On CBN's The 700 Club, Pat Robertson falsely claimed that Jamie Gorelick, while serving in the Clinton administration, said the president has "absolute authority to conduct domestic wiretaps in war against enemy agents." On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs failed to challenge a similar claim.
Fox News correspondent Major Garrett stated that "neither [former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay nor his aides have been charged" in the investigation surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In fact, while none of DeLay's current aides has been charged, DeLay's former communications director has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery and fraud, and another former DeLay aide has reportedly been implicated.
Both Peggy Noonan and Newt Gingrich claimed that the Abramoff scandal is worse for Republicans because Democrats are expected to be corrupt.
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The New York Times reported that President Bush and other Republican lawmakers were moving to return or donate to charity campaign contributions by lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the wake of his plea agreement. However, the Times omitted any reference to the more than $100,000 Abramoff reportedly raised in his capacity as a Bush-Cheney campaign "Pioneer," which the Republican National Committee, apparently speaking for the Bush campaign, said the campaign has no plans to donate or return.
Both the AP and Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume reported on a White House event in which U.S. attorneys appeared and spoke in favor of President Bush's efforts to renew controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act. However, both media outlets omitted the fact that all of the U.S. attorneys participating are Bush appointees.
In reporting on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s refusal to recuse himself in two cases involving companies in which he owned stock, The New York Times reported without challenge Alito's assertion that his pledge to recuse himself had been limited to a certain period of time after his confirmation. In fact, when Alito pledged under oath that he would recuse himself from cases involving certain companies, he did not qualify the pledge in any way or even suggest that it was time-limited.
Casting the Jack Abramoff scandal as bipartisan, the media have conflated two categories of conduct: 1) the legal receipt of campaign contributions; and 2) other possible illegal conduct including the receipt of campaign contributions in exchange for something.
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.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews minimized the Jack Abramoff scandal, saying: "It's not going to be part of a larger story of Washington this year, I think."
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CNN reported the release of a 1985 memorandum in which Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. advocated overturning Roe v. Wade; however, the document was the same as a June 3, 1985, memo released by the archives more than three weeks ago. While CNN covered this memo extensively during the first three hours after the story broke, it waited more than four and a half hours to cover a newly released 1984 document in which Alito defended the government's power to order warrantless domestic wiretaps.
In a December 15 Washington Post article, Jonathan Weisman wrote that Bush's recent statement that he believes Tom DeLay is innocent was an "apparent inconsistency," with how the White House has "deflected questions" about the CIA leak investigation "by saying they could not comment on ongoing investigations." Similarly, Fox News' Major Garrett purported to identify the "difference" in how the White House handled questions about the DeLay and Plame investigations. In fact, in both cases the administration made a premature statement presuming that a White House ally was innocent before an investigation was launched.
Bill O'Reilly falsely stated that decisions made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit are being overturned by the Supreme Court at a "record rate." In fact, over the past four terms, the 9th Circuit's reversal rate was near the average for all circuits, and during the 2004-05 term, three other circuit courts were reversed by the Supreme Court at a higher rate than the 9th Circuit.
On The Radio Factor, host Bill O'Reilly argued that, historically, witnesses would swear on the Bible to "tell the truth" before testifying in court, because the "Bible was considered a symbol that ... you didn't mess with." O'Reilly claimed, "Now people perjure themselves all day," without giving any evidence to support his contention that perjury is on the rise.
Fox News correspondent Brian Wilson asserted that the "real question" regarding district attorney Ronnie Earle's decision to appeal the dismissal of a conspiracy charge against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was whether Earle "wants to win on that point of law or if this is designed to kind of drag out the case against Tom DeLay." But rather than being the "real" question, it is the question raised by one side -- DeLay's supporters.
Notwithstanding Newsweek guidelines on the use of anonymous sources, a December 19 piece in the magazine featured four different quotes and statements attributed to anonymous White House aides or friends of the president praising or defending him.