On ABC News' WorldNewser weblog, polling director Gary Langer purported to explain the disparate results of an ABC News/Washington Post poll and a Newsweek poll measuring public reaction to a National Security Agency (NSA) program that reportedly collects millions of Americans' phone records. Langer claimed that the polls' results -- the Newsweek poll showed much less support for the program than the ABC/Post poll -- might be explained in part by differences in their wording. Langer also touted the ABC/Post poll's assertion that the NSA program is intended "to identify possible terrorism suspects." In doing so, Langer uncritically accepted the Bush administration's rationale for the program, without noting reports that the Bush administration has engaged in the surveillance of others with no suspected terrorism links and reports that its efforts to identify possible terrorists have been highly ineffective.
On Fox News' Special Report, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer claimed that after The New York Times first publicly disclosed the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance program, "we learned about the NSA listening in on Al Qaeda calling the U.S." Krauthammer's statement echoed the Bush administration's oft-made claim that the surveillance program is limited to "international communications of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations." In fact, media reports have revealed that the NSA has eavesdropped on the communications of thousands of residents with no links to terrorism, and that the NSA has captured purely domestic calls.
Jim Angle falsely claimed that Sen. Carl Levin accused the Bush administration of "orchestrat[ing]" leaks to the media about its own domestic surveillance program. Media Matters for America has noted four other instances, all on Fox News' Special Report, in which Angle and other Fox News correspondents have cropped or misrepresented quotes from Democratic senators.
The Washington Post reported Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's defense of the Justice Department's decision to terminate an inquiry into whether department lawyers acted properly in authorizing the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance program without providing any indication of the nature or degree of criticism greeting that decision.
In his Los Angeles Times column, Max Boot mischaracterized the opposition to the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance programs, offered a misleading defense of the National Security Agency's reported call-tracking operation, and falsely claimed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act impeded a pre-9-11 terror investigation.
In its coverage of the nomination of Gen. Michael V. Hayden to be CIA director, CNN made no mention of Hayden's testimony in 2002, in which he told Congress he did not have the authority to electronically eavesdrop on U.S. residents without a warrant, until Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) confronted Hayden about it at his May 18 nomination hearing.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly blamed "the Mexican drug corruption" for the alleged mugging in New York City of his television show's makeup artist. O'Reilly explained that she "was mugged the other day; punched in the face" by "[d]rug addicts desperate for money." O'Reilly then warned that "all you have to do is multiply that by 10 million, and you see how all of this corruption in Mexico has infected our society."
On Fox News' Special Report, Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke said the telecommunications company Qwest was "basically helping terrorists" because "to its discredit, [it] said it was not cooperating with the NSA [National Security Agency] and specifically decided not to cooperate" by providing the NSA with the phone call records of its customers. According to The New York Times, a lawyer representing Qwest's former CEO has said that the company "[[Qwest]] turned down requests by the National Security Agency for private telephone records because it concluded that doing so would violate federal privacy laws."
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The Associated Press reported without challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-UT) statement that at least two of the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been briefed on the National Security Agency's (NSA) domestic spying activities and that "[n]one raised any objections." The AP article did not note that these two judges reportedly expressed serious concerns about the constitutionality of the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
Time White House correspondent Mike Allen, Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler, and Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke praised White House press secretary Tony Snow's handling of his first televised press conference. In fact, Snow gave numerous misleading and even false answers to reporters' questions regarding the National Security Agency's phone data collection controversy.
Fox News' Brian Wilson cropped a quote from President Bush at a press conference, omitting a statement in which Bush appeared to confirm a USA Today report that the National Security Agency is collecting records of "tens of millions" of Americans' telephone calls. Without any further explanation, Wilson then reported that "a few minutes later," White House press secretary Tony Snow "insisted the president was not confirming details of the original USA Today report."
In reporting on new White House press secretary Tony Snow's first televised press briefing, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Ed Henry praised Snow's "candor," "bluntness," and "honesty" while overlooking Snow's false or, at best, misleading answers to questions from reporters at the briefing.
Fox News' David Asman falsely claimed that "the one poll we've seen" on the National Security Agency (NSA) program to collect phone call records of tens of millions of Americans "shows that over 60 percent, a big majority, believe this is not spying, that it is not violating Americans' rights." Asman was presumably referring to a flawed Washington Post/ABC News poll that indicated that 63 percent of respondents said the program is "acceptable." However, Asman ignored the fact that USA Today/Gallup and Newsweek have each released polls on the topic indicating that a majority of Americans disapprove of the reported data collection program.
On Inside Washington, Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas claimed that "[y]ou cannot have an open society and an effective spy service."
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On Fox News' Special Report, host Brit Hume compared a recent USA Today/Gallup poll -- which found that a majority of respondents disapprove of the National Security Agency's (NSA) reported collection of Americans' telephone records -- with an earlier Washington Post/ABC News poll -- which found that 63 percent of respondents said the program was acceptable. Hume told viewers that "USA Today's poll question does not mention that the NSA database program does not involve listening to or recording telephone conversations, while the Post poll question did mention that." However, Hume did not mention that a Newsweek poll found that even after being told that the program does not involve "listen[ing] to calls," a majority of respondents said the program "goes too far."