On Today, Kelly O'Donnell uncritically reported President Bush's claim that the formation of a new government in Iraq is a "fundamental change." Similarly, the Associated Press' Nedra Pickler noted that Bush "embraced the new leadership in Iraq as a turning point in the war." In fact, the Bush administration has touted several purportedly pivotal moments since the beginning of the Iraqi occupation, suggesting each time that the situation in Iraq was about to improve.
On the May 21 Chris Matthews Show, Matthews, Time columnist Joe Klein, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, and BBC Washington correspondent Katty Kay discussed former Vice President Al Gore's possible presidential aspirations, with Matthews commending Parker for her description of Gore in a February column, in which she said that Gore is "one slice short of a loaf," and Klein saying that Gore "looked like a madman" delivering a speech in 2002.
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On Meet the Press, Tim Russert interviewed two Republican members of Congress -- Rep. Charlie Norwood and Sen. Lindsey Graham -- but no Democrats, allowing Norwood to level unchallenged attacks on Democrats.
In reporting on the formation of the Iraqi cabinet, ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's The Early Show, and NBC's Today each failed to note that three of most critical positions in the new government -- the heads of the defense, national security, and interior ministries -- remain vacant.
Reports by both ABC's World News Tonight and NBC's Nightly News on the Senate hearing for Gen. Michael Hayden's nomination to be CIA director aired Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) comment that he had "a difficult time with [Hayden's] credibility." But neither network mentioned the reasons cited by Wyden to explain his concern, including Hayden's misleading statement to Congress in 2002 that the National Security Agency did not have the authority to electronically eavesdrop on residents without a warrant -- even as the NSA was reportedly conducting such surveillance.
In an interview with White House press secretary Tony Snow, NBC's Today co-host Katie Couric allowed Snow's misleading claims -- as well as his use of the racially charged term "tar baby" in his first live televised press briefing -- to go unchallenged.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Wall Street Journal national political editor John Harwood said of presumptive presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): "I tell you what, when you have taken on a president of your party on taxes, torture, and campaign finance reform, your street cred as a maverick is pretty solid." Harwood, however, did not explain how, or if, his assessment of McCain was affected by McCain's February vote to extend President Bush's tax cuts, which McCain had long opposed.
Media Matters documents the misleading or false claims advanced by media figures and Bush administration supporters in the wake of news that the National Security Agency had since 2001 been secretly collecting records of phone calls made by millions of Americans.
NBC's Lisa Myers and CNN's David Ensor both asserted that data collected by the National Security Agency through a just-exposed program include only "phone calls made and received, but not customers' names and addresses." But they failed to inform viewers about a key point made by USA Today, which broke the story -- that the NSA can easily obtain this information through other databases.
In an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell failed to challenge Cheney's misleading claims on prewar Iraq intelligence and the purported progress being made toward the establishment of a stable Iraqi state. O'Donnell also allowed Cheney to claim that 2005 was a "turning point" for Iraq without noting that the Bush administration has touted various "turning points" in the war for more than two years.
Recent media coverage of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has focused largely on his presumptive bid for the 2008 Republican nomination for president. Certain media outlets, however, are seemingly reluctant to look past Giuliani's reputation as "America's mayor" and note that Giuliani's career as a political figure -- both before and after the 9-11 attacks -- has been marked by numerous controversies and incidents that, at the time, were considered politically damaging.
After a speech by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on May 4, retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern questioned Rumsfeld over his previous claims about Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld gave misleading answers, which McGovern pointed out during the exchange. But in their coverage, NBC, CBS, and Fox News deceptively edited the exchange, excluding McGovern's rebuttals of Rumsfeld's claims without noting that they had done so.
Following the White House Correspondents' dinner, numerous news outlets trumpeted President Bush's performance at the event, but entirely ignored the scathing routine delivered by the night's featured entertainer, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert. In his act, Colbert mocked the White House's current woes, slammed a wide range of Bush administration policies, and lampooned the mainstream media.
Both the CBS Evening News and NBC's Nightly News reported that President Bush endorsed a proposal by Senate Republicans to grant the executive branch authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars -- a power that currently resides with Congress. CBS and NBC failed to note, however, that this move by Bush represents a significant shift for the White House, which opposed, as recently as February, increasing efficiency standards for passenger cars.