During an interview with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, CNN Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena failed to question Gonzales about his 2005 confirmation hearing, in which he responded to a question from Sen. Russ Feingold about whether the president could authorize warrantless domestic wiretaps. At the hearing, Gonzales suggested that Feingold had described a "hypothetical situation," despite the fact that the warrantless surveillance program had been in place since 2001 and that President Bush had reauthorized it numerous times.
CNN national security correspondent David Ensor suggested that Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV was disingenuous in his criticism of the Bush administration's apparent failure to fully inform Congress about its warrantless domestic surveillance program because he had been briefed on the program in 2003. But Ensor failed to note that, immediately after being briefed, Rockefeller wrote a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney expressing strong reservations about the program and restrictions on information he needed to evaluate it.
In his first appearance since being hired by CNN, Bill Bennett defended his September 2005 comment that "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down" by falsely asserting that the topic "was a matter that had been under discussion in articles and newspapers and in some discussions of books."
CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield falsely suggested that Media Matters for America "ha[s] been extremely angry" at Senate Democrats for being unwilling to pursue a filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. In fact, Media Matters is "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media" and has not taken a position on whether Alito should be confirmed or on whether senators should filibuster his nomination.
Numerous media outlets have cited Gen. Michael V. Hayden's defense of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program while ignoring a Justice Department statement from June 2002 that contradicted Hayden's claims. Now that the statement has surfaced, will those media outlets now report the facts undermining Hayden's defense?
CNN's David Ensor reported that the upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program are being held to determine "whether the law should be changed to require court approval of all domestic surveillance." In fact, the purpose of the hearings, as described by the committee chairman, is to determine whether the president had the constitutional authority to ignore the law.
Numerous media outlets repeated without challenge White House senior adviser Karl Rove's defense of President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program, in which Rove falsely claimed that "some important Democrats clearly disagree" with the proposition that "if Al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why." In fact, no leading Democrat has said that it is not in our interest to monitor Al Qaeda's communications.
Media figures have argued that the scandal surrounding former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is good news for Sen. John McCain because, unlike other members of Congress, he is untainted by the scandal and could benefit politically from being cast as a reformer. But these media figures failed to note that, like many Democrats who they have suggested are tainted, McCain received campaign money from Abramoff's clients, as reported by the Associated Press and the Center for Responsive Politics. *
On CNN's The Situation Room, conservative columnist Frank J. Gaffney Jr. made the dubious claim that by attempting to obtain warrants for electronic surveillance of U.S. persons, as required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), President Bush would have "tipp[ed] off our enemies" to the fact the U.S. government was spying on them.
During CNN's live coverage of Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s hearing, Wolf Blitzer once again accused the Democrats -- but not Republicans -- of prejudging the nomination.
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield repeated a false claim by former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie that John Roberts "never said" that Roe v. Wade was "settled law" during his Supreme Court nomination hearings. Blitzer failed to challenge or correct this false statement.
CNN's Jeffrey Toobin corrected a previous misstatement that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. was in the majority of the Doe v. Groody decision, a 2003 case involving the physical and visual search of a 10-year-old girl. In fact, Alito dissented in the case, while the majority ruled that the search went beyond the scope of the warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
In an interview with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) during CNN's live coverage of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearing, host Wolf Blitzer asked Kennedy: "It sounded, based on your opening statement, as if you have already made up your mind. You are going to oppose this nominee. Is that right?" Yet during a subsequent interview with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Blitzer never questioned whether Frist had already decided how he was going to vote on the Alito nomination even though Frist repeatedly praised Alito.
On CNN, anchor Miles O'Brien suggested that a Senate filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. would not be "dignified"; anchor Wolf Blitzer wondered if Alito will "get the fair vote the president has been asking for."
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Ed Henry falsely claimed that Sen. Byron Dorgan accepted and "had to give back" campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff and his wife; in fact, there is no record Dorgan ever received contributions from either of them.