Reporting that new House Majority Leader John Boehner could satisfy "a lot of Republican rank-and-file [who] want change because of the lobbying scandals," CNN's Ed Henry ignored Boehner's history of ethics concerns, including the criticism he received for passing out checks from a tobacco industry group on the House floor moments before a key tobacco vote.
Few major news outlets have covered the fact -- first reported by the New York Daily News -- that in a letter to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense attorneys, special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald said that numerous emails from 2003 are missing from the White House computer archives.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank depicted advocates of impeachment as a fringe element of the Democratic Party, while ignoring polling that shows that a majority of Americans believe Congress should consider impeaching Bush over his authorization of warrantless domestic surveillance. Milbank also falsely reported that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) "got only 25 of the 60 needed votes" to mount a filibuster against President Bush's nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court. In fact, it was Alito's supporters who "needed" the 60 votes to end debate on the nomination.
In a New York Post book review, Andrew C. McCarthy falsely suggested that the Clinton administration was responsible for the Supreme Court's ruling that the requirement that law enforcement officials give suspects Miranda warnings for confessions to be admissible in court is embedded in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.
CNN's Ed Henry said that Sen. John Kerry's call for a filibuster of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s nomination to the Supreme Court reinforced the "elitist" label given to Kerry by the GOP during the 2004 presidential campaign because he made the statement from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. However, when CNN later interviewed Sen. Saxby Chambliss about the potential filibuster, there were no "elitist" comments to be found, even though Chambliss was also commenting from Davos.
One day after NBC's Katie Couric chided Howard Dean for saying that Democratic lawmakers received no campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff, Matt Lauer said that "technically speaking, Howard Dean may be correct." In fact, Dean was correct and Couric was wrong.
Various media outlets have failed to challenge the claims of Republican senators that they disregarded ideology when voting to confirm Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer in the 1990s. In fact, both Ginsburg and Breyer were consensus nominees, suggested to President Clinton by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and had reputations and judicial records of moderates at the time of their nominations.
Media figures have argued that the scandal surrounding former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is good news for Sen. John McCain because, unlike other members of Congress, he is untainted by the scandal and could benefit politically from being cast as a reformer. But these media figures failed to note that, like many Democrats who they have suggested are tainted, McCain received campaign money from Abramoff's clients, as reported by the Associated Press and the Center for Responsive Politics. *
A West Virginia Sunday Gazette Mail column quoted Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, that "[t]he religious right already controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives" and plans to "pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues" but then falsely attributed words to Neas, suggesting without basis that by "religious right," Neas meant "these evil churchgoers."
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips misstated a false assertion made by Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell regarding Democrats and indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Phillips reported that Howell "wrote that ... Jack Abramoff gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans." Phillips then said: "Well that's true, though most of the money went to Republicans." In fact, Abramoff made no contribution to Democrats.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Democrats took campaign contributions from former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. When a caller noted his false claim, O'Reilly stated: "So you are a Kool-Aid drinker who is blinded by whatever neurosis you have, because that's just insane." As Media Matters for America has documented, only Republicans received direct contributions from Abramoff.
A January 18 Associated Press article reported that "Democrats tried to link [indicted Republican lobbyist Jack] Abramoff to Republicans." However, the article failed to discuss numerous ties between the GOP and Abramoff.
News outlets reported that the Republican-sponsored ethics reform package would ban lobbyist-paid travel. But the proposed reform measure would still allow lobbyist-paid meals and trips as long as they were offered as campaign fundraising activities.
A Time magazine article wrongly stated that Congress eliminated funding once earmarked for a mile-long, 200-foot-high bridge connecting Ketchikan, Alaska, to a sparsely populated island and regional airport. In fact, while the earmark was removed from the budget, the money remained, now available for use by the state of Alaska for any reason state officials deem fit -- including for the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere."
Covering the nomination hearing of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., NBC News correspondent Pete Williams asserted that "Alito himself told the senators this week that a president does not have the power to disregard a law." But Williams based this on only a part of a response Alito gave on the issue of presidential power. In fact, Alito's entire response on the issue constitutes a legal truism that tells senators nothing about his views on presidential power versus congressional power -- that the president cannot disregard a law that is constitutional. Simply put, Alito told the committee that the president has to follow the law except when he doesn't have to.