On April 17, numerous news outlets -- including NBC, CBS, NPR, and Fox News -- covering former Illinois governor George Ryan's conviction on corruption charges failed to mention that he is a Republican. Time magazine went a step further, omitting Ryan's Republican affiliation while reporting that "the current administration of Democrat Rod Blagojevich is also being investigated."
NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer and retired Gen. Michael P. DeLong falsely suggested that the seven retired generals who have recently advocated for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation "have a problem with his personality" but "can't say that he's incompetent." In fact, at least two of the generals have specifically cited incompetence as a reason Rumsfeld should resign or be fired.
While reporting on polling that places President Bush's approval ratings at an all-time low, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell and MSNBC's David Shuster both falsely suggested that President Clinton's job approval ratings sank during the Monica Lewinsky controversy and his subsequent impeachment. In fact, Clinton's job approval ratings remained high throughout the period of the Lewinsky controversy and reached their highest level ever at the time of his impeachment by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Ignoring Bush administration officials' willingness to discuss the CIA leak investigation when it serves their purpose, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell falsely claimed that "[e]ven days after the president became publicly entangled in the CIA leak case, his long-standing, no-comment policy has held."
Just days after the Democratic Party released a national security plan, CNN host Wolf Blitzer and NBC Today host Matt Lauer simply ignored the release and allowed -- and even encouraged -- Republican guests to suggest the Democrats have no "agenda." This continues patterns by CNN and Today of largely ignoring the Democrats' security plan, despite repeatedly reporting or commenting on the Democratic Party's purported lack of clear alternatives to the Republicans.
Chris Matthews falsely claimed that Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) -- "quite sacrificially" -- engineered a redistricting in Texas that reduced his home district to "only about a 55 percent Republican district now," in order to raise GOP percentages in other districts and strengthen the Republican majority in Congress. In fact, the congressional district that DeLay represents is 65.9 percent Republican following DeLay's redistricting plan.
On NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert did not challenge Sen. John McCain's assertion that the Bush administration's false prewar claims about Iraq represented a "colossal intelligence failure" and that "[e]very intelligence agency in the world believed that he [former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein] had weapons of mass destruction." In fact, many of the Bush administration's most dramatic prewar claims -- about Iraq's supposed nuclear program, its alleged ties to Al Qaeda, and its willingness to attack the United States -- had been questioned by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Following up on Media Matters' in-depth study showing that Republican and conservative guests outnumbered Democratic and progressive guests on ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, and NBC's Meet the Press over a nine-year period, an examination of the guest lists for those programs during the first three months of 2006 showed that Republican and conservative dominance continued unabated.
NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer failed to challenge Republican strategist Mary Matalin's assertion that "[w]e have taken out the Al Qaeda network. We've decimated it." Matalin's claim was misleading at best; in fact, news reports indicate that the Al Qaeda network has continued to operate.
During a roundtable discussion on NBC's Meet the Press, New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller uncritically repeated Bush administration assertions that the administration was not attempting to blame the media for negative public opinion about the Iraq war. In fact, administration officials have repeatedly suggested that the media have painted a distorted and disproportionately negative picture of Iraq.
Since March 23, each of the three major network nightly newscasts have uncritically reported administration statements expressing outrage over the prosecution and possible execution of an Afghan man for converting to Christianity, in defiance of Islamic law. But none of the nightly newscasts noted that when the Afghan constitution was ratified in 2004, President Bush hailed it for "lay[ing] the foundation for democratic institutions," despite a provision in the constitution asserting the supremacy of Islamic law.
During a March 21 press conference, the White House press corps failed to challenge President Bush after he offered a misleading and evasive answer about his reasons for invading Iraq in response to a question asked by Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas.
On NBC's Today, Katie Couric introduced a report on Wal-Mart's expansion of its retail business in China by telling viewers: "It's a company that is as American as mom and apple pie."
NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell uncritically reported President Bush's misleading response to an audience question at the City Club of Cleveland on March 20 where Bush was giving a speech. O'Donnell aired Bush's statement -- "I was very careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America" -- but failed to note that Bush was answering a question he had not been asked. The audience member to whom Bush was responding never accused Bush of "say[ing] that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America."
In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. told Tim Russert that Operation Swarmer -- a heavily publicized U.S.-Iraqi military campaign -- "got a little bit more hype than it really deserved because of the use of the helicopters to get the Iraqi and the coalition forces there," adding, "It might have looked a little more formidable than it actually was." But neither he nor Russert informed viewers about the apparent role of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army in creating that "hype."