Fox News correspondent Jim Angle cropped a quote from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to falsely suggest that Reid did not agree with Sen. Russ Feingold that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program is illegal. Angle's report marked the second consecutive day that a reporter for Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume cropped a quote from one of Feingold's Democratic colleagues to falsely suggest that Feingold is alone in having legal objections to the program.
Chris Matthews claimed that "there's a big question about whether it's even legal or not in the Senate" to censure President Bush, as Sen. Russ Feingold recently proposed, over Bush's authorization of warrantless domestic surveillance. But Matthews said something very different about the issue of censure in the context of former President Bill Clinton, at that time taking credit for first promoting the idea of censuring Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky controversy: "I'm not bragging, but I believe I was the first person to talk about the notion of censure because nobody else talked about it."
In a Washington Times column, Tony Blankley claimed that Democrats are using "the old Chinese water torture" on President Bush over his authorization of warrantless domestic surveillance by "dragging out" the issue for "months and months," even as those "same senators ... oppose similar water-related interrogation techniques when used on captured enemy terrorists." He added: "But then I suppose the president is not covered by what [right-wing radio host] Michael Savage calls the Democratic Party's 'Terrorist Bill of Rights.' "
Washington Post staff writer Shailagh Murray reported, in an article about Sen. Russ Feingold's censure resolution, that Democrats are "wary of polls showing that a majority of Americans side with the president on wiretapping tactics." Actually, polls consistently show that most Americans disapprove of the wiretapping tactics the administration has used -- specifically, conducting surveillance without seeking or obtaining a warrant.
Fox News correspondent Major Garrett cropped a quote from Sen. Joseph Lieberman to present a misleading account of Lieberman's view of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program. Garrett reported that Lieberman said he "supports the surveillance" and called it "a critically important program to the prevention of terrorist acts." But Garrett cut out a key part of Lieberman's statement, in which he said, "I don't believe that [the administration has] operated within the law as it exists."
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, called Sen. Russ Feingold's introduction of a resolution to censure President Bush "borderline treasonous behavior."
In an interview with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Gonzales's dubious claim that "if the need were not there for the United States of America to detain people that we catch on the battlefield, then we would not be having to operate" the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Blitzer could have noted recent news reports pointing out that many -- if not a majority -- were not caught by American soldiers on the battlefield but turned over to the U.S. by third parties.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews claimed that a recently reported data-mining initiative led by Harold Ickes -- an adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) -- is "just like we saw the NSA doing" in conjunction with President Bush's controversial warrantless domestic eavesdropping program. But the initiative run by Ickes, according to news reports, relies on commercially and publicly available information that Republicans have used for years in their data operations. Matthews made no mention of these Republican operations.
A Wall Street Journal editorial described a recent agreement between GOP Senate Intelligence Committee members and the Bush administration concerning its warrantless domestic surveillance program as a "White House mugging by Republicans." However, far from a "mugging," the agreement essentially legitimizes the controversial program, which currently operates in apparent violation of the law.
CBS correspondent Gloria Borger misrepresented the terms of new legislation, reportedly agreed to by Senate Republicans and the White House, affecting the administration's domestic spying program. Borger reported that in order to conduct warrantless surveillance under the new legislation, the president would first be required to "explain why he needs to eavesdrop to a newly created congressional subcommittee." In fact, the legislation as reported would let the president authorize warrantless surveillance of Americans for up to 45 days without informing Congress.
The New York Times reported that the recent agreement between the White House and Republican senators concerning the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program "would reinforce the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court." In fact, the reported agreement, if it is introduced as legislation, would codify the program's status outside the reach of the court.
Associated Press staff writer Katherine Shrader referred to the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program as a "terrorist monitoring" program, once again echoing the White House's preferred terminology -- "terrorist surveillance program" -- to describe the controversial operation.
Fox News' John Gibson misrepresented a Washington Post article to baselessly claim that Democratic senators are "teed up for lie detector tests" in an FBI investigation into the disclosure of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program. In fact, the Post reported that the Bush administration's efforts to curb leaks have included "a polygraph investigation inside the CIA," not among members of Congress.
A story in The New York Times falsely suggested that only Democrats have challenged the legality of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program. But the Times itself has reported on Republican concerns about the program's legality.
Sean Hannity dubiously claimed that "[t]here's nobody at Guantánamo Bay that's there for nothing." In fact, a recent National Journal article and a study by Seton Hall Law School show that many detainees are being held with no evidence of having committed hostile acts against the United States or of having ties to Al Qaeda.