Major media outlets offered intense coverage of conservative complaints about a 2003 miniseries on Ronald and Nancy Reagan, ultimately leading CBS to pull the show from its broadcast network. The media have thus far not provided the same level of coverage to an ABC miniseries about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that reportedly contains outright falsehoods and distortions.
In conjunction with ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11, Scholastic and ABC have released a "Discussion Guide for the Classroom" aimed at high school teachers nationwide to "[e]ncourage your students and their families to watch The Path to 9/11 and use the accompanying" discussion guide as part of their lesson plan. A Media Matters for America review of the material finds it to be rife with conservative misinformation.
While discussing ABC's upcoming miniseries The Path to 9/11, terrorism expert Roger Cressey countered a series of false assertions by James Hirsen and Richard Miniter relating to the Clinton administration's role in the lead-up to September 11 attacks.
Several members of the media have complied with the Bush administration's efforts to rebrand the "global war on terror" by adopting the administration's newest catchphrase: Islamic fascism.
In recent reports, the Associated Press claimed that Republicans in Congress will use "their strength" by highlighting national security issues, and National Public Radio asserted that they will hold a vote on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to "embarrass" Democrats. However, the AP's most recent poll found that respondents trust Democrats more than Republicans to do a better job protecting the United States.
On September 5, both CNN's Ed Henry and the Associated Press' Merrill Hartson reported that President Bush's September 5 speech regarding the fight against terrorism was an attempt to fight American "complacency."
On Hardball, Norah O'Donnell purported to "challenge" Ron Reagan's criticism of Donald Rumsfeld's comparison of Iraq war critics to Nazi-era "appeasers," asking, "[W]ould [a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq] not essentially hand a victory to the terrorists?"
Several media figures and news outlets have uncritically repeated or lent credence to the false Republican talking point that Democrats, for all their criticism of the Bush administration's Iraq war policy, have no plan of their own to deal with Iraq, terrorism, and national security in general. In fact, Democrats have offered several plans for addressing various issues related to U.S. involvement in Iraq and national security.
On Hannity & Colmes, Newt Gingrich stated that Donald Rumsfeld's likening of Iraq war critics to Nazi appeasers was "not an insulting comment." Gingrich also repeated the misleading claim that the United States "found over 700 chemical warheads and weapons in Iraq, which supposedly had none, according to our friends on the left."
Following the disclosure by Newsweek that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was columnist Robert Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity, a Washington Post editorial asserted that this revelation proved "untrue" the notion that White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to reporters in an effort to "ruin [Plame's] career" and "punish" her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
On Your World, Neil Cavuto failed to challenge Dan Bartlett's straw man argument that "nobody has suggested that or directly said that Saddam Hussein ordered" the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In fact, no one is accusing the administration of claiming that Saddam ordered the terrorist attacks; rather, critics point out the Bush administration's repeated attempts to link Iraq and 9-11 more generally.
In anticipation of ABC's docudrama The Path to 9/11, the right-wing media have resurrected a debunked claim that attempts to place blame for the 9-11 attacks on the Clinton administration. Specifically, a review of the miniseries on the right-wing website Human Events Online asserted that the Clinton administration erected a "wall" to prevent information-sharing between government agencies. In fact, the "wall" long predated Bill Clinton's presidency.
Discussing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's performance before, during, and after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with author Wayne Barrett, Norah O'Donnell asked Barrett: "[Y]ou can't honestly say he [Giuliani] could have predicted that that area [the World Trade Center complex] would have been attacked?" In response, Barrett pointed out that the World Trade Center complex "was at the top of the vulnerability list that [Giuliani's] own police department prepared."
Norah O'Donnell incorporated the White House and Republican talking point that Democrats do not have a strategy to change course in the war in Iraq by asserting that "the thing that perplexes many about the Democratic Party is, what is the alternative?" Later, O'Donnell asked if "part of the problem that the Democrats have is that they don't have a message to respond to the president."