During a discussion of Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, CNN's Howard Kurtz asked if it was "plausible" that CBS made Rather "a scapegoat to placate the Bush administration" over the controversial 60 Minutes II report about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, as Rather alleges. Kurtz's guests -- conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and former CBS Evening News executive producer Rome Hartman -- disputed Rather's assertion. But neither Kurtz nor his guests mentioned two other instances in which CBS allegedly acted to placate the White House in 2004.
In a New York Daily News column, Michael Goodwin claimed that a Democratic amendment that "condemn[ed] all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization" was "almost identical" to an alternative Republican amendment "except that [the Democratic amendment] did not mention MoveOn." Though the Democratic amendment did not refer to MoveOn.org by name, it did specifically criticize MoveOn's ad about Gen. David Petraeus.
A Washington Times article reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner was demanding that House Democrats take up a nonbinding resolution condemning MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad, but the Times did not note that Boehner declared earlier this year that a "nonbinding resolution is nothing more than political theater."
CNN's Brianna Keilar reported, "Today the Senate voted to stop debate on a bill that would have given Washington, D.C., residents their first ever representative in the U.S. House." But Keilar did not note that it was 41 Republicans and one Democrat who voted to block the bill, denying proponents the 60-vote supermajority needed to end their filibuster.
A New York Times article on President Bush's decision to nominate Michael B. Mukasey for attorney general reported that Sen. Charles Schumer "issued a statement on Sunday evening praising Mr. Mukasey," which it called "a suggestion that Democrats, who are already challenging Mr. Bush over the war in Iraq, have little appetite for another big fight." In fact, Schumer had previously named Mukasey as one of three potential attorney general nominees whose selection would likely be approved by a Democratic-controlled Senate, and Senate Democrats made clear that they were prepared to block confirmation of another potential nominee, Theodore Olson.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "Three weeks ago, you had Jim Clyburn of the Congressional Black Caucus saying, 'You know, if this report is good, it presents problems for us,' meaning the Democrat [sic] Party." In fact, Clyburn did not say that good news from Iraq is bad news for Democrats in electoral terms, but rather that a recommendation from Gen. David Petraeus against withdrawal would impede Democrats' efforts to garner support in Congress for legislation to begin withdrawal. And while Limbaugh identified Clyburn merely as "of the Congressional Black Caucus," Clyburn is also House majority whip, the third-highest position in the House.
Glenn Beck -- apparently referring to Democratic donor William Paw -- falsely stated that Paw, who Beck said had an income of $46,000, sent Clinton "I think $200,000 in donations." In fact, according to the Federal Election Commission's donor database, William Paw himself donated $4,200 to Hillary Clinton's campaign and $11,800 to all Democratic candidates beginning in October 2005, while, according to the Los Angeles Times, the seven members of the Paw family "gave $213,000, including $55,000 to Clinton and $14,000 to candidates for state-level offices in New York." Beck's guest, American Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., stated that Norman Hsu, a businessman and Clinton "bundler," is one of several "shadowy Asian figures" who have been involved with campaign finance violations associated with the Clintons.
An article in the latest issue of Newsweek reported on Fred Thompson's leadership of a 1997 investigation into campaign finance irregularities, asserting that "Thompson wound up losing control of the investigation, and the support of his own party," and that "Thompson has said he wanted to make sure the inquiry was fair, and not just a Republican hunting party that would be viewed with suspicion by the public." But Thompson reportedly shut down the investigation before Democrats were able to introduce evidence linking Republican lawmakers to a fundraising group that was found to have skirted campaign finance laws.
CNN's Jessica Yellin uncritically reported Sen. Mitch McConnell's claim that a recently released report on the Iraq war by the Government Accountability Office was "not equal" in significance to an upcoming report from the Bush administration because the administration's report "is written into law." In fact, the GAO report is required by the same law as the president's report.
A Washington Post editorial arguing for legally mandated full disclosure of campaign donation "bundlers" left out key facts about the two cases that it cited, Geoffrey Fieger and Norman Hsu. The editorial did not note that prosecutors have reportedly confirmed that John Edwards' campaign was unaware of alleged illegal contributions made by Fieger and absolved the campaign of any wrongdoing; similarly, the editorial failed to note that the Wall Street Journal article it cited offered no evidence implicating Hillary Clinton with regard to Hsu.
The Washington Times claimed that Norman Hsu "donated more than $1 million to senior Democrats, including the presidential campaigns of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois." The article later claimed, providing no evidence, that "[s]ome of Mr. Hsu's donations were made through several people" -- which would presumably be a violation of federal law. In fact, Hsu himself has reportedly donated $255,000 to federal candidates since 2003," and has acted as a "bundler," soliciting friends and associates to make contributions to certain candidates with their own money, which, when added to Hsu's own donations, total more than $1 million. Bundling itself is not illegal, but as The New York Times noted, it is "illegal for a bundler to reimburse a contributor."
The Washington Post twice reported that Republicans need a "net gain" of just one seat in the 2008 elections to recapture control of the Senate. However, a "net gain" of one seat for Republicans would result in a 50-50 split. For the Post's assertion to be correct, a senator currently caucusing with the Democrats would have to defect or the GOP would have to keep the White House, neither of which was noted by the Post.
Discussing replacements for outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Larry Sabato asserted that if President Bush nominates Michael Chertoff, "[u]ndoubtedly, the Democrats are going to revisit Katrina. They're going to use the nomination hearings ... to talk about something that happened two years ago in a completely different realm, but that's politics." Similarly, Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez, apparently referring to a potential Chertoff nomination, stated that the "Democrats have already announced this is going to be another piece of political theater," adding that they "want to rehash Katrina, different allegations, start more investigations."
CNN's Kelli Arena reported that "there have been some allegations that certain people were hired as career prosecutors because of their political affiliation." In fact, former Justice Department White House liaison Monica Goodling testified before Congress that she had repeatedly considered political affiliation when she made hiring decisions about assistant U.S. attorneys.
A New York Times article, which reported on Fred Thompson's leadership of a 1997 Governmental Affairs Committee investigation into campaign finance irregularities, uncritically quoted Thompson saying of the hearings, "[T]here was no way that I was going to shield any obvious problems that our side had." However, according to a New York Times article published at the time, Republicans shut down the hearings before Democrats were able to introduce evidence linking Republican lawmakers to Triad Management, a fundraising group that Democrats claimed had skirted campaign finance laws.