Reports have claimed that former CIA official John Brennan "withdrew from consideration" as President-elect Barack Obama's choice for CIA director because of criticism from "liberal groups" that "his tenure coincided with controversial Bush administration programs" -- or, in the words of Fox News' Jim Angle, "the left ... torpedoed" Brennan "because he was part of the war on terror over the last decade." But these outlets did not mention that Brennan was not simply at the CIA at the same time as the interrogation and rendition policies were instituted or carried out but, in fact, has publicly supported them.
On Special Report, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer echoed other conservatives in claiming that the Community Reinvestment Act and efforts to expand affordable housing are at least in part to blame for the home foreclosure crisis. But as experts have noted, the CRA does not govern the vast majority of subprime lenders.
During an interview with President Bush that aired on Fox News' Special Report, Bret Baier asked Bush, "Do you believe that there hasn't been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in more than seven years because of the policies your administration has implemented?" The question tracked a talking point reportedly contained in a "two-page memo" that the Los Angeles Times reported "presents the Bush record as an unalloyed success" and "mentions none of the episodes that detractors say have marred his presidency."
On Special Report, Mara Liasson said of President Bush's handling of the Iraq war, "I think that history will judge him pretty kindly," but made no mention of the ongoing debate over whether the United States should have initiated the war in the first place or whether it has been worth the cost in lives, money, and diverted attention and resources. She also described Bush as "handing over a war that's pretty manageable, if not almost won, to his successor." Liasson's words closely tracked Bush's own recent descriptions of progress in Iraq, as he has repeatedly discussed the legacy of his presidency.
Fox News hosts, reporters, and contributors have repeatedly provided or echoed the claims of only opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers the right to form or join a union if a majority of workers sign a card stating they want to unionize. Absent from numerous reports and discussions on Fox News is the argument made by proponents of EFCA that under the current system, employers often fire union supporters and pressure employees to vote against unionizing.
In an article headlined "Obama skips church, heads to gym," Politico reported, "On the three Sundays since his election, Obama has instead used his free time to get in workouts at a Chicago gym," and also asserted, "Both President-elect George W. Bush and President-elect Bill Clinton managed to attend church in the weeks after they were elected." However, Politico ignored numerous reports that Bush attended church infrequently over the past eight years and did not belong to a Washington congregation. Politico's report was echoed by other media, including Fox News and the syndicated radio show The War Room with Quinn & Rose.
Discussing the recount in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman, Fox News' Bret Baier asserted that the Franken campaign has been "dogged" in challenging questionable ballots and then aired a photograph of a ballot challenged by Franken, stating: "Franken is challenging this ... ballot, although the bubble beside Coleman's name appears to be clearly marked." However, Baier did not note or display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged which "appear to be clearly marked" for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.
Discussing reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, several media figures have responded with smears, including speculation that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, references to Clinton as Obama's "enem[y]," and speculation that Obama is considering the nomination because if Clinton remains in the Senate, she poses a threat of challenging him for the Democratic nomination in 2012 and can "mak[e] trouble" for him in the Senate.
The Wall Street Journal, Sean Hannity, and Brit Hume advanced rumors that 32 absentee ballots in Minnesota's Senate election were left in a car and mishandled, suggesting that election officials may have tampered with votes in an effort to benefit Al Franken. The claims followed similar allegations by Coleman campaign lawyer Fritz Knaak. However, none of the three mentioned that Knaak reportedly said later, "It does not appear that there was any ballot-tampering, and that was our concern." Further, election officials have repeatedly said the ballots were sealed and held in a secure location until they were counted.
Reading from a Los Angeles Times article, Fox News' Brit Hume stated regarding a 2003 going-away party for then-University of Chicago history professor Rashid Khalidi attended by Sen. Barack Obama: "A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Senator Barack Obama. Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife and conversations that had challenged his thinking." But Hume did not note that the Times article also reported that "Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground."
Special Report host Brit Hume, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, and New York Post writer Geoff Earle uncritically repeated a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz that French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Sen. Barack Obama's position on Iran "utterly immature" and "formulations empty of all content" without noting that the French Embassy issued a statement calling the Haaretz report about Sarkozy's comments "groundless."
On Special Report, James Rosen stated of Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher, "Even [Sen. Barack] Obama himself has gone to work on this working stiff," and aired a cropped quote of Obama saying, "How many plumbers you know making a quarter-million dollars a year?" In fact, the context of that remark makes clear that Obama was actually criticizing Sen. John McCain, not Wurzelbacher.
Fox News host Brit Hume and correspondent Bret Baier suggested that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were heavily involved in the subprime mortgage market "years ago," and falsely suggested that Rep. Barney Frank has opposed stricter regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Neither Hume nor Baier noted that Fannie and Freddie were not active in the subprime market in 2003, or that Frank has supported and authored bills to strengthen oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
On Special Report, Brit Hume said, "A $100,000 grant that then-Illinois state Senator Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a one-time campaign volunteer is under investigation by the Illinois attorney general." But Hume did not note that a spokesperson for Attorney General Lisa Madigan said "Obama's actions in awarding the money are not a focus of the investigation," according to the Chicago Sun-Times article Hume cited in his report.
While reporting on Michelle Obama's appearance at a women's roundtable in Charlotte, North Carolina, Brit Hume said, "While not directly mentioning Sarah Palin by name, Obama said, quote, 'People shouldn't make a decision this time based on, "I like that guy," or, "She's cute." ' " However, Hume did not note that Obama said "I'm talking about me" following her comment.