In their coverage of the Clinton-Wallace interview, the media largely ignored the substance of former President Clinton's criticism of the Bush administration's efforts to combat terrorism, instead focusing on Clinton's behavior during the interview or the possibility that his reaction was motivated by politics.
Many television news outlets touted a USA Today/Gallup poll putting President Bush's job approval rating at 44 percent as a success for Bush, asserting that his rating is "the highest it's been in a year." But four days earlier, the same news organizations ignored a Pew Research Center poll showing Bush's approval rating at 37 percent.
House Majority Leader John Boehner received widespread media coverage for his remark about Democratic colleagues: "Sometimes, based on the votes that get cast, you wonder whether they're more interested in the rights of the terrorists than in protecting the American people." Sen. Mary Landrieu responded to similar criticism in the Senate with an indictment of the Republicans' counterterrorism policies. Will the media highlight Landrieu's comments as they did Boehner's?
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, GOP strategist Ed Rollins asserted that Nancy Pelosi would not "get tough" on national security issues if she were speaker of the House because she "comes from San Francisco, one of the bastions of lawlessness in this country." However, in 2004, an independent research company ranked San Francisco as the ninth-safest of the 32 U.S. cities with a population greater than 500,000.
Numerous media figures have asserted that a recent report purportedly identifying former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as Robert Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative prove that Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were not involved in the leak of her identity. However, Armitage's role as Novak's first source is not inconsistent with Rove's and Libby's involvements in the leak -- both were original sources of the information for two other reporters.
The Washington Post reported that Republican activist and discredited former congressional staffer David Bossie had "earned a reputation as a relentless sleuth -- or right-wing hit man, depending on one's political persuasion." CNN host Kitty Pilgrim interviewed Bossie but made no mention of his highly controversial past.
CNN's Kitty Pilgrim uncritically repeated White House senior adviser Karl Rove's dubious claim that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program "might have prevented" the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In fact, the Bush administration had information on two of the 9-11 hijackers more than a year before the attacks occurred, and according to the 9-11 Commission and congressional investigators, it was primarily bureaucratic problems -- rather than a lack of information -- that resulted in their escaping detection.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Lou Dobbs, and Kelli Arena characterized a judge's ruling that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program is unconstitutional as a serious blow to the administration's efforts to combat terrorists. But it's not at all clear that the administration must violate the law to protect the country or that warrantless domestic wiretapping has been effective in combating terrorists.
Numerous media outlets failed to challenge Donald Rumsfeld's claim to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that he had "never painted a rosy picture" about the Iraq war, despite Sen. Clinton's proffer of specific instances in which she claimed he did just that.
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN correspondent Casey Wian failed to challenge House Speaker Dennis Hastert's false claim that "the Senate [immigration reform] bill doesn't talk about the border at all." In fact, the Senate bill includes a number of border-security provisions.
Lou Dobbs claimed that "[i]f the Heritage Foundation [hadn't gotten] involved," a recent immigration bill passed by the Senate "would have approved 100 million immigrants into this country." But independent analysts have questioned the methodology and results of a Heritage study to which Dobbs was referring; the study claimed that the Senate bill would allow more than 100 million people to legally immigrate to the U.S. over the next 20 years.
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN correspondent Dana Bash uncritically reported that sources within Sen. Rick Santorum's re-election campaign said the campaign's internal polling showed that 85 percent of Americans opposed "what they label as amnesty." But Bash did not actually quote the purported poll or elaborate on how Santorum's campaign defines "amnesty."
Now that right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has been accused of numerous instances of plagiarism, will the many media outlets on which she has made recent appearances to promote her latest book continue to provide her with a platform to shout her twisted rants, and if so, will they confront her with these charges?
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou Dobbs suggested that right-wing pundit Ann Coulter is the right-wing counterpart to filmmaker Michael Moore. Coulter responded, "I reject that. ... I think I am the right-wing [H.L.] Mencken, the right-wing Mark Twain. I am not the right-wing Michael Moore."
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Despite a CNN spokeswoman's acknowledgement that the use of a graphic from the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) -- an organization linked to white supremacists -- during an immigration report on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight was "regettab[le]," the incident was not mentioned during the following edition of the show. As Media Matters has noted, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the CCC "has described blacks as 'a retrograde species of humanity,' compared singer Michael Jackson to an ape, and promoted neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial materials."