Following a recent trend of portraying bad news for President Bush as a blessing in disguise for Republicans and the White House, various news outlets and media figures have uncritically echoed the Bush administration's claim that the recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hezbollah represents a "leadership opportunity" for Bush.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume failed to challenge House Speaker Dennis Hastert's assertion that the "disruptive" "foreign influence" in Iraq is "getting shut down." In fact, a Congressional Research Service report found that foreign influence -- political, economic, and military -- in Iraq, particularly by Iran, remains considerable and is not likely to subside in the near future.
On Imus in the Morning, Richard "Bo" Dietl decried the "influxitation [sic] of the Muslim Empire that's taking over Europe," suggested the United States should "make a parking lot out of Damascus," and claimed that "every Muslim family is told to have six to eight children." Dietl added that Muslim fanatics are willing to "let two of them go get blown up because you always got six more."
For the second time in recent days, a Fox News host asked Ann Coulter what she would do if she were president. Coulter's most recent reply -- during a discussion on Sean Hannity's radio show of Iran's potential development of nuclear weapons -- was that she would "carpet-bomb them so they can't build a transistor radio" much less a nuclear weapon.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, guest co-host Rich Lowry asserted that Rep. John P. Murtha was "again sounding like the grim reaper when it comes to the war on terror." Lowry also asked whether Murtha has "already decided to undermine another American war effort." Former CIA operative Wayne Simmons attacked Murtha for "running a psy-op [psychological operation] against his own people and against his own military," adding that Murtha "has come out and talked poorly about the military."
During his interview with U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton, Bill O'Reilly repeatedly lashed out at the U.N., putting Bolton -- who, before being appointed ambassador to the U.N., had made comments that were harshly critical of the organization -- in the position of defending the U.N. and its Security Council.
Wolf Blitzer and CNN national news correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that "pundits, politicians, comics, and radio talk show hosts" have begun to talk of World War III in the wake of the onset of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. While Moos's segment included clips from programs that satirized the trend of conservatives referring to World War III or World War IV, both Moos and Blitzer stated that the question of whether World War III had begun was "serious."
During a segment in which John Gibson and Julie Banderas were speculating on whether there was any truth to the baseless reports and statements from unidentified "experts" that Saddam Hussein's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction had been secretly transported from Iraq to Syria before the Iraq war and "might have been put in the hands of Hezbollah," the onscreen text read: "Are Saddam Hussein's WMDs Now in Hezbollah's Hands?"
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The three major broadcast networks' morning programs have hosted far more commentary on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict from Republicans and conservatives than from Democrats and progressives. The shows have hosted nine solo interviews of Republicans and conservatives, but only two of progressives.
On Your World, Neil Cavuto turned to Ann Coulter and private investigator Richard "Bo" Dietl for insight into the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. In separate interviews, Coulter declared that, if she were president, she would first "deport all liberals" and then focus on the Middle East, while Dietl, answering a question about Hezbollah's finances, suggested that Turkey is seeking to reinstitute "the Ottoman Empire" by "overpopuliz[ing]" [sic] Germany.
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Julie Banderas rhetorically asked viewers to "guess which television" outlet Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had recently appeared on, and then stated: "No, not The New York Times, but Al Jazeera television, broadcasting this terrorist on TV."
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Christopher Hitchens concluded that Robert Novak's July 12 "tell-all" column and his July 16 appearance on Meet the Press "dissolved any remaining doubt" that the Bush administration "outed" Valerie Plame, but presented irrelevant facts and assertions in support of that conclusion.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that The New York Times editorial board has not commented on the current conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, alleging that the Times editorial board has not criticized Israel's actions because "[m]any American Jews are liberal," and "the Times cannot afford to alienate its liberal base." In fact, since the onset of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, the New York Times editorial page as authored three different editorials on the subject, on July 13, 15, and 18.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed he has "never said liberal America wants the USA to lose in Iraq." Media Matters for America has found numerous examples in which he has asserted that very thing.