On CBS' 60 Minutes, former high-ranking CIA official Tyler Drumheller proved that the Bush administration dismissed clear-cut evidence undermining President Bush's central case for war -- that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. But in the nearly two days since this explosive report aired, the media have almost entirely ignored the story.
Playing a clip of a 2005 speech in which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," Chris Matthews suggested that she was being disingenuous and accused her of "trying to play it safe" on the issue in order to follow the "same poll-tested path" in 2008 as previous Democratic presidential nominees during failed bids for the White House. But Matthews offered no support for his suggestion that Clinton's 2005 statement on abortion was disingenuous, nor did he mention that she used exactly those words in describing her views on abortion in 1999.
Reporting on a meeting between President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao, NBC News' David Gregory said that protesters from the banned religious movement Falun Gong, including one who interrupted Hu's remarks to plead that Bush "stop him [Hu] from killing," provided a "fitting backdrop to a strong message the president sent on human rights in China." But Gregory ignored the fact that, as The Washington Post reported on April 21, "Bush did not mention the persecution of Falun Gong, even with hundreds of its followers outside the White House."
NBC News' Andrea Mitchell falsely suggested that the United States, unlike China, does not import oil from Venezuela and Nigeria. However, according the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States imports significant quantities of oil from Venezuela and Nigeria. In fact, in January 2006, Venezuela was the second-largest source of imported oil to the United States, after Canada.
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.
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.