The Associated Press falsely stated, "The Pentagon recently reported that 61 former prisoners at Guantanamo have returned to the fight against the U.S. and its allies." Similarly, on CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips asserted, "New Pentagon figures actually say 61 released detainees have been linked to some kind of terror activity." In fact, the Pentagon's figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but not confirmed as, having, in the AP's words, "returned to the fight."
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A USA Today editorial discussing former President Bush's departure from office claimed that Bush "eschewed controversial pardons," which it called "a refreshing contrast" to former President Clinton's departure. In fact, Bush's pardon for New York developer Isaac Toussie, announced December 23, was withdrawn after it was revealed that Toussie's family contributed more than $37,000 to Republicans.
A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that, in a recently released decision, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review affirmed the legality of the Bush administration's "warrantless wiretapping program" that "was exposed in 2005." In fact, the decision applies only to surveillance conducted pursuant to a 2007 congressional statute and does not say anything about the legality of the warrantless wiretapping program exposed in 2005.
The Wall Street Journal reported, "Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the [Justice] department produced legal opinions that have been attacked by some members of Congress and civil libertarians for allowing harsh interrogation tactics." In fact, critics of the Justice Department's interrogation opinions also include Jack Goldsmith, who served as the head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel under Bush.
Commuting Scooter Libby's sentence wasn't enough for Journal columnist Daniel Henninger. He wants a full, last-minute pardon for Libby who was convicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valarie Plame. Libby never had serve his jail time (thanks to Bush) and Libby has never expressed remorse for his crimes.
Lots of conservatives were angry when Libby got convicted in court. What's rather odd is that conservatives like Henninger, who howled pretty much nonstop during the Clinton years about the absolute reverence for the rule of law (and don't even get them started on the topic of perjury) suddenly have no use for the jury system in America. Pundits like Henninger just don't like the Libby verdict and think it ought to be nullified by Bush.
Heres' Henninger flaunting his disdain for the rule of law:
Nominally the legal case was about the wheels of a prosecution in motion. Indeed by its end the details of the case against Mr. Libby had burned down to a travesty. But make no mistake. The effort that went into keeping the Plame affair alive was about discrediting the war effort in Iraq and the Bush antiterror program.
i.e. Being found guilty by a jury of your peers now qualifies as a "travesty."
Nope, no double standard here folks.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, discussing a Washington Post article reporting Bush administration official Susan Crawford's conclusion that Guantánamo detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani was tortured, Pat Buchanan suggested that specific techniques used on Qahtani were not torture, ignoring the reason Crawford gave for reaching her conclusion. As Mika Brzezinski noted, Crawford said her conclusion that Qahtani was tortured was based not on "any one particular act," but on "a combination of things" Crawford called "abusive," "uncalled for," and "coercive."
ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News and uncritically aired President Bush's statement that "Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment," without noting that a 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report found that the abuse there "was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own" and that Donald Rumsfeld's "authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody."
Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade falsely suggested that only "people at the U.N." want to close Guantánamo, while co-hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson, as well as Glenn Beck, used TV drama 24 as a justification for the use of torture. In fact, Sen. John McCain, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and five former secretaries of state are among those who have said that Guantánamo should be closed.
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On the January 8 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann , echoing recent items by Media Matters for America, highlighted remarks by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, Michelle Malkin, and Brit Hume:
Bill O'Reilly again falsely claimed that the Army Field Manual "says, quote, 'You are not to make any captured person uncomfortable in any way.' " In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," which includes several techniques and strategies that make detainees "uncomfortable."
On his radio show, Mark Belling said: "Whether it's blacks, Mexican-Americans, whatever, people who live in a neighborhood should not have to put up with newcomers deciding that that neighborhood is going to be 'Crimeville.' " Belling continued: "You wonder why racism occurs. Why people fear 'look what's happening to the neighborhood' when some -- when a minority person moves in. The answer is because sometimes it does mean an increase in crime."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way," echoing his previous assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, including several techniques intended to make detainees "uncomfortable."
This week we noted some of the holes in a Los Angeles Times article about the supposedly spike in gun sales following Barack Obama's win on the Election Day. The Times reported that some gun owners said they were preparing in the event of a "race war." But the newspaper's report was built mostly on interviews with a couple of Texas gun owners, not with lots of conclusive factual information about gun sales.
Now Slate's Jack Shafer takes a look at the even larger press explosion in gun sales stories, many of which carry an election theme, and finds all kinds of problems with the reporting.