After a federal judge recently struck down the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program, some media figures have repeated the false Republican charge that critics of the program are opposed to wiretapping in general. In fact, critics of the program say that the Bush administration is violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by conducting surveillance of U.S. citizens and legal residents without obtaining a warrant from the FISA court
CNN correspondent Elaine Quijano uncritically reported a dubious statement by President Bush suggesting a link between a recent terror plot in Britain and the administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program. And host Wolf Blitzer did not identify the program as warrantless, although it is the administration's failure to obtain warrants to conduct surveillance on U.S. persons that is the issue in controversy and the reason a judge struck down the program.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Bill Bennett's assertion that the recent arrests of terrorism suspects in the United Kingdom "helps the president." In fact, national polling conducted after the alleged terror plot was exposed indicates that President Bush has received no appreciable boost in public support.
A CNN report on the search for Osama bin Laden noted that the insufficient number of U.S. forces in the mountains of Afghanistan in late 2001 allowed the Al Qaeda leader to escape capture. But the report omitted any reference to the recent revelation that the CIA specifically warned President Bush at the time that more U.S. troops were needed.
New York Times reporter Anne E. Kornblut left unchallenged Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's claim -- which is unsupported by recent polls -- that anti-Iraq war Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont is "not mainstream America." Kornblut quoted only Republicans, conservatives, and representatives of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, with no response from the Lamont campaign or Lamont supporters.
On Meet the Press, NBC News' David Gregory failed to rebut or question Sen. John McCain on several assertions he made on the show regarding Iraq, terrorism, and the Connecticut Senate race that were either false or open to challenge.
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On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly mocked Rep. Dennis Kucinich's proposal to increase funding for first responders, stating of Kucinich's four-point plan to increase national security: "Number three: Fund first responders in the U.S.A. That means after you're dead, have enough ambulances to carry your corpse to the funeral home."
Neil Cavuto introduced a Your World segment discussing media coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict by stating, "[I]s the liberal media fueling terror?" Throughout the segment, onscreen text repeated Cavuto's question.
After the recent arrests of terrorism suspects in the United Kingdom, numerous media outlets asked whether President Bush's approval ratings would benefit from the news or even claimed outright that his ratings already had benefited. Subsequent polling has shown the arrests resulted in little or no benefit for Bush. Media Matters now asks: Will these media outlets report on the true effect of the arrest on Bush's ratings?
Chris Matthews conflated Islamic terrorists with those "who may be politically on the left," and presented a false choice between "honoring civil rights" and "tap[ping]" terrorists' "phones," suggesting that "honoring civil rights" could lead to "the deaths of thousands of people." Matthews also discussed the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, in which his brother is the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.
In articles on President Bush's August 16 speech at a Republican fundraiser, during which Bush accused those advocating for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq of promoting a "cut and run" strategy, the Associated Press and The New York Times characterized Bush's speech as "kinder" and "gentler" and free of "partisan politics."
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