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.
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.
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.
In reports on the Senate immigration bill, CNN's Lou Dobbs and Christian Science Monitor staff writer Gail Russell Chaddock cited a dubious immigration study conducted by Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation. However, neither Dobbs nor Chaddock noted that independent analysts have questioned the methodology and results of Rector's study, which has reportedly influenced the Senate immigration bill debate.
CNN's Lou Dobbs stated that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "told CNN Iran could make a nuclear bomb within months." Dobbs was referring to an interview CNN host Wolf Blitzer conducted with Olmert, in which Olmert stated: "The question is when will [Iran] cross the technological line that will allow them at any given time, within six or eight months, to have nuclear bomb?" and answered his own question, asserting that the "threshold ... can be measured by months, rather than years." But Dobbs neglected to mention that the U.S. intelligence community disagrees with Olmert's assessment.
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou Dobbs claimed that the Senate immigration bill, which includes numerous provisions targeting illegal immigration, does "absolutely nothing for border security." On the same show, correspondent Casey Wian characterized Mexican President Vicente Fox's trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, as a "Mexican military incursion," and claimed that "[y]ou could call" Fox's trip to the United States "the Vicente Fox Aztlan tour" -- drawing a baseless link between Fox and the reconquista movement, which maintains that portions of the American Southwest belong to Mexico.
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Time columnist Joe Klein praised President Bush's proposed immigration reforms, claiming that Bush's position on immigration is "deeply held," that while campaigning for the presidency in 2000 Bush would "take essentially the same position he took last night," and that Bush is "going up against the conservative base of the Republican Party on a matter of conscience." However, Klein ignored the White House's reported advocacy of an amendment to Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner's (R-WI) controversial immigration bill that would have facilitated criminal prosecutions of illegal immigrants -- a position nowhere to be found in Bush's recent speech on immigration.
A Christian Science Monitor article cited a May 3 Zogby poll that found "[b]y a 2 to 1 margin" likely voters prefer the more punitive, enforcement-only immigration bill passed by the House in December over the comprehensive proposals currently being considered by the Senate. CNN host Lou Dobbs also cited the poll to claim that "voters overwhelmingly believe the House of Representatives has a better plan than the Senate." But the Zogby poll -- which was commissioned by an anti-immigration group -- misrepresented both proposals, and most polls on the issue run counter to Zogby's conclusions.
CNN's Lou Dobbs raised the question of whether it was a reflection of the mainstream media's purported "liberal bias" that Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert's lampooning of President Bush at the White House correspondents' dinner "was not more heavily criticized." But Dobbs's assumption that the media tilts to the left is contradicted by the imbalance on his own show, which regularly hosts far more conservative guests than liberal ones.
CNN's Lou Dobbs allowed Rep. Peter King to advance a misleading Republican claim Dobbs himself had previously repeated on the program -- that Democrats bear responsibility for a controversial provision in the immigration bill passed by the House of Representatives that would make unlawful presence in the United States a felony.
Several news outlets have uncritically reported GOP leaders' claim that Democrats voted in favor of the controversial felony provision in the Republican-sponsored House immigration bill. But while House Democrats rejected an amendment reducing the charge for unlawful presence in the United States from a felony to a misdemeanor, they made clear at the time that their votes were consistent with their opposition to any criminal penalties for illegal U.S. presence.
In reporting on the scandals and issues confronting the Bush administration, various media outlets have imputed to President Bush and members of his administration comments or statements they have not actually made. These phony statements often arise as a result of reporters misinterpreting an administration official's statement or inaccurately attributing a position or statement to an administration official.
CNN's Lou Dobbs falsely suggested that a Colorado middle school's ban on flags -- in the wake of protests at the school over proposed immigration reform legislation -- applied only to the American flag. In fact, the ban encompassed clothing depicting all flags and other "patriotic" symbols, and was not limited to American flags. Dobbs also said a California school district "ban[ned] flags and patriotic symbols"; in fact, both the Mexican and American flags are prohibited there.
CNN host Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that "there have been more advocates of open borders and illegal immigration" on Lou Dobbs Tonight "than there have been opponents." In fact, a Media Matters review of the first three months of 2006 found that among guests who held positions on immigration reform, Lou Dobbs Tonight featured 26 appearances by guests who largely agreed with Dobbs's positions on immigration reform, compared with only 16 guests whom he might describe as "advocates of open borders and illegal immigration."
Several media figures have misrepresented public opinion polling on immigration issues in order to falsely suggest that the public opposes providing a temporary work program and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In fact, polling has consistently shown that most Americans favor some form of temporary guest worker program or path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the United States.