In an apparent break with his February 20 pronouncement that "the only solution" to violence in Iraq "is to hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible" because "we just can't control these crazy people," Bill O'Reilly said on the February 23 broadcast of his radio show: "I haven't given up on Iraq."
CBS' Face the Nation featured New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman as a guest interviewer for a segment with White House national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, during which they discussed the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's ports deal with a member state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Rather than selecting an interviewer to challenge Hadley and the Bush administration's position on the ports deal, CBS instead chose Friedman, who two days earlier had written in his Times column that "the president is right" and "[t]he port deal should go ahead."
In reporting on the Bush administration's decision to approve the takeover of the British firm that manages six U.S. ports by a state-controlled Dubai company, articles in USA Today and The Washington Post obscured or misrepresented lawmakers' objections to the deal, failing to make clear that their criticisms center on the fact that the acquiring company is owned by a foreign government with what The New York Times editorial board has referred to as a "mixed" record on fighting terrorism.
A Washington Post editorial adopted several claims that the Bush administration has made in defense of its agreement to let a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) manage six U.S. ports, even though those claims are contradicted by the Post's own news reporting. News reports in the Post and The New York Times also cited without challenge the administration claims about the length of the review, even though their own previous reporting directly contradicted the claims.
NBC's David Gregory reported that the Bush administration "extracted extra security concessions from Dubai Ports World [DPW] as a condition for the $7 billion contract" through which the company would assume control of six major U.S. seaports. Gregory did not mention that these "extra security concessions" appear to be little more than pledges to comply with U.S. law, nor did he report that the administration exempted DPW from other obligations typically required by the United States.
Keith Olbermann crowned Bill O'Reilly the "Worst Person in the World" on both the February 22 and 23 editions of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, based on comments first noted by Media Matters for America. Olbermann also recognized Rush Limbaugh on February 23 for his assertion that Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter is "a girl."
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Fox News featured two onscreen captions during a segment on escalating violence in Iraq that read: " 'Upside' To Civil War?" and "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"
In reporting on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ports controversy, NBC's Brian Williams failed to inform viewers that Dubai Ports World is owned by the government of Dubai, a member of the UAE. NBC's David Gregory later indicated that the company is state-owned but entirely ignored the significance of this. In doing so, they obscured the source of the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's approval of a deal to grant the company control of six U.S. ports.
The Los Angeles Times, in two articles about the Dubai Ports World deal to acquire operational control of six U.S. ports, omitted reference to a U.S. law calling for further investigation of business deals with possible national security implications and to a government report sharply criticizing what it called an overly narrow application of that law.
On the February 22 edition of PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, David Brooks claimed that "a week ago," Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. Jon Corzine did not "kn[ow] a thing" or "care" about port security. Similarly, on the same day, Rush Limbaugh suggested that Schumer and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had only recently emphasized port security. In fact, Schumer, Corzine, and Clinton have all sponsored or co-sponsored port security legislation and have also frequently spoken out on the subject.
Fox News' Carl Cameron reported that congressional Democrats are "hoping for an election-year chance to appear more hawkish than the president on national security," in "pushing legislation to block" a proposal to permit a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to manage port terminals in six major U.S. cities. But one of the two Democrats Cameron cited in his report has proposed such legislation jointly with a Republican senator, undermining Cameron's suggestion that Democrats are objecting to the deal for purely political reasons.
NBC's Tim Russert suggested that Democrats have seized on the Dubai Ports World takeover of a British company -- in which Dubai Ports, a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would assume control of six major U.S. seaports -- in order to build their national security credentials. Russert was able to make this claim by omitting any reference to numerous calls by Democrats in both houses of Congress for increased port security and various pieces of port-security legislation proposed by Democrats that have been, in most instances, opposed by Republicans.
In detailing the evaluation process the Bush administration purportedly undertook before agreeing to permit a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to manage port terminals in six major U.S. cities, several media outlets reported that the administration approved of the deal only after a thorough review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). But none of the reports noted the glaring inconsistency in the administration's account: that Donald Rumsfeld, a key member of CFIUS, acknowledged in a February 21 press conference that he possessed "minimal information" about the deal because he had "just heard about this over the weekend."
Bill O'Reilly suggested that the United States "hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible" because "[t]here are so many nuts in the country -- so many crazies -- that we can't control them." O'Reilly has previously called those advocating immediate withdrawal from Iraq "pinheads" and compared them to Hitler appeasers.
CNN anchors and reporters repeatedly described Dubai Ports World -- the company set to assume control of six U.S. ports -- as an "Arab company" or a "Dubai-based company." However, in describing the company as such, these reporters are ignoring a key factor in the bipartisan controversy surrounding the takeover deal, which is that the company is a state-run business in the United Arab Emirates.