Fox News' Special Report and ABC's Good Morning America featured nearly identical -- and misleading -- stories about a lawsuit filed by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, ex-CIA officer Valerie Plame, against Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and White House senior adviser Karl Rove. Both segments uncritically reported columnist Robert D. Novak's claim that he "saw no such campaign" by White House officials to discredit Wilson, ignoring assertions by the special counsel in the case of a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" to "discredit, punish, or seek revenge against" Wilson.
Tucker Carlson baselessly criticized a caller to his MSNBC show by conflating "the rest of the world" with "Islamic extremists." In fact, worldwide polling suggests that America's image has indeed declined worldwide since President Bush took office in 2001.
A Los Angeles Times article echoed the claim -- frequently advanced by conservatives -- that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of then-CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity "concluded that the disclosure did not violate a federal law protecting the identity of covert operatives." In fact, Fitzgerald has stated that he was unable to determine whether any laws were violated in the leaking of Plame's identity because his investigation was impeded by former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, whom he charged with perjury and obstructing the grand jury investigation.
On CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer allowed Human Events Online editor Terence P. Jeffrey to repeat Robert Novak's claim that the Bush administration official who originally disclosed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to Novak "had done it inadvertently." In fact, Novak has been inconsistent about the motivations of his sources and the explanation for the inconsistency.
On MSNBC's Tucker, former New York Police Department detective Bo Dietl falsely claimed that "all the hijackers that came and then bombed [the United States] on 9-11, all of them were in this country illegally." In fact, all 19 of the 9-11 hijackers reportedly entered the United States legally, though two had overstayed their visas.
Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham baselessly attacked the The New York Times for publishing a photo of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home. In fact, Rumsfeld's public affairs director confirmed that he granted the Times permission to run the photo, the Secret Service confirmed that the photo "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security, and numerous media -- including Fox News -- had previously reported the location of Rumsfeld's residence. Further, a nearly identical photo ran in The Washington Post six months earlier.
In announcing that Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame had filed a lawsuit against Dick Cheney, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Karl Rove, Fox News host Shepard Smith uncritically stated that Robert Novak "was on this network yesterday saying there was no concerted campaign to out Plame as a way of punishing her husband." But Smith omitted special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's findings that a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" had been intended to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" Wilson.
On his MSNBC program, host Tucker Carlson claimed that "[t]here's never been a shred of evidence" that the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity "compromised our national security." But the special counsel in charge of investigating the leak found that Plame's identity had been protected by the CIA "not just for the officer, but for the nation's security." Further, reports have indicated that the subsequent disclosure of Plame's CIA front company likely endangered other officers' work.
On his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck proclaimed that recent violence in the Middle East and India are evidence that "we've got World War III to fight," and also warned of "the impending apocalypse." Beck added that President Bush is facing the threat "by himself," while former Vice President Al Gore is more concerned with the fact that "[t]he ice is starting to melt in Greenland."
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Fox News' Andrew P. Napolitano claimed that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV "told Who's Who in America to put that his wife was a CIA operative." In fact, Wilson's entry in Who's Who mentioned his wife's name -- Valerie Elise Plame -- but not her occupation.
Media Matters for America suggests questions to ask Bob Novak regarding his role in the Valerie Plame affair -- questions that were left unanswered by Novak's "tell all" column.
In his latest column, Bob Novak purported to discuss his role in the federal investigation into the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, but instead of providing the answer to perhaps the most enduring mystery in this case -- the identity of his original source -- he repeated a number of false and contradictory statements regarding the investigation and the manner in which he learned of Plame's identity.
Chris Matthews, Fred Barnes, and The New York Times uncritically repeated Bob Novak's claim that the Bush administration official who originally disclosed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to Novak did so inadvertently. In fact, Novak has been inconsistent on the question of the motivations of his sources, and administration officials had reportedly disclosed Plame's CIA employment to other reporters even before Novak received the information from his primary source, suggesting not inadvertent disclosures but, rather, a concerted effort to get the information out.