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.
Loading the player leg...
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.
During their August 9 coverage of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, the three major broadcast networks' morning news programs interviewed Sen. Joseph Lieberman but failed to host the winner, Ned Lamont, or any of his representatives. Additionally, NBC's Today and CBS' The Early Show aired twice as much footage of Lieberman's statements following the election as they ran of Lamont's statements.
Members of the media, including Tucker Carlson, Fred Barnes, Juan Williams, and George Stephanopoulos, have continued to suggest that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism of Donald Rumsfeld during a recent Senate committee hearing was motivated solely by politics.
On ABC's This Week, Cokie Roberts asserted that it would be "a disaster for the Democratic Party" and would lead to "chaos" if businessman Ned Lamont were to defeat Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary on August 8, thereby "pushing the party to the left" and sending a message to other senators that "[t]he only smart thing to do here is play to your base." However, as Sam Donaldson noted, opposition to the war is not simply playing to the base, "it's playing to the country," since the majority of the American public opposes the war in Iraq.
Several news outlets portrayed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's harsh criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a purely political maneuver to "find the exact middle" in the Democratic Party or to position herself for a potential 2008 presidential run.
ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper and Washington Post staff writer Jeffrey Birnbaum both uncritically reported conservatives' argument that a minimum-wage increase will eliminate existing jobs and discourage the creation of new ones. However, several studies show that minimum-wage increases do not hurt employment.
ABC's Good Morning America joined CNN in featuring a segment on the potential coming of the Apocalypse, as indicated by current conflicts in the Middle East, by hosting the authors of the Left Behind Christian book series to discuss the issue.
A Media Matters for America review has found that a July 24 report from a task force of the American Bar Association (ABA) on President Bush's use of so-called "signing statements" has been ignored by several media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, all three television networks, and Fox News prime-time shows. The ABA report concluded that Bush's practice of attaching signing statements to congressional legislation "weaken[s] our cherished system of checks and balances and separation of powers."
The three major broadcast networks' morning programs have hosted far more commentary on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict from Republicans and conservatives than from Democrats and progressives. The shows have hosted nine solo interviews of Republicans and conservatives, but only two of progressives.