During Fox News' coverage of a February 13 White House press conference in which press secretary Scott McClellan was repeatedly asked about the administration's initial failure to inform the public of the incident in which Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot one of his hunting partners, Fox News political analyst Bill Sammon called the issue "a little bit of a tempest in a teapot."
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In his February 10 column, The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger baselessly asserted that the public disclosure of President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program had made it ineffective. However, news reports suggest that, even before the program's public disclosure, it had been ineffective.
A Washington Post article about the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program falsely claimed that the program's critics are "some Democrats." In fact, many Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, also disagree with the administration's legal justifications for the program.
On MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews and The Washington Post's Dana Milbank agreed that the American public is rallying to support President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program, and that only Democrats and "poor Republicans like [former Rep.] Bob Barr [R-GA]" are raising objections based on the legality of the program.
Fox News host John Gibson suggested a link between the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program and the foiling of an Al Qaeda plot, first described by President Bush in a February 9 speech, to destroy the Library Tower in Los Angeles. Bush, however, did not mention the controversial surveillance program in his speech, and the White House refused to say if the domestic surveillance program was involved in foiling the terrorist plot.
Arguing that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is unconstitutional and should be abolished, a February 9 Wall Street Journal editorial used a variety of false and misleading statements to attack FISA and again defend the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program.
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed, "[Sen.] Pat Leahy opposes NSA [National Security Agency] intercepts of the enemy," referring to the NSA's warrantless surveillance program secretly authorized by President Bush in 2001. In fact, according to his statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 6, Leahy "agree[d] that we should be wiretapping Al Qaeda terrorists."
A February 9 Associated Press story left out important details of two incidents that purportedly link Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Following the lead of Fox News and The Washington Times editorial page, an article by the Associated Press adopted a variation of the White House terminology "terrorist surveillance program" to describe the Bush administration's domestic spying program.
On The 700 Club, senior reporter Dale Hurd concluded a news report by claiming that controversial cartoons perceived as anti-Islamic "seem to have unified the Muslim world against the West," but that "[i]t remains to be seen whether they [the cartoons] will also unify the West in defense of its civilization." But, contrary to Hurd's suggestion of unanimity in the Muslim world, many of the religious leaders and government officials who represent Muslims have condemned the widespread rioting that followed publication of the cartoons.
Fox News' Jim Angle repeated as fact President Bush's and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's explanation of Bush's 2004 remarks, in which he stated that "any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires ... a court order," and that "[w]hen we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." Angle did not inform viewers that Bush's explanation -- that the statement applied only to roving wiretaps in the context of the USA Patriot Act -- is contradicted by his own words.
During an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney on PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, anchor Jim Lehrer missed numerous opportunities to challenge assertions Cheney made in defense of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program.
In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, attorneys David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey defended President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program by repeating the claim that the program monitors only the communications of "Al Qaeda operatives" either out of or into the United States and that its "domestic footprint" was "minimized." In fact, as Media Matters has previously noted, the program has reportedly cast a broad net and monitored communications of thousands of people with no connection to Al Qaeda.
Fox News reporters and anchors have increased their use of the Bush administration's term for its warrantless domestic spying program, which it calls a "terrorist [or terror] surveillance program," in their reporting and commentary. Some regional newspapers appear to be following Fox's lead.