Numerous media outlets and commentators have gone to great lengths to avoid using some version of the simplest construction to describe Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting partner, Harry Whittington: Cheney shot Whittington. Instead, the media have come up with alternative formulations that have the effect of distancing Cheney from the incident.
Reporting on Vice President Dick Cheney's admission that he had consumed "a beer at lunch" prior to accidentally shooting a hunting companion, numerous media outlets failed to report that Cheney's admission contradicted earlier statements by Katharine and Anne Armstrong, co-owners of the ranch where the accident occurred, who had said that Dr. Pepper was served with lunch and "heavily implied," according to The New York Times, that "no alcohol was served at all."
During a report on a dispute between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, CBS' Gloria Borger uncritically presented McCain's side of the dispute. While she noted that McCain accused Obama of distancing himself from McCain's reform proposals for "partisan reasons," she said: "It's very clear that lobbying reform is a very personal issue for John McCain. It's very important to John McCain."
CBS' John Roberts selectively cited the results of a poll to claim that Americans support President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program, but the full poll results show that the public's view of the program is more evenly divided.
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer reported that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld rejected a Democratic study that showed that the military has been strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Schieffer did not note that Rumsfeld also rejected a Pentagon-funded report that came to a similar conclusion.
Numerous media outlets have cited Gen. Michael V. Hayden's defense of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program while ignoring a Justice Department statement from June 2002 that contradicted Hayden's claims. Now that the statement has surfaced, will those media outlets now report the facts undermining Hayden's defense?
In coverage of President Bush's January 23 speech at Kansas State University, evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC uncritically reported Bush's assertion that his "briefing Congress" about his authorization of warrantless domestic wiretaps by the National Security Agency shows that he believed the wiretapping program was legal; however, members of Congress from both parties have disputed the claim that they were adequately briefed. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) said that the "program in fact goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which I was briefed."
News outlets reported that the Republican-sponsored ethics reform package would ban lobbyist-paid travel. But the proposed reform measure would still allow lobbyist-paid meals and trips as long as they were offered as campaign fundraising activities.
CBS, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post reported without challenge the disputed claim that President Bush has the legal authority to instruct the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance of people in the United States without obtaining warrants.
Despite the fact that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s wife's emotional response did not come during the Democrats' questioning, but during Sen. Lindsey Graham's characterization of the Democrats' questioning, numerous media outlets pounced on the incident to raise the question of whether Democrats on the committee "took this a step too far."
Casting the Jack Abramoff scandal as bipartisan, the media have conflated two categories of conduct: 1) the legal receipt of campaign contributions; and 2) other possible illegal conduct including the receipt of campaign contributions in exchange for something.