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"?
In his interview with President Bush, NBC's Brian Williams allowed Bush to falsely claim that "we delivered" on the promises Bush made during a September 2005 address to the nation in New Orleans; that Saddam Hussein had an active weapons of mass destruction program prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq; and that Bush had never suggested ties between Iraq, Saddam, and the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Williams also left unchallenged Bush's objection to the argument that the Iraq war has acted as a recruitment tool for terrorists.
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.
On the August 27 Chris Matthews Show, panelists Elisabeth Bumiller, Howard Fineman, and Michael Duffy failed to note Sen. John McCain's history of conflicting statements on President Bush's Iraq policy and on Donald Rumsfeld's performance as secretary of defense.
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."
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Various print and television news outlets discussing a House report of U.S. intelligence on Iran characterized the report as "bipartisan" without noting that it was primarily written by Republican staff members and came under criticism from House Democrats.
On NBC's Today, David Gregory provided Pat Buchanan a forum to discuss Buchanan's newly released book, which includes a claim that the United States must keep "Americans of European descent" from becoming the "minority" in order to "survive."
Several media outlets, in their reporting on a response President Bush gave in his August 21 press conference to a question on Iraq, either excised or omitted Bush's admission that "sometimes I'm happy" when hearing about the situation there.
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.
In the wake of the recent thwarting of an alleged terrorist plot in Britain, numerous media outlets have posed the question of whether news of the event would benefit President Bush, often letting conservatives or Republican officials spin the news in favor of the administration. Many of the reports neglected to consider whether the news could actually hurt Bush politically.
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."