On Fox News Sunday, NPR's Mara Liasson again falsely claimed that Democrats received money from disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. As the weblog Think Progress first noted, she claimed on the May 7 show that "it's Democrats, not just Republicans, taking money from Abramoff." In fact, Democrats received contributions from Abramoff's clients and associates, but none from Abramoff directly.
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol offered different explanations for why Porter Goss resigned as CIA director. He first said that Goss's resignation could be related to "some internal problem at the agency" and an unfolding "scandal, conceivably involving an associate of Goss's." Two days later, Kristol failed to mention the "scandal" as a possible reason for Goss's resignation, instead claiming that National Intelligence director John Negroponte "wanted him gone."
Fox News analyst Mara Liasson touted President Bush's endorsement of a proposal by Senate Republicans to grant the executive branch authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars. But despite noting the opposition of some Democratic and Republican lawmakers to raising fuel-efficiency standards for cars, Liasson did not inform viewers that Bush had also opposed raising those standards -- as recently as February. Fox News host Chris Wallace also noted Bush's endorsement of the proposal but left out the fact that this represents a shift in policy for the Bush administration.
On Fox News Sunday, William Kristol falsely claimed that President Bush "declassified most" of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that he reportedly authorized then-vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to leak to reporters. In fact, Libby leaked a very small, cherry-picked series of excerpts from the 90-page NIE, reportedly following Bush's authorization.
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.
On Fox News Sunday, correspondent Bret Baier cited reports in The New Yorker magazine and The Washington Post regarding plans for possible U.S. air strikes on Iran to neutralize that country's purported nuclear weapons program. But Baier failed to mention the revelation in both articles that military strategists and members of the Bush administration are reportedly considering the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.
William Kristol attacked special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the 2003 leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity as "absurd" and a "politically motivated attempt to wound the Bush administration." He also asserted that Fitzgerald is "out to discredit the administration." However in 1998, Kristol attacked as "Nixonian" critics of independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who sought and obtained authorization to expand the scope of his original mandate to investigate the Whitewater deal, which yielded no charges of wrongdoing by Clinton, into an investigation of the Monica Lewinsky controversy.
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace offered up a series of false or misleading statements regarding President Bush's authorization of a warrantless domestic wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency.
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.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume falsely claimed that Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) "has never said that he wasn't fully briefed" on President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program. In fact, in a July 2003 letter to Vice President Dick Cheney, Rockefeller stated that the briefing he received on the program left him "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse" the wiretapping program, and that "[w]ithout more information and the ability to draw on independent legal or technical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received" on the program. Hume acknowledged Rockefeller's letter but called it "one weak little, weird, sort-of-slightly-incomprehensible letter ... which was followed up by him in no way whatever."
Several journalists and media figures have taken to describing Democratic criticism of the Bush administration's approval of a deal allowing state-owned Dubai Ports World to assume control of six major U.S. ports as an attempt by Democrats to move "to the right" of President Bush and Republicans in Congress on issues of national security. In fact, some of the Democrats who have most strongly denounced the deal have been among the most active proponents of enhancing port security since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Fox News reporters and anchors have increased their use of the Bush administration's term for its warrantless domestic spying program, which it calls a "terrorist [or terror] surveillance program," in their reporting and commentary. Some regional newspapers appear to be following Fox's lead.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Fox News' Chris Wallace failed to challenge Gen. Michael Hayden when he defended the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program by claiming that in order to undertake domestic surveillance without a warrant, the National Security Agency must have evidence "in the probable cause range." Hayden's statement appears to be in direct contradiction to an earlier statement he made, in which he said the program requires a "reasonable basis" standard that he admitted is "a bit softer than it is for a FISA warrant."
On Fox, Newt Gingrich falsely accused Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of taking money from former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and asserted that this made it more difficult for Democrats to charge Republicans with perpetuating a "culture of corruption."
On Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol distorted Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean's criticism of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program, claiming that Dean had said that the program was "probably some kind of domestic spying on political enemies." In fact, Dean made no such allegation.