On June 18, The Washington Post published a cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq that detailed the deteriorating conditions observed in Baghdad in recent months. Despite the clear significance of the document, the media have almost entirely ignored its publication.
Interviewing author Ron Suskind, whose new book found the Department of Homeland Security to be "nonexistent" and "basically a joke," NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer asked Suskind if he risks "emboldening our enemies" by "talking about some of the weaknesses in policy and procedure" in the U.S.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly alleged that he had "not seen any evidence" of "electric shock" being used on detainees during interrogation proceedings. O'Reilly made the claim while suggesting that he has seen no evidence of U.S. interrogators engaging in torture, which he appeared to define as limited to tactics like "[p]eople getting their eyes cut out, fingers cut off" and using "electric shock." But the Pentagon has acknowledged that electric shock has been used in the interrogation of detainees.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, CBS News contributor Gloria Borger acknowledged that the media "are suckers" because of their coverage of President Bush's surprise June 13 trip to Iraq. Borger concluded: "[Y]ou know you're being used, but in a way you kind of like it because it's good pictures."
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On Fox News Watch, Cal Thomas stated that White House counselor Dan Bartlett and press secretary Tony Snow "looked a lot better in those metal helmets than [former Democratic presidential candidate] Michael Dukakis did in that tank some years ago."
Fox News' Bret Baier misrepresented the reasons that Republican senators cited for opposing an amendment that would urge President Bush to communicate strong disapproval of an amnesty for insurgents in Iraq who attacked U.S. troops. Baier falsely suggested that the Republicans said only that they opposed the amendment because Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie had supposedly made the controversy moot when he disavowed such a proposal.
On NBC's Today, Michael Smerconish selectively cited the stock market's performance and cherry-picked favorable data from a New York Times op-ed to claim that President Bush was making a "comeback." In fact, the Dow Jones industrial average has headed downward dramatically in recent weeks before experiencing a partial recovery in recent days, and other data cited in the Times op-ed led its authors to conclude that "it is increasingly hard to describe Iraq as a glass half-full."
On Fox News' The Big Story, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Robert Pollock and host John Gibson falsely claimed that "we know" that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald "concluded very early on in his investigation ... that there wasn't a crime committed when somebody revealed the CIA identity of Valerie Plame." As Media Matters for America has noted, Fitzgerald in fact said the opposite -- that he could reach no conclusion about whether the alleged leak was a violation of law because of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's testimony.
On Fox News' Big Story, host John Gibson cited the differing opinions of Democratic Sens. John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton on an Iraq exit strategy as evidence to conclude that the "divide is widening within the Democratic party over the war." Gibson pressed his guest, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Terry McAuliffe, to choose either "Hillary's side" or "the John Kerry side," while failing to note a significant divide among Republicans on the same issue, even though a Republican congressman appeared on the preceding program and called for President Bush to set a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.
After a visit to the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Bill O'Reilly minimized the seriousness and credibility of allegations that abuses have taken place at the facility.
A June 15 New York Times article misrepresented the White House's 2003 denials of Karl Rove's involvement in the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative. In doing so, the Times lent support to Rove's defenders, who were quoted anonymously in the article claiming that Rove did not mislead his White House colleagues about his role in the leak.
During a discussion of recent lawsuits filed by prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Fox News host John Gibson asked former Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, "So in the future, your advice is to shoot them on the field of battle?" Napolitano replied: "That is an option, or follow the Geneva Conventions."
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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough misleadingly described the results of a USA Today/Gallup poll, declaring four times that the poll showed that "69 percent of Americans now believe America can win the war in Iraq." But included in the 69 percent that Scarborough cited were 21 percent of respondents who believed that the United States "can win the war in Iraq" but "don't think it will win."
On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell uncritically reported President Bush's statement that progress in Iraq can be measured "in megawatts of electricity delivered" and "in terms of oil sold on the market on behalf of the Iraqi people." O'Donnell failed to note that most of the country has electricity for less than half the day and that oil output has remained below prewar levels since the U.S.-led invasion.