Chris Matthews did not challenge Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) assertion that he would "be one of the first to support going to the United States Supreme Court" if the president indicated through a signing statement that he was "not going to abide" by a law passed by Congress. In fact, while McCain initially rebuked President Bush over a signing statement to his detainee treatment bill and threatened close congressional oversight, he has since neither sought a ruling from the Supreme Court, nor even held hearings on the subject.
During a report on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Fox News' Bret Baier uncritically reported the Bush administration's assertion that, under the bill, noncitizen detainees have a right to challenge their detention and designation as "unlawful enemy combatant[s]" and that critics of the bill who say otherwise are "just flat wrong." In fact, a detainee's ability to challenge his or her detention effectively depends on the government's willingness to provide an initial hearing, which the government can postpone indefinitely.
CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC dedicated a considerable amount of airtime to a purported threat to NFL stadiums in seven cities, despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI both characterized the threat as not credible. Further, with one brief exception, at no point was there any reference on any of the three channels to evidence that the Bush administration has used terrorism-related announcements for political gain.
Loading the player leg...
PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer reported without challenge or rebuttal that White House senior political adviser Karl Rove "dismissed Democrats' chances of winning control of Congress." MSNBC's David Shuster similarly reported without challenge that Rove "remain[s] very calm and optimistic about the election." But as CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted, Rove "ha[s] to say that."
Although Washington Post, New York Times, and Reuters reports on President Bush's signing of the Military Commissions Act included general criticism of the legislation, they were all silent on its most controversial provision: allowing the president to detain noncitizens in the United States or abroad for any reason, indefinitely.
In her report on President Bush's signing of the controversial detainee bill, ABC's Martha Raddatz noted Sen. Russ Feingold's general opposition to the bill but gave no indication of Feingold's specific criticism -- that the bill "allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court." Nightly news broadcasts on NBC and CBS devoted little attention to the bill's signing and ignored Democratic criticism of it altogether.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity joined authors Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy in comparing Cindy Sheehan's purported interest in online pornography to sexually explicit instant messages former Rep. Mark Foley allegedly sent to underage congressional pages. Morgan asserted that "[t]here's a double standard and hypocrisy at work" in the fact that there was far greater attention and criticism focused on the Foley scandal.
Loading the player leg...
In their coverage of President Bush's signing later that morning of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell reported that "there has been plenty of controversy" surrounding the bill but did not elaborate on what that controversy might be, while ABC News' Kate Snow did not mention that there is opposition to the bill, much less any of the reasons for that opposition.
NBC's Jonathan Alter falsely suggested that Republican Peter Roskam and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois' 6th District, have "a similar view of the war" in Iraq. But Chicago newspapers have reported that Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both her legs in combat, and Roskam, who recently accused Duckworth of favoring a "cut and run" strategy in Iraq, are "worlds apart" on Iraq.
In a New York Times op-ed, Jeff Stein writes that "most American officials I've interviewed," including, "not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles overseeing our spy agencies," "don't have a clue" what the differences are between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. While Stein raises an important question, a more pertinent question is: Why has this critical piece of information gone unreported in the Times' news pages?