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.
Fox News host Alan Colmes noted that the Bush administration failed to eliminate former Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before the start of the Iraq war, despite having had at least three opportunities to do so. Media Matters previously documented that coverage of al-Zarqawi's June 8 death on major cable channels and the broadcast networks neglected to mention reports from 2004 that Zaraqwi could have been eliminated much earlier.
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Broadcast networks covering the news that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald reportedly told White House senior adviser Karl Rove that he does not anticipate charging Rove in connection with the CIA leak investigation left out key information concerning Rove's conduct and the false and misleading information put out by the White House concerning the matter. Rove's history of falsely claiming that he was not involved in disclosing CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity was ignored or downplayed, as was the White House's false denials of Rove's role.
During his interview with Bill O'Reilly, NBC Today host Matt Lauer joined O'Reilly in serving up conservative misinformation to Today viewers. In questions he posed to O'Reilly, Lauer suggested that Democrats would play a "dangerous" "troop withdrawal game" in Iraq, and that if detainees were released from the U.S. prison facility at GuantÃ¡namo Bay and went on to commit terrorist acts, "we've got an international Willie Horton on our hands."
Commenting on President Bush's recent trip to Baghdad, Neil Cavuto claimed that Bush "apparently didn't listen" to advisers who told him it was "not a good idea" to go to Baghdad, concluding that Bush's surprise trip may "say as much about the man as the mission he holds dear" and that "maybe, just maybe, the value of the mission is bigger than the man who leads it -- or heads into it."
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In a weblog post, ABC News' Jake Tapper again misstated pledges by President Bush and his aides to fire anyone who disclosed the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Tapper's post included a thinly veiled -- and false -- attack on Media Matters for America.
Following reports that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has told White House senior adviser Karl Rove that he does not anticipate charging Rove in connection with the CIA leak investigation, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of questions previously asked about Karl Rove by the media, which the White House has to date refused to answer, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation. Now that the special counsel has apparently made a decision with respect to Rove, the White House's stock response would presumably no longer apply.