After a speech by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on May 4, retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern questioned Rumsfeld over his previous claims about Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld gave misleading answers, which McGovern pointed out during the exchange. But in their coverage, NBC, CBS, and Fox News deceptively edited the exchange, excluding McGovern's rebuttals of Rumsfeld's claims without noting that they had done so.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto hyped the Bolivian government's recent decision to nationalize its energy industry as a "socialist threat" to the United States. Cavuto asked Fox military analyst Col. David Hunt: "Colonel, I'm wondering whether this is a military threat -- leave aside the energy concerns -- but a military threat to our country now?" Hunt replied: "Yeah. There is no question," adding that "oil is a weapon ... and why wouldn't ... states getting close to being a terrorist state ... like Bolivia ... consider it?"
Pat Robertson claimed that Iran "now has atomic weapons," even though the U.S. intelligence community, as well as independent experts, agree that Iran is years away from having the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons.
On Fox News' Special Report, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes claimed that Pentagon war planners and the Bush administration had not "expected" the looting that occurred in Baghdad immediately after Saddam Hussein's regime fell. But a 2003 New York Times article reported that the administration and the Pentagon were warned repeatedly by exiled Iraqi leaders that "without a strong plan for managing Iraq after toppling Saddam Hussein, widespread looting and violence would erupt."
In an article in The Weekly Standard, senior writer Stephen F. Hayes attacked a 2003 article by New York Times staff writer James A. Risen that, according to Hayes, falsely claimed the Bush administration had selectively used intelligence to suggest a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. To refute the Times article, Hayes quoted a line allegedly from a CIA report referenced by Risen, but the line does not address the administration's alleged selective use of intelligence, or even provide support for the claim of a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
A Washington Times editorial asserted that "Iran has shown no serious interest in negotiating" about its alleged nuclear weapons program, despite evidence that, in May 2003, Iran made diplomatic overtures toward the United States.
In an article that purported to undermine a recent National Journal article by Murray Waas alleging that Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) had leaked sensitive intelligence shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Knight Ridder staff writer Matt Stearns quoted only Republican supporters of Roberts. Stearns also highlighted evidence that contradicted his argument.
On Fox News' Your World, Neil Cavuto falsely claimed that Sen. Jospeh R. Biden Jr.'s recently released plan for Iraq is "one that divides the country into three countries separately by religion." In fact, Biden's plan "is to maintain a unified Iraq by decentralizing it" into three "largely autonomous regions," Kurd, Sunni, and Shiite, "with a viable but limited central government in Baghdad."
Fox News chief White House correspondent Carl Cameron and former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke both obscured the role the White House played in the display of the "Mission Accomplished" banner that appeared behind Bush on May 1, 2003, when he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq. Cameron referred to the banner as a "Navy banner," while Clarke claimed "it's still a matter of debate" who printed and put up the banner, despite a 2004 report that a White House spokesperson confirmed that White House staff had the banner made.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked whether the May 1 "Day Without Immigrants" protests were "freedom of expression or economic terrorism."
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On the third anniversary of President Bush's premature declaration of victory in Iraq, Media Matters has compiled examples of media that sounded alarms over Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction capabilities now sounding similar alarms over Iran.
On MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Wall Street Journal national political editor John Harwood claimed that White House senior adviser Karl Rove was at most guilty of "backhanded confirmations" of classified information and therefore cannot reasonably be accused of leaking. Harwood's assertion amounts to the claim that mere confirmation -- as opposed to actual disclosure -- of classified information does not constitute an unauthorized leak. Harwood's assertion is not supported by the law or the facts.
John Gibson claimed that the CIA "thinks" former intelligence officer Mary O. McCarthy "might have been a source" for Washington Post staff writer Dana Priest's article that first reported the alleged existence of CIA "black site" prisons in Eastern Europe. In fact, while initial reports indicated that McCarthy had admitted to leaking classified information on the prisons, McCarthy has since denied doing so, and the CIA has not drawn a connection between McCarthy and the revelation of the alleged secret prisons.
The New York Post asserted in an editorial that the administration has "often come off as treating its top priorities -- the War on Terror and, particularly, Iraq -- as near-afterthoughts." Far from treating those subjects as "near-afterthoughts," however, the Bush administration has made them a central theme in every major policy agenda and electoral strategy for the past four years.
Four days after former high-ranking CIA official Tyler Drumheller revealed that the Bush administration dismissed clear-cut evidence undermining President Bush's central case for war -- that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction -- the media, except for MSNBC and now CNN, have largely ignored the story.