In a Washington Post article, staff writer Jonathan Weisman purported to equate the controversy surrounding a land deal involving Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid with another involving Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. But Weisman ignored a key difference between the two: While there are allegations that Hastert used his office to increase the value of his real estate, there is no similar evidence about Reid's transaction.
Evening news programs on ABC and CBS made no mention that federal agents raided the homes of Rep. Curt Weldon's (R-PA) daughter and her business partner, as well as four additional locations, as part of a reported investigation into whether Weldon improperly assisted their company. NBC's Nightly News did report on the raids, but NBC devoted equal time to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's announcement that he would issue updated disclosure forms to add more details of a land transaction, without noting a key difference: There are no allegations that Reid used his office to benefit from the land deal.
Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman has been inconsistent in his public statements about his relationship to disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In recent interviews, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and U.S. News & World Report staff writer Will Sullivan passed up the opportunity to challenge Mehlman about these inconsistencies.
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Time reported that Democrats "got an unwelcome distraction this week when Senate minority leader Harry Reid ... found himself embroiled in a real estate scandal," but the magazine has ignored reports from June that House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert made almost $2 million on the sale of land in Illinois after reportedly taking an active role in the inclusion in a transportation spending bill of an earmark for a highway project near the property.
MSNBC anchor Melissa Slager falsely claimed that one of the three House members who resigned this year because of ethical scandals was a Democrat; in fact, all three who resigned over the past year were Republicans. MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell presented a "scandal scorecard" noting that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) "is facing a Senate ethics probe," overstating the amount of profit Reid allegedly made in the deal and ignoring a transaction in which House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) reportedly made an even bigger profit on the sale of land near a highway project for which he reportedly included an earmark in a transportation bill.
On his radio program, Bill O'Reilly baselessly claimed that "secular-progressive judges on the [Supreme C]ourt" are "more likely to come about if Nancy Pelosi and her crew" control the U.S. House of Representatives. However, the constitutional process for the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices does not involve the House of Representatives.
Articles by the AP and the Los Angeles Times reported on White House senior adviser Karl Rove's trips to support Republican candidates in the upcoming congressional elections, but none of the articles mentioned that Susan Ralston, a "key aide" to Rove, had resigned after a congressional report disclosed Ralston's alleged connections to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
The scandal surrounding the sexually explicit electronic communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to underage former congressional pages -- and the House Republican leadership's alleged cover-up of Foley's behavior -- have produced a wave of misinformation. To aid members of the media in covering the scandal, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of the top myths, falsehoods, and baseless assertions surrounding the controversy.
Despite front-page coverage in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the resignation of Susan Ralston, a key aide to White House senior adviser Karl Rove, soon after a congressional report disclosed Ralston's extensive connections with Jack Abramoff, has gone unreported on ABC, NBC, and CBS.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, National Review contributor editor David Frum baselessly suggested that Democrats, unlike Republicans, "have the impulse to protect and shield their own when their own are guilty," comparing the Democrats' response to allegations that Rep. William Jefferson accepted bribes with the Republican leadership's handling of the Foley matter to make his point.
A Washington Post article uncritically quoted former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie assailing Democratic leaders' handling of the 1983 sex scandal surrounding then-Rep. Gerry Studds, which Gillespie contrasted with the Republican leadership's handling of Foley.
In a press release alleging possible "criminal obstruction of justice" in the Mark Foley scandal, David Horowitz's FrontPageMag.com claimed that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said it has held "incriminating e-mails revealing Foley's sexual misconduct since at least July 2006." In fact, CREW has explicitly stated that it both received the emails and sent them to the FBI on the same day in July.
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