunked claim that attempts to place blame for the 9-11 attacks on the Clinton administration. Specifically, a review of the miniseries on the right-wing website Human Events Online asserted that the Clinton administration erected a "wall" to prevent information-sharing between government agencies. In fact, the "wall" long predated Bill Clinton's presidency.
Interviewing Laura Bush on ABC's Good Morning America, Robin Roberts allowed Laura Bush to dismiss a New York Times article documenting the widespread view that President Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina has adversely affected his image.
On ABC's This Week, George Will misrepresented a reported scientific breakthrough that would allow scientists to grow embryonic stem-cell lines without destroying the embryo. Will dismissed the finding, stating, "[I]n fact, it isn't true. All 16 embryos involved in this were destroyed." However, in making the assertion, Will conflated two issues: whether embryonic cells can be removed without destroying the embryo and whether stem-cell lines could be created from those cells. The first is well established; it was the second that ACT announced.
Various print and television news outlets discussing a House report of U.S. intelligence on Iran characterized the report as "bipartisan" without noting that it was primarily written by Republican staff members and came under criticism from House Democrats.
In recent days, media figures have touted, as an example of his self-styled "straight talk," Sen. John McCain's August 22 criticism of the Bush administration's overly optimistic rhetoric on the war in Iraq. However, these media figures not only overlooked McCain's own optimistic forecasts as the war began in 2003; they also ignored his recent defense of the White House against criticism that President Bush has mischaracterized the situation on the ground there.
Several media outlets, in their reporting on a response President Bush gave in his August 21 press conference to a question on Iraq, either excised or omitted Bush's admission that "sometimes I'm happy" when hearing about the situation there.
Various media outlets ignored President Bush's statement during an August 21 press conference that the United States will not withdraw its forces from Iraq as long as he is president. Those outlets simply reported that Bush pledged to keep U.S. forces in Iraq until "the mission is complete," and offered no indication that Bush pledged to keep troops there for the remainder of his term.
An ABC World News report on a federal district judge's ruling that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program is unconstitutional featured only Bush administration officials and a senior research fellow from the conservative Heritage Foundation defending the "necessity" of the program. The report did not note that the program's effectiveness has been called into question.
Media outlets have uncritically reported the comments of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who, during interviews, have asserted that U.S. laws on detaining suspected terrorists should be modeled after British laws that allow the United Kingdom to detain a suspected terrorist for up to 28 days without charges. However, none of the media outlets noted the administration's expanded use of material witness warrants to detain people for indefinite periods.
In reporting on Sen. George Allen's use of the racially derogatory word "macaca" to refer to one of his opponent's campaign volunteers and his claim not to know what the term means or why he used it, the majority of media outlets left out a fact that might shed light on the claim's veracity -- Allen's mother was born and raised in Tunisia, a former French colony in North Africa, as Allen has repeatedly noted in the past.
In the wake of the recent thwarting of an alleged terrorist plot in Britain, numerous media outlets have posed the question of whether news of the event would benefit President Bush, often letting conservatives or Republican officials spin the news in favor of the administration. Many of the reports neglected to consider whether the news could actually hurt Bush politically.
On NBC's Meet the Press, David Gregory failed to question Michael Chertoff about an August 12 report by Gregory's own network that, while British officials had intended to continue surveillance on the suspects of the foiled British terror plot, U.S. authorities had pressured them to arrest the suspected plotters sooner. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos noted this report, but left the false impression that the allegations were the product of the "blogosphere."
On ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz argued that Democrats "don't want" to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq because "the lesson from Vietnam ... was you have to support the troops or there's tremendous backlash." This is not the first time the media have suggested that opposition to the Iraq war and support for U.S. troops are mutually exclusive positions.
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ABC News' George Stephanopoulos and MSNBC's Chris Matthews, among others, repeated, without challenge, the false attacks from Tony Snow, Ken Mehlman, and Dick Cheney that Democrats "purged" Sen. Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party and that Ned Lamont's primary victory over Lieberman represents a takeover of the Democratic Party by the far left.
ABC News failed to identify Lanny Davis, the author of an opinion piece posted on its website supportive of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, as an active campaigner for Lieberman.