On NBC's Today, Philadelphia-based radio host Michael Smerconish falsely claimed that "no one died at Abu Ghraib" -- a detention facility operated by U.S. forces in Iraq -- and that the abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel at Abu Ghraib was merely "a lot of ridiculous actions ... carried out by nine knuckleheads." Additionally, in a report that aired repeatedly on CNN, senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre falsely reported that "[n]one of the abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib died." In fact, detainee Manadel al-Jamadi reportedly died at Abu Ghraib during an interrogation by CIA personnel on November 4, 2003. The Pentagon has labeled al-Jamadi's death a "homicide," indicating that it resulted from the treatment he received at the prison -- not from natural causes.
Following the publication of a New York Times article on the purported state of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former President Bill Clinton's marriage, numerous news outlets ran reports and aired discussions on the story. The 2,000-word article by Times reporter Patrick Healy was based on the accounts of "some 50 people," "many" of whom "were granted anonymity to discuss a relationship for which the Clintons have long sought a zone of privacy."
In reporting on new White House press secretary Tony Snow's first televised press briefing, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Ed Henry praised Snow's "candor," "bluntness," and "honesty" while overlooking Snow's false or, at best, misleading answers to questions from reporters at the briefing.
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 airing a clip of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld being questioned by an audience member at an event in Atlanta about his prewar statements regarding Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, CNN's Wolf Blitzer went on to conduct "some quick fact-checking," noting Rumsfeld's comment on March 30, 2003: "We know where they [WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Nonetheless, Blitzer then referred to the audience member's criticism as "anti-Rumsfeld ranting."
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Fox News chief White House correspondent Carl Cameron and former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke both obscured the role the White House played in the display of the "Mission Accomplished" banner that appeared behind Bush on May 1, 2003, when he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq. Cameron referred to the banner as a "Navy banner," while Clarke claimed "it's still a matter of debate" who printed and put up the banner, despite a 2004 report that a White House spokesperson confirmed that White House staff had the banner made.
CNN's Dana Bash falsely claimed that a controversial provision inserted into an emergency spending bill by Mississippi Republican Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran would fund a rail line that Lott and Cochran "want to be built." In fact, the $700 million appropriation would fund the senators' efforts to move the existing CSX freight line despite the fact that, following Hurricane Katrina, CSX rebuilt the line at a cost of between $250 million and $300 million.
In reporting on President Bush's announcement that he would suspend fuel deposits into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to reduce rising gasoline prices, numerous news outlets failed to note that Bush had previously criticized both the Clinton administration and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for proposing to use the reserve to lower prices.
On CNN's The Situation Room, "conservative activist" Thomas D. Kuiper acknowledged that he "can't verify" that the quotes contained in his book of quotations he attributes to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are "100 percent true." Kuiper also acknowledged "a legitimate criticism that the book at times comes off as almost mean-spirited."
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On CNN's The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer discussed the growing calls for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation with CNN political analysts William Bennett and Donna Brazile. But Blitzer failed to ask Bennett about his remark earlier in the day that New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau and Washington Post staff writer Dana Priest -- who won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting on Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program and the CIA's use of secret interrogation sites -- should be jailed. "I don't think what they did was worthy of an award," Bennett said on his radio show. "I think what they did was worthy of jail."
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."
In reporting on the scandals and issues confronting the Bush administration, various media outlets have imputed to President Bush and members of his administration comments or statements they have not actually made. These phony statements often arise as a result of reporters misinterpreting an administration official's statement or inaccurately attributing a position or statement to an administration official.
CNN's David Ensor adamantly defended President Bush against allegations that Bush may have been aware of contradictory evidence at the time of his May 29, 2003, statement that the United States had discovered biological weapons labs in Iraq, stating that the information could not feasibly have made it to the president's desk in time. But Ensor's claim that Bush could not have seen the conflicting intelligence is one that not even the White House has made in responding to questions about the issue.
CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported that White House press secretary Scott McClellan had said "very clearly" during an April 12 briefing that President Bush did not see a May 27, 2003, intelligence report that contradicted his declaration two days later that the United States had discovered biological weapons labs in Iraq. In fact, McClellan said no such thing during the briefing.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer and two Washington Post articles downplayed and even mischaracterized the loud, sustained chorus of boos that greeted Vice President Dick Cheney as he emerged from the dugout for the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals' home opener against the New York Mets and continued until he left the field.