In recent days, media figures have touted, as an example of his self-styled "straight talk," Sen. John McCain's August 22 criticism of the Bush administration's overly optimistic rhetoric on the war in Iraq. However, these media figures not only overlooked McCain's own optimistic forecasts as the war began in 2003; they also ignored his recent defense of the White House against criticism that President Bush has mischaracterized the situation on the ground there.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly dismissed the results of a Time magazine poll reporting that 53 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, stating that the poll is "not scientific, in my opinion." O'Reilly did not explain his reasons for doubting the scientific merit of the Time survey, although he previously touted an unscientific Internet poll to claim that "50 percent" of University of Oregon students "want to condemn" a student newspaper that published controversial cartoon images of Jesus.
On CBS' Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer let Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (CT) claim that he does "not  play partisan politics" and that his opponent, businessman Ned Lamont, is engaged in a "smear partisan political game." Schieffer made no mention of Lieberman's own claim -- in the wake of arrests made over an alleged terror plot in London -- that Lamont's proposed Iraq exit-strategy "would strengthen [terrorists]" and allow them to "strike again."
CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash twice uncritically reported that Republicans planned to cast a victory by businessman Ned Lamont over incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as evidence that Democrats are "defeatist" and "weak on security" because of Lamont's criticism of Lieberman's support for the Iraq war, but she did not point out in either of her reports that a majority of Americans oppose the Iraq war.
Fox News' Carl Cameron claimed that during the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary election, Sen. Joseph Lieberman "has done very well" in "some of the more blue-collar cities, New Haven [and] Bridgeport." In fact, Lieberman lost in New Haven and won narrowly in Bridgeport.
Discussing incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's defeat in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, CNN host Anderson Cooper and senior political correspondent Candy Crowley both suggested that the election result shows that "moderates" or "centrists" cannot win a Democratic primary race. Their assertions are based on a false premise: that on the issue on which challenger Ned Lamont primarily ran -- the Iraq war -- Lamont's view that the United States should withdraw is one held only by liberals, and that Lieberman's opposition to withdrawal is the "centrist" position.
An article by New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney about Ned Lamont's victory over incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in the Connecticut primary stated that Democrats are "struggling to arrive at a unified position about the [Iraq] war," contradicting an article Nagourney wrote just eight days earlier, in which he reported that "most of the Democratic leadership had unified around a position" on the war.
During August 8 coverage of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary election, Fox News host Gregg Jarrett offered a stream of Republican talking points, suggesting that a win by Ned Lamont would be a sign of Democrats "becom[ing] the sort-of modern-day George McGovern, who got really creamed politically for his anti-war stance." Jarrett's rhetoric was accompanied by a series of onscreen graphics that suggested a Lamont victory would be "bad news for democracy in [the] Mideast," and would show that the Democratic Party has "forgotten the lessons of 9/11" and is "soft on terror."
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The Washington Post has routinely touted terrorism and other national security issues as political advantages for Republicans, even though the Post's own polls show that a plurality of Americans trust Democrats over Republicans to handle the "campaign against terrorism" and "the situation in Iraq."
A U.S. News & World Report article used cherry-picked and out-of-context polling results to misleadingly suggest that Democrats face dire political consequences if they disagree with Republicans on national security issues. The article conflated public opinion of the parties' handling of two separate issues, Iraq and terrorism. Further, the article invoked Democratic losses in 2002 and 2004 that "were attributed largely to the GOP advantage on national security" without noting that the advantage the GOP held on national security in those elections has greatly dwindled, and in some cases vanished altogether.
On MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter said that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is not "the frontrunner" because she has "more baggage than Paris Hilton in the Riviera." Alter instead touted two potential Republican candidates -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain.
On Fox News' The Beltway Boys, Morton M. Kondracke falsely claimed that former President Bill Clinton "has not said" whether he will support challenger Ned Lamont if he defeats Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary. In fact, Clinton's spokesman told the New York Daily News that Clinton "will support the candidate that wins the Democratic primary."
A June 20 Washington Post article reported that a Republican Party fundraiser featuring a speech by President Bush the day before had raised $27 million to be given to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But recently filed campaign finance reports show that by the end of June, the committees could not have possibly received as much as the Post had claimed they raised at the event. Will the Post investigate the discrepancy?