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.
After the contentious exchange between Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas and President Bush during Bush's March 21 press conference, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and several other conservative commentators rushed to attack Thomas. O'Reilly accused her of "hat[ing] Bush and try[ing] to undermine everything he does," and even suggesting that if he were Bush, he "would have laid her out." Several other conservative media figures -- including Jonah Goldberg, Fred Barnes, Glenn Beck, and Tucker Carlson -- have followed suit, sometimes with highly personal attacks.
Los Angeles Times columnist Jonah Goldberg professed to be "baffle[d]" that "the only argument" that opponents of the Iraq war claim that President Bush made in justifying the March 2003 invasion of Iraq is that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and planned to use them against the United States. In fact, it was Bush himself who stressed in the weeks leading up to the invasion that disarming and removing Saddam were necessary because of the threat that he would use WMD against the United States.
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 17 that "Republicans added nearly $1 billion to tighten security at seaports," but did not note that GOP senators voted down a separate Democratic proposal to boost port-related funding by an additional $1.7 billion. The article also made no mention of House Republicans' March 16 rejection of a Democratic amendment to increase port security funding by $1.2 billion.
In covering President's Bush's March 13 speech, the media reported that Bush effectively laid out a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq by setting a "goal of having the Iraqis control more territory than the coalition by the end of 2006" but completely ignored the numerous statements Bush and other administration officials have made denouncing timetables for withdrawal, and attacking those who propose them.
An editorial in the Los Angeles Times misrepresented the position of President Bush on a South Dakota law banning all abortions except in cases in which a woman's life is threatened by a pregnancy. MSNBC host Chris Matthews also misstated Sen. John McCain's position on the bill.
Articles in The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times both noted that the state-owned Dubai Ports World has agreed to a 45-day investigation of the potential national security implications of its bid to acquire operational control of six U.S. ports. However, both articles omitted the highly relevant fact that the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United Sates opted not to conduct such an investigation when it first reviewed the deal.
On the second day after the release of videos showing President Bush was warned of possible catastrophic flooding in New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal published no news articles following up on the controversy.
Faced with widespread criticism in recent weeks, the Bush administration and some of its supporters have promoted numerous false and misleading claims intended to downplay the approval of a deal that would turn over control of terminal operations at six U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World (DPW) -- a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- and cast critics of the transaction as racist, politically opportunistic, or both. The media, in turn, have often repeated these claims without challenge or correction.
In recent days, numerous pundits have summarily dismissed concerns about the takeover of operations at six U.S. ports by a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates, despite the fact that the Bush administration opted not to conduct the 45-day investigation into the deal's national security implications provided for -- and, critics argue, required -- by federal law.
Most major print and broadcast media outlets offered no coverage of House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King's March 1 claim that there was "no investigation into terrorism whatsoever" during the Bush administration's initial review of the proposed deal that would allow Dubai Ports World (DPW) to assume control of terminal operations at six major U.S. ports.
The Los Angeles Times, in two articles about the Dubai Ports World deal to acquire operational control of six U.S. ports, omitted reference to a U.S. law calling for further investigation of business deals with possible national security implications and to a government report sharply criticizing what it called an overly narrow application of that law.
In detailing the evaluation process the Bush administration purportedly undertook before agreeing to permit a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to manage port terminals in six major U.S. cities, several media outlets reported that the administration approved of the deal only after a thorough review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). But none of the reports noted the glaring inconsistency in the administration's account: that Donald Rumsfeld, a key member of CFIUS, acknowledged in a February 21 press conference that he possessed "minimal information" about the deal because he had "just heard about this over the weekend."
Despite multiple reports on the subject, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press have ignored several important issues concerning a proposal by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to resolve any potential legal problems involving the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program by crafting legislation that would exempt the program from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
In February 17 articles about the incident last week in which Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting companion, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times uncritically reported that the local sheriff department stated that the account of events offered by Katharine Armstrong, owner of the ranch where the incident happened, agrees with Cheney's version of events. Neither newspaper noted that some of Armstrong's statements regarding the presence of alcohol and Whittington's ability to speak after the incident have been contradicted by Cheney.