Following President Bush's nomination of Henry M. Paulson Jr. to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow, major newspapers largely ignored a deceptive -- at best -- answer Bush gave last week about whether Snow would be leaving the administration. When asked during a May 25 press conference whether Snow "had given [Bush] any indication that he intends to leave his job any time soon," Bush responded: "No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job." Yet press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that Bush had already selected John Snow's replacement by May 21.
Associated Press writer John Solomon reported that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) had attended three Las Vegas boxing matches as the guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission while the agency "was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing." But Solomon failed to inform readers that, rather than taking any actions favorable to the NAC, Reid allowed the specific legislation that the agency had opposed to pass.*
In articles on the House's passage of a bill that would allow oil exploration in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Associated Press overstated the amount of oil that could be produced if the bill becomes law.
On Today, Kelly O'Donnell uncritically reported President Bush's claim that the formation of a new government in Iraq is a "fundamental change." Similarly, the Associated Press' Nedra Pickler noted that Bush "embraced the new leadership in Iraq as a turning point in the war." In fact, the Bush administration has touted several purportedly pivotal moments since the beginning of the Iraqi occupation, suggesting each time that the situation in Iraq was about to improve.
The Associated Press reported without challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-UT) statement that at least two of the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been briefed on the National Security Agency's (NSA) domestic spying activities and that "[n]one raised any objections." The AP article did not note that these two judges reportedly expressed serious concerns about the constitutionality of the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
Neither Fox News' Chris Wallace nor ABC News' George Stephanopoulos corrected a claim by first lady Laura Bush that when President Bush's poll numbers were high, the press did not put them "on the front page." Nor did the Associated Press or Reuters challenge Laura Bush's claim in articles reporting it.
In recent articles, the Associated Press employed the Bush administration's preferred term -- "terrorist surveillance program" -- to describe the administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program and reported that it allows "eavesdropping on phone calls to and from the United States when the calls involve al-Qaida and its operatives." In fact, while the National Security Agency (NSA) program is officially described as targeting those suspected of having ties to terrorist groups, news reports have indicated that the operation has led to the surveillance of thousands of Americans with no ties to terrorism.
In reporting on Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson's claim that his account of having denied a qualified publisher a government contract because of his alleged animus towards President Bush was merely "anecdotal" and did not actually occur, The New York Times and the Associated Press did not note that Dustee Tucker, Jackson's spokeswoman, had already twice indicated that Jackson was referring to a real contract.
In the wake of reports that Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden would be nominated to replace outgoing CIA director Porter Goss, numerous news outlets cited as a source of likely controversy Hayden's role in developing and overseeing the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program. But none of these outlets mentioned Hayden's misleading testimony before Congress in 2002, in which he said that the National Security Agency complies with the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in conducting surveillance on citizens or legal residents of the United States. Nor did they mention his shifting and contradictory defenses of the domestic surveillance program or his failure to answer questions regarding whether the program has been used to spy on U.S. residents with no ties to terrorism.
In a May 5 article, Associated Press staff writer Jon Sarche reported that the "immigration debate has split both parties." In fact, while congressional Democrats do disagree on some minor issues, they largely favor policies that would better secure U.S. borders and provide opportunities for illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.
In an April 28 article, the Associated Press identified right-wing website VDARE.com only as an "immigration-focused Web magazine," even though the site publishes the work of "white nationalists," according to its editor. The AP also failed to note that VDARE writer Bryanna Bevens, whom the article quoted, has made disparaging remarks about Hispanics, in which she advocated the creation of "National Hispanic Crime Prevention Month," and warned of "Mexico's conquest of the United States."
An April 19 New York Times article and an April 19 Associated Press article noted that the federally chartered home mortgage company known as Freddie Mac had agreed to pay a record $3.8 million to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to settle allegations that it violated federal election law by using company resources to host fundraisers for members of Congress, illegally funneling employee contributions to federal candidates, and making an illegal $150,000 contribution to the Republican Governors Association. But the articles did not disclose that the vast majority of the the illegal fundraisers hosted by Freddie Mac benefited Republican lawmakers.
Both the Associated Press and USA Today uncritically reported President Bush's highly misleading claim that he authorized the selective declassification of an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate because he "wanted people to see the truth" behind his dubious prewar arguments regarding the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
In articles about the immigration reform debate on Capitol Hill, The New York Times and the Associated Press presented two Senate immigration reform proposals -- a comprehensive bipartisan bill and a compromise measure recently put forth by Republicans -- as the full scope of the current debate on the issue in Congress. But the Times and the AP ignored entirely the more severe reform proposal the House passed in December 2005.