On Fox News' Special Report, host Brit Hume corrected his false claim -- documented by Media Matters for America -- that in its May 11 report on the National Security Agency's call-tracking program, USA Today waited "until Page 5 in a sidebar" article to note that "[p]hone customers' names, addresses, and other personal information are not being collected as part of this program." In fact, while that sentence did appear in a sidebar on Page 5A of the May 11 USA Today, the same information also appeared in USA Today's main article on Page 1A.
On Fox News' Special Report, host Brit Hume compared a recent USA Today/Gallup poll -- which found that a majority of respondents disapprove of the National Security Agency's (NSA) reported collection of Americans' telephone records -- with an earlier Washington Post/ABC News poll -- which found that 63 percent of respondents said the program was acceptable. Hume told viewers that "USA Today's poll question does not mention that the NSA database program does not involve listening to or recording telephone conversations, while the Post poll question did mention that." However, Hume did not mention that a Newsweek poll found that even after being told that the program does not involve "listen[ing] to calls," a majority of respondents said the program "goes too far."
Brit Hume selectively quoted remarks by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in order to portray her as laudatory of President Bush. Hume noted that Clinton praised Bush's "charm and charisma" and credited Bush with "t[aking] care of New York" after 9-11. However, Hume did not note that Clinton's statements came during an hour-long discussion in which she criticized the Bush administration's refusal to acknowledge air quality concerns at Ground Zero.
Fox News' Brit Hume leveled a false attack on USA Today's May 11 report on the National Security Agency's collection of the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, claiming that "[n]ot until page 5 in a sidebar, however, does the paper report the following, quote: 'Phone customers' names, addresses and other personal information are not being collected as part of this program.' " In fact, while that quote did appear in a sidebar article on page 5A, the same information also appeared on page 1A, in USA Today's main article.
Fox News' Brit Hume misleadingly reported that after "allegations" that "President Bush had closer ties with the discredited lobbyist Jack Abramoff than the White House had admitted, the Secret Service today released records showing only two White House visits by Abramoff in the past five years." In fact, the White House has already acknowledged several Abramoff visits not mentioned in the logs released by the Secret Service, and both the White House and the Secret Service have acknowledged that the records release "would not present a complete picture of Abramoff's" visits.
Fox News' Brit Hume selectively quoted from a memo written by retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, telling viewers that McCaffrey, who has criticized Donald Rumsfeld in the past, "now says the U.S. is achieving its objectives" in Iraq. But in reporting McCaffrey's optimistic statements about Iraq's army and police, Hume omitted a number of negative assessments of these two institutions and criticisms of Bush administration policy that McCaffrey included in his memo.
Fox News' Brit Hume selectively quoted from two statements by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid apparently to suggest that, in criticizing President Bush, Reid had recently changed his position on the United States' proper role in resolving international crises. An onscreen graphic during the report read: "Democrat Sang a Different Tune?"
Echoing Brit Hume's recent report that global warming "could ... be in remission," a Washington Times editorial cited a misleading statistic -- recently highlighted by global-warming skeptic Bob Carter -- to suggest that global warming might have "stopped in 1998" because of a "negligible decrease in temperature" since that year. But Hume and the Times neglected to mention why temperatures have slightly decreased since 1998: That year was the hottest on record, according to the Climatic Research Unit, the source of Carter's data.
Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz presented Fox News' Brit Hume as the "Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News" who rarely -- if ever -- runs afoul of the facts on his nightly news program. Kurtz's profile of Hume largely ignored the numerous false and misleading statements Hume has made during his tenure as a Fox News host and commentator, and even presented some of Hume's falsehoods as the truth.
Introducing a report on illegal immigration, Fox News' Brit Hume told viewers that "some unintended consequences" had arisen from "President Bush's proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship." Bush, however, has offered no such proposal and has refused to say whether he would support an "earned citizenship" plan with bipartisan backing in the Senate.
Brit Hume asserted that the seven retired generals calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation are doing so exclusively "based on an old argument" about prewar planning for the invasion of Iraq, and that the generals are not linking their criticism of Rumsfeld to "what's happening now" in Iraq. But contrary to Hume's assertions, several of the generals have criticized what Rumsfeld is "doing now" in Iraq.
Brit Hume reported that the revelation that President Bush authorized I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to leak classified portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction had the "rare and unusual result" of bringing "together the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post." Contrary to Hume's claim, however, the Post editorial board has often expressed views shared by the Journal -- a frequent source of conservative misinformation.
CNN's David Ensor, reporting on the revelation that President Bush "authorized" the disclosure of classified portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate pertaining to Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction, simply asserted without elaboration that unnamed "experts" say Bush's actions were "legal," and that the president has "the right" to declassify such information. Similarly, Fox News' Brit Hume said that both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "have the legal authority under an executive order signed by the president to make public classified information. So that takes the unauthorized out of it." Neither Ensor nor Hume challenged the notion that the president has the authority to leak classified information, questioned whether Bush -- assuming he has that authority -- properly declassified the information, or made any effort to explore the ramifications of the president's exercise of that alleged authority.
In an interview with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), Brit Hume misleadingly claimed that the scandal involving former lobbyist and DeLay associate Jack Abramoff has resulted in "charges against one of" DeLay's former aides and "possibly against a second." In fact, two former DeLay staffers have pleaded guilty to felonies in connection with the Abramoff scandal, and a third former DeLay staffer is reportedly under investigation.