Fox News journalists and commentators repeatedly -- and baselessly -- cited a correction issued by CIA leak case special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald as evidence that the Bush administration had not "hyp[ed]" prewar intelligence and that reporters had "wrongly accuse[d]" President Bush of directing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to provide false information to reporters about Iraq's supposed nuclear program to justify the decision to invade Iraq.
On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney purported to "lay out a campaign today that will take Iran down very quickly," agreeing with host Bill O'Reilly that the military strategy for this "would be all air, no infantry, and maybe some Special Forces trying to help." But in 2002, McInerney promised that the military campaign in Iraq, which has now lasted longer than three years, would be "shorter" than the 42 days it took to complete the Persian Gulf War in 1991."
On Hannity & Colmes, Newt Gingrich falsely claimed that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was sent on a fact-finding trip to the African country of Niger "because his wife got him the job," that Wilson "implied that [Vice President Dick] Cheney had gotten him the job," and that Wilson "lied about his own report" on the findings of his trip. Media Matters for America has previously debunked each of these falsehoods.
Byron York claimed that court papers pertaining to Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby "contained the erroneous and later-corrected suggestion that Libby lied about the contents of the National Intelligence Estimate [NIE]." York, however, misstated Fitzgerald's correction. In fact, Fitzgerald corrected the suggestion that Vice President Dick Cheney authorized Libby to tell Judith Miller that a "key judgment" of the 2002 NIE was that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium -- not the "suggestion that Libby lied about the contents of the" NIE, as York wrote.
In a series of broadcasts, Bill O'Reilly condemned the media "hysteria" over Seymour Hersh's article in the April 17 issue of The New Yorker -- on one show calling it a "phony and political" attempt to "denigrate the Bush administration." But O'Reilly largely ignored a primary reason Hersh's story has received such attention: the disclosure that the administration is considering "the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon" against Iran.
On Fox News' Your World, Jonathan Hoenig, the managing member of Capitalistpig Asset Management LLC, asserted that the U.S. economy would be unable to "thrive" in the event that convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui is not summarily executed. "If I had my way, you'd bring him out back, put a bullet in his head, and toss him in the dumpster," Hoenig said, adding, "This is an evil monster and I just don't see how society can prosper or the economy can prosper, if this guy lives."
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CNN's David Ensor adamantly defended President Bush against allegations that Bush may have been aware of contradictory evidence at the time of his May 29, 2003, statement that the United States had discovered biological weapons labs in Iraq, stating that the information could not feasibly have made it to the president's desk in time. But Ensor's claim that Bush could not have seen the conflicting intelligence is one that not even the White House has made in responding to questions about the issue.
In an April 13 Washington Post op-ed, Vets for Freedom executive director Wade Zirkle criticized Reps. Jim Moran and John P. Murtha for their treatment of former Sgt. Mark Seavey, who chided the Democratic legislators at a January 5 town hall meeting in Virginia for saying that they "have talked to the troops and the troops are demoralized." Zirkle failed to note, however, that Seavey is one of the co-founders of Zirkle's organization.
Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, in an article in the Washington City Paper, was quoted reiterating the Post's defense of President Bush in an April 9 editorial: that President Bush's authorization to leak classified portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to the media was intended to make clear the administration's reasons for going to war. But Hiatt's statement, like the April 9 editorial, is based on a false assumption -- that the administration's leak of the NIE presented an accurate and complete picture of the intelligence.
CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported that White House press secretary Scott McClellan had said "very clearly" during an April 12 briefing that President Bush did not see a May 27, 2003, intelligence report that contradicted his declaration two days later that the United States had discovered biological weapons labs in Iraq. In fact, McClellan said no such thing during the briefing.
Fox News' Jim Angle misrepresented the findings in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence in order to support his false claim that -- based on former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's fact-finding trip to Niger -- the committee concluded that Iraqi officials traveled to Niger in an effort to purchase uranium. Similarly, on Fox News Sunday, nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer claimed that the report showed "distortions" in Wilson's July 2003 New York Times op-ed because it noted that the Iraqi delegation traveled to Niger seeking "commercial relations."
Both the Associated Press and USA Today uncritically reported President Bush's highly misleading claim that he authorized the selective declassification of an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate because he "wanted people to see the truth" behind his dubious prewar arguments regarding the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
Responding to readers' comments on The Washington Post's falsehood-laden April 9 editorial on President Bush's authorization of intelligence leaks, Post media writer Howard Kurtz -- instead of reporting on the editorial's numerous falsehoods -- stated: "I don't care what Post editorials say, except as a reader."
Media Matters for America presents a side-by-side comparison of the claims put forth by an April 9 Washington Post editorial that repeated numerous falsehoods in defense of President Bush's reported authorization of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to disclose the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, the corresponding falsehoods forwarded by conservatives and Republicans in the media, and the Post's own reporting -- some of it appearing in the same edition of the paper as the editorial -- that debunks these falsehoods.
William Kristol and The New York Times misrepresented information from a classified October 2002 NIE that President Bush allegedly authorized former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to leak to the media.