Advancing a line put forth by the administration, several conservative media figures have argued that the revelation of President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program has effectively rendered it worthless because its existence and practices have been disclosed to terrorist groups. However, Media Matters for America has previously noted the absurdity of this claim.
A Media Matters review found that, following the revelation of the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program, recent television news coverage has quoted or replayed President Bush's 2004 denial of such a program far less than President Clinton's denial of a relationship with Monica Lewinsky during a comparable period in 1998 following his acknowledgment of such a relationship.
Chris Matthews described a recent flap between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain as "the new kid on the block versus Mr. Straight Talk," a reference to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign slogan, Straight Talk America, and his Straight Talk Express campaign bus. Matthews then proceeded to describe what he called "the big fight in Washington."
Appearing on The Chris Matthews Show, New York Times columnist David Brooks -- in response to a question from Matthews about "Which party has more nuts by your counts?" -- answered, "Objectively, the Democratic Party."
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Most major news outlets did not report the dispute over Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter's refusal to swear in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the committee's hearing on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
Stating on Meet the Press that Americans support President Bush's domestic spying program, Tim Russert selectively cited data from an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll to prove his point. Russert cited a question about whether people support Bush's "approach" to the domestic spying program, while ignoring poll questions regarding privacy concerns raised by the program and whether warrants should have been obtained before wiretapping.
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NBC's Katie Couric falsely claimed that during most of the State of the Union address, "Democrats sat on their hands" and "really applauded" only when President Bush mentioned the failure of his Social Security plan.
Offering little evidence, while ignoring mounting evidence of dissent within the Bush administration as well as its contradictory attempts to explain President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program, Time's Michael Duffy and Mike Allen both claimed that, in Duffy's words, Bush has "put ... to bed" the controversy.
On Meet the Press, Tim Russert, along with a roundtable of reporters, speculated over the implications of a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that rated potential presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. However, not one reporter in the roundtable mentioned that the poll included Rice, much less that the difference between Rice's numbers and Clinton's fell within the margin of error.
In a January 23 speech defending his warrantless domestic surveillance program, President Bush claimed that Congress' 2001 authorization of force, upheld by the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, establishes his authority to conduct the program. But numerous legal authorities have objected to Bush's claim that the high court affirmed his authority to wiretap U.S. residents without a warrant. Despite these objections, several news outlets repeated Bush's claim without challenge.
NBC's Andrea Mitchell claimed that recent polls on President Bush's authorization of warrantless wiretapping showed "little public outcry over the program, especially when [the administration] tell[s] people it is limited only to those who talk to Al Qaeda." What Mitchell did not note is that the administration's characterization of the program understates its scope. Moreover, recent polling shows that support for the program is at best split.
One day after NBC's Katie Couric chided Howard Dean for saying that Democratic lawmakers received no campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff, Matt Lauer said that "technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct." In fact, Dean was correct and Couric was wrong.