The Washington City Paper quoted from a 2008 "memo" from the "regime" of Washington Times executive editor John Solomon, which stated that as part of "recent updates to TWT style," "We will use illegal immigrants, not illegal aliens." Nonetheless, a Media Matters review indicates that in the past month alone, six Washington Times articles have referred to undocumented immigrants as "illegals" in their headline or subhead, while seven articles have been posted on the paper's website with "illegals" in their headline or subhead.
Numerous media outlets have devoted significant coverage to the earmarks contained in the pending omnibus appropriations bill, even though, according to most estimates, earmarks constitute less than 2 percent of the total spending in the bill. In many instances, the media have allowed attacks by Sen. John McCain and other opponents of the omnibus bill to dominate their coverage of the legislation -- at times themselves characterizing the bill as laden with "pork."
Many media conservatives have recently embraced and promoted the accusation, almost in unison, that President Obama has "lied" or broken promises. In many cases, these accusations are based on distortions of comments he has made or misrepresentations of campaign pledges.
From a March 4 Washington Times editorial:
Driving snow froze the hopes of organizers of "the biggest global warming protest in history" Monday in Washington. With the government on a two-hour snow delay and the speaker of the House unable to attend because her flight was grounded by inclement weather, shivering protestors gathered on the west front of the Capitol, the latest victims of a climatological phenomenon known by the scientific community as the Gore Effect.
The Gore Effect was first noticed during a January 2004 global warming rally in New York City, held during one of the coldest days in the city's history. Since then, evidence has mounted of a correlation between global warming activism and severely cold weather.
A year ago a congressional media briefing on the Bingaman/Specter Climate Bill was cancelled due to a cold snap. In October 2008 London saw the first snow since 1922 while the House of Commons debated the Climate Change Bill. That same month Al Gore's appearance at Harvard University coincided with low temperatures that challenged 125-year records. Tellingly, the average global temperature for each of the 366 days in 2008 was below the average for Jan. 24, 2006, the date Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was released at the Sundance Film Festival.
Critics claim the Gore Effect is mere coincidence, though one could also argue that coincidence is also the basis for the anthropogenic theory of climate change. Alternative theories, e.g., citing the influence of sun spot activity, have gained increasing credence as scientists have noted global warming in recent years on other planets, which presumably have been human-free. Significant data issues have also arisen, such as the recent discovery of a chunk of Arctic sea ice the size of California that satellites had missed (but which in all probability had been known to polar bears).
The Washington Times uncritically reported Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's statement that the omnibus bill is part of an ongoing "spending binge," without noting that according to a study by independent budget watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, McConnell himself added 36 earmarks to the bill totaling about $51.2 million.
The Washington Times' Donald Lambro wrote, "Nine thousand pork barrel earmarks were buried in the $410 billion omnibus budget that passed the House last week," adding that "President Obama told Congress the day before it passed that he was happy it didn't contain any earmarks, eliciting gales of laughter from the Republican side of the chamber who knew better." In fact, during his February 24 address to Congress, Obama praised the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- not the omnibus legislation -- for not containing any earmarks.
In an editorial, The Washington Times asserted that Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo "are completely unrelated," adding that "there have never been credible allegations of Abu Ghraib-like misconduct at Guantanamo." In fact, a 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report concluded that military "interrogation policies were influenced by the Secretary of Defense's December 2, 2002 approval of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at GTMO," and that those "policies were a direct cause of detainee abuse and influenced interrogation policies at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq."
In discussing Sen. Judd Gregg's decision to withdraw his nomination for commerce secretary, media outlets have echoed myths and falsehoods about the census, advancing conservative misinformation about potential census procedures, the Obama administration, and progressives.
In a recent article, The Washington Times falsely claimed that "[a]t least 61 ex-Guantanamo inmates have returned to terrorism, according to the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency." And CNN.com uncritically reported Rep. Lamar Smith's assertion that "at least 61" former Guantánamo detainees "have returned to terrorist activities against the U.S. and our allies." In fact, according to the Pentagon, the 61-detainee figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having "return[ed] to the fight."
ABCNews.com's The Note and the Politico's Playbook highlighted a Washington Times article titled "Obama has new flag frenzy: White House embraces a backdrop of red, white and blue," with ABC News describing the article as a "Must-Read," and the Politico's Mike Allen writing, "Cable's gonna go cuckoo over this WashTimes A1er." The Times article, however, rehashes several false and baseless claims regarding President Obama's presidential campaign and the American flag and uncritically quotes radio host Michael Savage attacking Obama as a "Neo-Marxist" and "street agitator" to whom "our flag is just a rag."
In his Washington Times column, Tony Blankley wrote: "After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration rolled back very few civil liberties. Aside from establishing a regime for handling captured foreign terrorists, the curtailments largely consisted of common-sense enhancements in the power of intelligence agencies to monitor terrorism suspects and access their personal records." Contrary to Blankley's suggestion, Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was held without charges for more than three years.
A Washington Times editorial falsely claimed that the Congressional Budget Office "estimated that the full cost of [the economic recovery] bill ... will reach $3.2 trillion by 2019." In fact, more than half of that $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do, as CBO director Douglas Elmendorf has noted.
Echoing a GOP press release, The Washington Times asserted of the economic recovery bill: "[A]t [the Congressional Budget Office's] best-case scenario of 3.6 million extra jobs at its peak in 2010, that works out to nearly $220,000 per job." However, this claim disregards tangible benefits of the stimulus package besides job creation, and economists have estimated that given predicted economic growth the actual cost per job is less than $70,000.
A Washington Times editorial -- also published on the paper's website alongside a photo of Adolf Hitler -- compared the "spirit of the partisans of efficiency" who support a provision in the economic recovery bill that would attempt to improve "efficiency" of health-care delivery by providing for electronic medical records to the "Nazi version of efficiency" in which "elderly people with incurable diseases, young children who were critically disabled, and others who were deemed non-productive, were euthanized."
The Washington Times falsely suggested that a 1999 Supreme Court case decided that the Constitution barred the government from using statistical sampling to apportion congressional seats. In fact, the Supreme Court concluded that "the Census Act" -- a congressional statute -- "prohibits the proposed uses of statistical sampling in calculating the population for purposes of apportionment. Because we so conclude, we find it unnecessary to reach the constitutional question presented."