The Republican National Committee's (RNC) new political ad -- featuring clips of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists making threats against the United States and clips of explosions -- has not yet aired as a paid advertisement, but broadcast and cable news networks have already played portions of it several times as part of their news programming -- essentially giving the RNC the opportunity to fearmonger on their airwaves free of charge.
On NBC's Today, Matt Lauer referred to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as "controversial"; however, polls do not show that the public views Pelosi as controversial. The notion that Pelosi is "controversial" has been advanced by Republicans and media figures ahead of the midterm elections.
In her report on President Bush's signing of the controversial detainee bill, ABC's Martha Raddatz noted Sen. Russ Feingold's general opposition to the bill but gave no indication of Feingold's specific criticism -- that the bill "allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court." Nightly news broadcasts on NBC and CBS devoted little attention to the bill's signing and ignored Democratic criticism of it altogether.
In their coverage of President Bush's signing later that morning of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell reported that "there has been plenty of controversy" surrounding the bill but did not elaborate on what that controversy might be, while ABC News' Kate Snow did not mention that there is opposition to the bill, much less any of the reasons for that opposition.
NBC's Jonathan Alter falsely suggested that Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois' 6th District, have "a similar view of the war" in Iraq. But Chicago newspapers have reported that Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both her legs in combat, and Roskam, who recently accused Duckworth of favoring a "cut and run" strategy in Iraq, are "worlds apart" on Iraq.
Evening news programs on ABC and CBS made no mention that federal agents raided the homes of Rep. Curt Weldon's (R-PA) daughter and her business partner, as well as four additional locations, as part of a reported investigation into whether Weldon improperly assisted their company. NBC's Nightly News did report on the raids, but NBC devoted equal time to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's announcement that he would issue updated disclosure forms to add more details of a land transaction, without noting a key difference: There are no allegations that Reid used his office to benefit from the land deal.
NBC host Tim Russert suggested that both the Bush and Clinton administrations "talk[ed] tough with North Korea" but allowed its nuclear program "to go forward." But Russert ignored the fact that North Korea did not produce any plutonium, nor build or test any nuclear bombs, during Clinton's eight years in office.
The AP's Terence Hunt and NBC News' David Gregory both reported President Bush's "veiled swipe" at the Clinton administration's North Korea policy, in which Bush said, "I appreciate the efforts of previous administrations. It just didn't work." But neither noted that, following the Clinton administration's signing of the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, that country did not produce any plutonium until 2002, when the Bush administration abandoned the agreement.
ABC, NBC, and CBS reported that, during a recent press conference, President Bush stated that he is "open" to changing the administration's Iraq war policy, but did not note that, during that same press conference, Bush reiterated his claim that the United States will not "leave before the job is done."
The Washington Post, NBC, and ABC all uncritically covered Sen. John McCain's attack on the Clinton administration's North Korea policy, in which he argued that the 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea had been a "failure." All of these outlets ignored the fact, however, that the Clinton White House successfully prevented North Korea from producing any plutonium for eight years.
The scandal surrounding the sexually explicit electronic communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to underage former congressional pages -- and the House Republican leadership's alleged cover-up of Foley's behavior -- have produced a wave of misinformation. To aid members of the media in covering the scandal, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of the top myths, falsehoods, and baseless assertions surrounding the controversy.
Despite front-page coverage in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the resignation of Susan Ralston, a key aide to White House senior adviser Karl Rove, soon after a congressional report disclosed Ralston's extensive connections with Jack Abramoff, has gone unreported on ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Newscasts on NBC and CBS uncritically aired a clip of Rep. Adam Putnam claiming that Republicans "acted proactively" and "aggressively" in demanding Rep. Mark Foley's resignation. In fact, Foley reportedly resigned after being told by ABC News that it was going to make public sexually explicit instant messages linked to him, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert's own statements regarding the events leading up to Foley's resignation have been contradictory.