In a discussion with Newt Gingrich on Fox News, Sean Hannity mischaracterized Sen. Barack Obama's comments about taking unilateral action against terrorism targets in Pakistan, if necessary, suggesting that Obama advocated "invading Pakistan." Rather, in an August 2007 speech, Obama said: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets [in Pakistan] and President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Further, just two days earlier on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Gingrich himself spoke in favor of taking action against terrorists in Pakistan.
Responding to Barack Obama's noting, in addressing controversial statements made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that his white grandmother had "uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes," Newt Gingrich said on Fox News: To reduce a 20-year relationship with a public figure to his grandmother is just wrong. It's emotionally powerful, but it's just wrong." Separately, Fox News' Brit Hume said of Obama's statement: "[S]ome may find it deceptive, but ... it was pretty clever."
Newt Gingrich and Fred Barnes both falsely suggested that the media have ignored allegations that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid improperly reported a land deal and have focused exclusively on Republican scandals. In fact, Time, CNN and Fox News have devoted significantly more coverage to the Reid deal than to a controversial land deal that benefited Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Seeking to minimize the extent to which the House Republican leadership can be blamed for the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, several congressional Republicans, media figures, and conservatives have posited various conspiracy theories and placed blame on just about everyone and everything else -- including liberals, Democrats, the media, "politically correct culture," gays in Congress, and congressional pages.
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On Hannity & Colmes, Newt Gingrich stated that Donald Rumsfeld's likening of Iraq war critics to Nazi appeasers was "not an insulting comment." Gingrich also repeated the misleading claim that the United States "found over 700 chemical warheads and weapons in Iraq, which supposedly had none, according to our friends on the left."
On the heels of several conservative media outlets cropping a quote from Rep. John Dingell to suggest that he had refused to condemn Hezbollah's actions in the ongoing conflict with Israel, Newt Gingrich announced on Fox News Sunday that Dingell had said "there's no moral difference" between Hezbollah and Israel.
Numerous conservative pundits offered highly optimistic predictions about the U.S. invasion of Iraq regarding the conflict's duration, difficulty, and human and financial costs -- nearly all of which have proven to be wrong. But rather than hold these "Pollyanna pundits" accountable for their past misjudgments, the media have again provided a platform for their views about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. And echoing their rhetoric on Iraq, these conservative pundits have advocated further military action by the United States and its allies.
On NBC's Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich declared that "we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the Third World War." As evidence of "World War III," Gingrich cited -- among other events -- two purported terror plots that involved alleged conspirators who intended to attack U.S. targets but had no apparent means to do so.
Many of the same media conservatives who continually attacked The New York Times for publishing details of the Treasury Department's bank-tracking program have remained silent about the New York Daily News' decision to report that FBI officials thwarted an alleged terrorist plot in New York City, despite apparent objections from intelligence and law enforcement officials that the disclosure impeded further arrests.
In response to the reports describing a Treasury Department program designed to monitor international financial transactions for terrorist activity, President Bush and other White House officials lashed out at the media -- and The New York Times in particular -- for purportedly undermining the government's antiterrorism efforts. But as with the disclosure of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance and domestic call-tracking programs, the administration and its supporters in the media have relied on numerous false and misleading claims to support their arguments.