While discussing objections raised by Sen. Susan Collins' chief of staff to a tracker hired by the Maine Democratic Party, CNN's Miles O'Brien suggested that political tracking became widespread only after the 2006 midterm elections. In fact, CNN and other news organizations have noted campaigns' use of trackers since at least 1996.
Reporting on U.S. troops having returned to Afghanistan's Tora Bora region, CNN's Miles O'Brien and Barbara Starr noted that Osama bin Laden had reportedly escaped capture there in late 2001, but not that, according to a previous CNN report, the administration ignored requests for more troops, allowing bin Laden to escape.
In reporting that a "much-criticized pact" between Pakistani President Musharraf and tribal leaders -- that "would have pulled Pakistani troops from that tribal region bordering Afghanistan where many believe Osama Bin Laden is ... fell through" -- CNN's Miles O'Brien did not mention that the deal, which did take effect and which the Bush administration "reluctantly endorsed," facilitated the "regenerat[ion]" of several elements of Al Qaeda's infrastructure, according to a recent National Intelligence Estimate.
Media figures have attributed Democratic gains in the House and Senate in the midterm elections to the number of wins by conservative or moderate Democratic challengers and have suggested that because the party's victory in the House was purportedly "built on the back of more centrist candidates," the incoming Democratic majority will be sharply divided. However, a Media Matters for America survey of the policy positions of 27 victorious House candidates found that they all agree on a core set of issues, including raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security.
During Tony Snow's recent series of appearances on cable news channels, interviewers on CNN and Fox News left unchallenged a number of false, misleading, and baseless Republican talking points on a variety of issues. After allowing Snow to misrepresent the Democratic position on the surveillance and detention of suspected terrorists, CNN host Wolf Blitzer told Snow that he is "a straight shooter."
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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.
After the recent arrests of terrorism suspects in the United Kingdom, numerous media outlets asked whether President Bush's approval ratings would benefit from the news or even claimed outright that his ratings already had benefited. Subsequent polling has shown the arrests resulted in little or no benefit for Bush. Media Matters now asks: Will these media outlets report on the true effect of the arrest on Bush's ratings?
Following President Bush's claim on Larry King Live that the United States had a functional missile defense system, numerous media outlets reported his statement without challenge. By contrast, a report on NPR's Morning Edition noted that the missile defense system "has been plagued with technical problems" and has never been thoroughly tested, citing Government Accountability Office reports that indicate the system has no proven ability to shoot down a hostile missile.
Commenting on the two Vietnam veterans who recently mailed their military decorations to President Bush in protest over the administration's foreign policy, Miles O'Brien asked: "[I]s it the patriotic thing to do?" He also said, "If I were a soldier in Iraq ... I would feel somewhat betrayed to hear that veterans were doing this. Is that, in some way, not showing support for the men and women who are risking their lives over there?
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Following the White House Correspondents' dinner, numerous news outlets trumpeted President Bush's performance at the event, but entirely ignored the scathing routine delivered by the night's featured entertainer, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert. In his act, Colbert mocked the White House's current woes, slammed a wide range of Bush administration policies, and lampooned the mainstream media.
On April 20, Republican strategist Mary Matalin appeared alone on five network and cable morning shows with no one to rebut her false claims, pro-GOP spin, and attacks on the Democratic Party.