In a report on Sen. Bill Nelson's recent visit to Syria, Fox News' Bret Baier falsely suggested that "despite warnings and disapproval" from various administration officials, only Democratic lawmakers would defy the administration and meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He did not mention that Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican, is also reportedly expected to go to Syria.
Brett Baier reported that President Bush had "praised the report and the members on the Iraq Study Group [ISG] for tying any withdrawal to commanders' assessment of the conditions on the ground in Iraq." In fact, the ISG's recommendations run counter to Bush's policies and assumptions regarding U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
Reporting on President Bush's announcement of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, media outlets, with few exceptions, have avoided characterizing Bush's assertion the previous week that he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as a "lie" or intentional misrepresentation -- this, despite Bush's own admission of a deliberate deception. Some outlets even failed to acknowledge Bush's previous statement that Rumsfeld would stay on as defense secretary until the end of his presidency.
When Fox News' Brett Baier asked Tony Snow to comment on Sen. John Kerry's remarks on Iraq a day earlier, Snow "was clearly ready" to respond and attack, even providing a "fuller quote" of Kerry's statement -- although the comment had, at the time, appeared in only local media and on conservative radio shows and weblogs. This raises the question of whether Snow and Baier coordinated to push Kerry's comments into the national media.
Numerous media outlets reported without challenge President Bush's assertion that the "ultimate accountability" for the Iraq war "rests with me" -- some even asserting that he "took full responsibility for the war." But these reports ignored Bush's consistent pattern of deflecting questions regarding his judgments on Iraq by stating that he defers to others, including top generals, the intelligence community, and the Iraqi government, in making such decisions.
MSNBC and Fox News uncritically reported claims by the Bush administration, including that "wages for the average middle-class American today are actually higher than they were just a couple of years ago," ignoring a report alleging that the median hourly real wage has "declined 2 percent since 2003."
Fox News' Brett Baier failed to challenge Rep. Peter Hoekstra's claim that his decision to suspend a Democratic House Intelligence Committee staffer for allegedly leaking portions of a National Intelligence Estimate was based on "sufficient evidence." A Washington Post report debunked a previous claim by Hoekstra about the staffer's involvement.
CNN's Lou Dobbs and Fox News' Bret Baier reported on President Bush's visit to Pennsylvania to campaign for Rep. Don Sherwood and noted that Sherwood has acknowledged having an "extramarital affair." But neither Dobbs nor Baier mentioned allegations that Sherwood had "repeatedly chok[ed]" and "attempt[ed] to strangle" his former mistress.
During a report on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Fox News' Bret Baier uncritically reported the Bush administration's assertion that, under the bill, noncitizen detainees have a right to challenge their detention and designation as "unlawful enemy combatant[s]" and that critics of the bill who say otherwise are "just flat wrong." In fact, a detainee's ability to challenge his or her detention effectively depends on the government's willingness to provide an initial hearing, which the government can postpone indefinitely.
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.
Despite several reports that the recently foiled London terrorist plot had no connections to the United States, The New York Times, CNN, and Fox News uncritically repeated Republican assertions that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program played a role in the plot's breakup.
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
Fox News' Bret Baier misrepresented the reasons that Republican senators cited for opposing an amendment that would urge President Bush to communicate strong disapproval of an amnesty for insurgents in Iraq who attacked U.S. troops. Baier falsely suggested that the Republicans said only that they opposed the amendment because Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie had supposedly made the controversy moot when he disavowed such a proposal.