Since a March 27 New York Times article confirmed that a leaked British memo appears to contradict President Bush's repeated claim prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that he wanted to avoid war, media have failed to note the full significance of the document and in some cases ignored the story altogether.
Since March 23, each of the three major network nightly newscasts have uncritically reported administration statements expressing outrage over the prosecution and possible execution of an Afghan man for converting to Christianity, in defiance of Islamic law. But none of the nightly newscasts noted that when the Afghan constitution was ratified in 2004, President Bush hailed it for "lay[ing] the foundation for democratic institutions," despite a provision in the constitution asserting the supremacy of Islamic law.
On the CBS Evening News, Washington correspondent Bob Orr characterized a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations proposal allowing tax return preparers to sell information from returns to third parties as spelling out a "loophole of sorts" that has "been around for more than 30 years." In fact, in permitting sales to third parties, the new proposal would allow tax preparers to do something they are not currently permitted to do; under current law, they can pass on such information only to affiliates.
CBS correspondent Gloria Borger misrepresented the terms of new legislation, reportedly agreed to by Senate Republicans and the White House, affecting the administration's domestic spying program. Borger reported that in order to conduct warrantless surveillance under the new legislation, the president would first be required to "explain why he needs to eavesdrop to a newly created congressional subcommittee." In fact, the legislation as reported would let the president authorize warrantless surveillance of Americans for up to 45 days without informing Congress.
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer reported on deals in which Dubai Ports World (DPW) would assume control of terminal operations six U.S. ports and in which "another Arab company" plans "to buy plants in the United States that make parts for planes and tanks." However, in both instances, Schieffer failed to mention that the companies involved are owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- a legal distinction that is central to whether each deal should be subject to an additional 45-day review for national security concerns.
CBS News correspondent Bob Orr uncritically reported the White House's "explanation" for why President Bush falsely claimed that nobody anticipated that Hurricane Katrina would cause breaches in New Orleans levees and flood the city. Orr reported that the White House stated that Katrina "was a Category 3" storm when it made landfall but did not mention that, at the time, it was assessed as a more powerful Category 4 hurricane.
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.