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.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume echoed a previous comment by Rep. Tom DeLay, claiming that the Democratic Party is "as a whole, unserious about national security."
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Following recent demonstrations in which protesters marched against proposed legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers, some in the media have criticized the demonstrators for carrying Mexican flags. But these same media figures have not complained about people waving other nations' flags, such as Irish flags at St. Patrick's Day events, Italian flags at Columbus Day events, or Israeli flags at Israel Day events.
The campaign against purportedly biased reporting on the Iraq war -- forwarded by President Bush, White House officials, and array of conservative media figures -- has continued on the airwaves and in print.