Despite Sen. John McCain's numerous flip-flops, reversals, backtracks, and inconsistencies, the media continue to describe him with words such as "honest" and "authentic." Is there anything John McCain could do that would cause the media to stop portraying him as a "straight talker"?
Several media figures have recently claimed, or let Republicans claim, that the White House "rejects" the policy that the United States should "stay the course" in Iraq, even though President Bush and White House spokesman Tony Snow have continued to use that term to describe the administration's Iraq policy.
A Washington Post article misrepresented polling to state that the public is "evenly split" on withdrawing from Iraq. Similarly, National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne falsely claimed on NBC's Meet the Press that the public does "not support leaving prematurely, and a timetable to do so."
After a federal judge recently struck down the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program, some media figures have repeated the false Republican charge that critics of the program are opposed to wiretapping in general. In fact, critics of the program say that the Bush administration is violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by conducting surveillance of U.S. citizens and legal residents without obtaining a warrant from the FISA court
On Meet the Press, NBC News' David Gregory failed to rebut or question Sen. John McCain on several assertions he made on the show regarding Iraq, terrorism, and the Connecticut Senate race that were either false or open to challenge.
Interviewing Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman on Meet the Press, David Gregory allowed Mehlman's false claims to go unchallenged, and Gregory himself suggested that if Sen. Joseph Lieberman won re-election, it could "expose the Democratic Party as divided and weak."
On NBC's Meet the Press, David Gregory failed to question Michael Chertoff about an August 12 report by Gregory's own network that, while British officials had intended to continue surveillance on the suspects of the foiled British terror plot, U.S. authorities had pressured them to arrest the suspected plotters sooner. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos noted this report, but left the false impression that the allegations were the product of the "blogosphere."
In Media Matters' third examination of guest appearances on ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, and NBC's Meet the Press, research demonstrated that Republicans and conservatives outnumbered Democrats and progressives from April to June of 2006.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich declared that "we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the Third World War." As evidence of "World War III," Gingrich cited -- among other events -- two purported terror plots that involved alleged conspirators who intended to attack U.S. targets but had no apparent means to do so.
Meet the Press host Tim Russert did little to challenge Bob Novak's misleading statements on some of the key aspects of the Valerie Plame affair. Instead, both focused on the irrelevant issue of whether Novak's sources disclosed her actual name -- which as Novak himself noted, was easily located -- rather than on his sources' motivations in disclosing her identity as a CIA operative.
In their recent coverage of three major national security developments, various media outlets have portrayed the events as "victories" for President Bush and Republicans or losses for Democrats, with little or no discussion of how these events could be seen as bad for the White House and the GOP.
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
On NBC's Meet the Press, New York Times reporter Anne E. Kornblut claimed that the Connecticut Democratic primary in August between Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and challenger Ned Lamont will be "a test of if taking a principled stand can work in a Democratic primary" -- suggesting that Lamont is not "principled" in his criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war. Kornblut later simply repeated a GOP smear against Democratic war critics, claiming that some Democratic senators "have made the calculation that it would be more dangerous to take ... the cut-and-run position."
On June 18, The Washington Post published a cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq that detailed the deteriorating conditions observed in Baghdad in recent months. Despite the clear significance of the document, the media have almost entirely ignored its publication.
On Meet the Press, Tim Russert noted that National Review White House correspondent Byron York is "a conservative writer," but then added that York is "an interesting, objective observer of American politics," without elaborating on the term "objective." Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances of conservative misinformation from York.