Several media outlets uncritically reported President Bush's claim that he delayed the release of his new "way forward in Iraq" strategy from before Christmas to until January 2007 to allow new Defense Secretary Robert Gates to join the policy discussion and visit Iraq. These media outlets did not mention that the White House scheduled Gates' swearing-in ceremony fully 12 days after his Senate confirmation in order for him to attend commencement at Texas A&M before resigning as the school's president.
Since the Democratic Party won control of both the House and the Senate, the media have focused on such issues as Pelosi's choice of attire and whether being female will affect her ability to lead. MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer wondered if Pelosi's "personal feelings [were] getting in the way of effective leadership" -- a problem she suggested would not surface in "men-run leadership posts" -- and whether men were "more capable of taking personality clashes."
In reporting that Sen. Mel Martinez had accepted an offer to become chairman of the Republican National Committee, CNN's John King failed to mention Martinez's admission in April 2005 that his office had authored a memo touting the Terri Schiavo case as "a great political issue" for Republicans because "the pro-life base will be excited" and it "is a tough issue for Democrats." King also ignored the controversies surrounding Martinez's 2004 Senate campaign.
Media figures have attributed Democratic gains in the House and Senate in the midterm elections to the number of wins by conservative or moderate Democratic challengers and have suggested that because the party's victory in the House was purportedly "built on the back of more centrist candidates," the incoming Democratic majority will be sharply divided. However, a Media Matters for America survey of the policy positions of 27 victorious House candidates found that they all agree on a core set of issues, including raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security.
During an interview with White House counselor Dan Bartlett, CNN's Tony Harris touted newly released unemployment figures while ignoring the negative news -- that the job creation rate for the month of October fell well short of expectations. Harris also failed to challenge Bartlett's claims that Democrats would raise taxes if they win control of Congress; that the wealthy "are paying more as a percentage of taxes than they did before the tax relief"; and that Democrats must raise taxes because "it's fundamentally within their DNA to spend money."
CNN anchors and reporters stated or suggested without evidence that the controversy over Sen. John Kerry's remarks will have an impact on the midterm elections, despite the fact that Kerry is not running for office in the election.
CNN's Candy Crowley uncritically aired Tennessee Republican Senate candidate Bob Corker's false claim that he has "never said a negative word" about the family of his Democratic opponent, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. In fact, Corker has "question[ed]" Ford's father's employment as a lobbyist, and Corker's campaign has repeatedly attacked Ford's family as the "Ford Political Machine."
The Republican National Committee's (RNC) new political ad -- featuring clips of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists making threats against the United States and clips of explosions -- has not yet aired as a paid advertisement, but broadcast and cable news networks have already played portions of it several times as part of their news programming -- essentially giving the RNC the opportunity to fearmonger on their airwaves free of charge.
CNN continued to uncritically report the assertion that Democratic operatives knew "all along" of Rep. Mark Foley's alleged communications with former congressional pages. As Media Matters for America has noted, that notion is contradicted by other media reports.