On CNN's Reliable Sources, CBS News contributor Gloria Borger acknowledged that the media "are suckers" because of their coverage of President Bush's surprise June 13 trip to Iraq. Borger concluded: "[Y]ou know you're being used, but in a way you kind of like it because it's good pictures."
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On Fox News Watch, Cal Thomas stated that White House counselor Dan Bartlett and press secretary Tony Snow "looked a lot better in those metal helmets than [former Democratic presidential candidate] Michael Dukakis did in that tank some years ago."
Fox News' Bret Baier misrepresented the reasons that Republican senators cited for opposing an amendment that would urge President Bush to communicate strong disapproval of an amnesty for insurgents in Iraq who attacked U.S. troops. Baier falsely suggested that the Republicans said only that they opposed the amendment because Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie had supposedly made the controversy moot when he disavowed such a proposal.
On NBC's Today, Michael Smerconish selectively cited the stock market's performance and cherry-picked favorable data from a New York Times op-ed to claim that President Bush was making a "comeback." In fact, the Dow Jones industrial average has headed downward dramatically in recent weeks before experiencing a partial recovery in recent days, and other data cited in the Times op-ed led its authors to conclude that "it is increasingly hard to describe Iraq as a glass half-full."
On Fox News' The Big Story, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Robert Pollock and host John Gibson falsely claimed that "we know" that special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald "concluded very early on in his investigation ... that there wasn't a crime committed when somebody revealed the CIA identity of Valerie Plame." As Media Matters for America has noted, Fitzgerald in fact said the opposite -- that he could reach no conclusion about whether the alleged leak was a violation of law because of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's testimony.
On Fox News' Big Story, host John Gibson cited the differing opinions of Democratic Sens. John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton on an Iraq exit strategy as evidence to conclude that the "divide is widening within the Democratic party over the war." Gibson pressed his guest, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Terry McAuliffe, to choose either "Hillary's side" or "the John Kerry side," while failing to note a significant divide among Republicans on the same issue, even though a Republican congressman appeared on the preceding program and called for President Bush to set a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.
After a visit to the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Bill O'Reilly minimized the seriousness and credibility of allegations that abuses have taken place at the facility.
A June 15 New York Times article misrepresented the White House's 2003 denials of Karl Rove's involvement in the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative. In doing so, the Times lent support to Rove's defenders, who were quoted anonymously in the article claiming that Rove did not mislead his White House colleagues about his role in the leak.
During a discussion of recent lawsuits filed by prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Fox News host John Gibson asked former Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, "So in the future, your advice is to shoot them on the field of battle?" Napolitano replied: "That is an option, or follow the Geneva Conventions."
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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough misleadingly described the results of a USA Today/Gallup poll, declaring four times that the poll showed that "69 percent of Americans now believe America can win the war in Iraq." But included in the 69 percent that Scarborough cited were 21 percent of respondents who believed that the United States "can win the war in Iraq" but "don't think it will win."
On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell uncritically reported President Bush's statement that progress in Iraq can be measured "in megawatts of electricity delivered" and "in terms of oil sold on the market on behalf of the Iraqi people." O'Donnell failed to note that most of the country has electricity for less than half the day and that oil output has remained below prewar levels since the U.S.-led invasion.
Fox News host Alan Colmes noted that the Bush administration failed to eliminate former Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before the start of the Iraq war, despite having had at least three opportunities to do so. Media Matters previously documented that coverage of al-Zarqawi's June 8 death on major cable channels and the broadcast networks neglected to mention reports from 2004 that Zaraqwi could have been eliminated much earlier.
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Broadcast networks covering the news that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald reportedly told White House senior adviser Karl Rove that he does not anticipate charging Rove in connection with the CIA leak investigation left out key information concerning Rove's conduct and the false and misleading information put out by the White House concerning the matter. Rove's history of falsely claiming that he was not involved in disclosing CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity was ignored or downplayed, as was the White House's false denials of Rove's role.
During his interview with Bill O'Reilly, NBC Today host Matt Lauer joined O'Reilly in serving up conservative misinformation to Today viewers. In questions he posed to O'Reilly, Lauer suggested that Democrats would play a "dangerous" "troop withdrawal game" in Iraq, and that if detainees were released from the U.S. prison facility at GuantÃ¡namo Bay and went on to commit terrorist acts, "we've got an international Willie Horton on our hands."