In airing Brit Hume's interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, Fox News omitted Cheney's comments about drinking a beer the day he shot his hunting companion. Fox News even excluded the comments from what it said was the "full interview" posted on its website.
On CNN's Live From..., anchor Kyra Phillips and White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported that, in an interview conducted with Fox News that day, Vice President Dick Cheney accepted full responsibility for accidentally shooting Texas attorney Harry Whittington during a February 11 hunting expedition. However, both Phillips and Malveaux failed to note that Cheney reportedly has been telling friends privately that Whittington was at fault and that Katharine Armstrong, whom he had designated to report the incident to the media, blamed Whittington for the accident.
Media reports regarding when the Kenedy County Sheriff's department actually interviewed Vice President Dick Cheney have varied widely and have sometimes conflicted, a fact that the media themselves have largely ignored.
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Fox News correspondent Molly Henneberg claimed that vice presidents "rarely, if ever" hold press conferences. In fact, Vice President Al Gore conducted at least 15 press conferences while in office; Cheney has so far conducted three.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux falsely reported that Vice President Dick Cheney first learned of the worsened medical condition of Harry Whittington, the Texas attorney whom Cheney accidentally shot during a February 11 hunting expedition, "around 12:30 [p.m.]" on February 14. In fact, a statement released by Cheney's office that day indicated that Cheney had learned of the decline in Whittington's condition early that morning.
An Associated Press article failed to inform readers that White House press secretary Scott McClellan, during his noon press briefing on February 14, withheld from reporters the fact that the man Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot had suffered a heart attack earlier that morning. Moreover, the AP article left the false impression that McClellan had indeed informed reporters of this development.
Reporting on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study that found that the Bush administration has spent $1.6 billion in public relations contracts since 2003, Brit Hume noted the White House claim that its use of "video news releases" is legal. However, Hume did not report that, according to the GAO, this practice violates federal law.
Media reporting on the delay between when Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot one of his hunting partners and the public disclosure of that information have overlooked unanswered questions and inconsistent accounts of how the incident was revealed to the press.
In a report on hunting and politics, CNN's Bruce Morton commented that President Bush "likes to hunt quail with family and friends" and Vice President Dick Cheney "loves to hunt," but -- using language that echoed that of Cheney during the 2004 campaign -- said Sen. John Kerry "spent time posing with guns" during the 2004 presidential campaign, and that "voters probably saw more of him pursuing exotic sports, windsurfing and so on."
On the February 13 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN's Dana Bash uncritically reported the White House's claim that Katharine Armstrong, the host of Vice President Dick Cheney's February 11 hunting party, went to the press to report Cheney's shooting accident only after conferring with Cheney, a claim that directly contradicted what CNN's Suzanne Malveaux had reported earlier. But Bash failed to note the contradiction, which Malveaux had highlighted in a question to White House press secretary Scott McClellan earlier in the day.
On February 13, MSNBC issued a correction of a falsehood previously documented by Media Matters for America, that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave $68,000 in campaign contributions to Sen. Harry Reid.
A New York Times article noted that Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), appearing on the February 12 broadcast of Fox News Sunday, criticized the Bush administration for allegedly authorizing the leaking of classified information. However, it failed to note that -- during the very same segment of the program -- Sen. George Allen (R-VA) also criticized the administration's leaking of classified information.
National Review White House correspondent Byron York wrote that Katharine Armstrong, the host of the hunting expedition during which Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting partner, "said she did not coordinate with the vice president's office before calling" a Corpus Christi, Texas, newspaper. But when a spokeswoman for Cheney responded to the article by saying that, in fact, Armstrong and Cheney discussed specifically how the news would be disclosed to the public, York printed the White House response as an "author's note" at the bottom of the article, without explaining the discrepancy between the two accounts.
During Fox News' coverage of a February 13 White House press conference in which press secretary Scott McClellan was repeatedly asked about the administration's initial failure to inform the public of the incident in which Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot one of his hunting partners, Fox News political analyst Bill Sammon called the issue "a little bit of a tempest in a teapot."
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