Several journalists and media figures have taken to describing Democratic criticism of the Bush administration's approval of a deal allowing state-owned Dubai Ports World to assume control of six major U.S. ports as an attempt by Democrats to move "to the right" of President Bush and Republicans in Congress on issues of national security. In fact, some of the Democrats who have most strongly denounced the deal have been among the most active proponents of enhancing port security since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, author Richard Miniter misrepresented the issues surrounding the Bush administration's approval of the takeover of six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World (DPW). Miniter falsely asserted that DPW "has gone through every security check" and that the deal "was thoroughly vetted by an interagency review." Miniter also insisted that in objecting to the deal, administration critics were displaying "anti-Arab bias."
Chris Matthews compared George W. Bush to Atticus Finch, the hero of the 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (Warner Books).
An article in The New York Times misrepresented the reasons cited by "Democrats and some Republicans" for criticizing the recent agreement to transfer control of terminals at ports in six U.S. cities to Dubai Ports World. In fact, members of Congress from both parties have accused the administration of flouting the law, which requires a 45-day investigation when the acquiring company is owned by a foreign government and the deal could affect national security.
An Associated Press article on the request by Dubai Ports World (DPW) that the U.S. government fully review the national security implications of the company's takeover of six U.S. ports did not note that DPW is owned by the government of Dubai. The article also omitted the fact that the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), in its original review of the DPW deal, declined to conduct the additional 45-day investigation that DPW is now offering to undergo and that critics of the deal say the law required originally.
Chris Matthews cropped a quote by Sen. Charles Schumer to suggest that Schumer had simply denied that his concerns about the Bush Administration's ports deal arose from any "anti-Arab suspicion." Schumer, as quoted by Matthews, said that his concern about the ports agreement "is not because the UAE is an Arab country." However, in Schumer's next sentence, which Matthews left out, Schumer spelled out the reason for his concern about the agreement -- he said it was "because the UAE has had involvements with terrorism."
In an apparent break with his February 20 pronouncement that "the only solution" to violence in Iraq "is to hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible" because "we just can't control these crazy people," Bill O'Reilly said on the February 23 broadcast of his radio show: "I haven't given up on Iraq."
CBS' Face the Nation featured New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman as a guest interviewer for a segment with White House national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, during which they discussed the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's ports deal with a member state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Rather than selecting an interviewer to challenge Hadley and the Bush administration's position on the ports deal, CBS instead chose Friedman, who two days earlier had written in his Times column that "the president is right" and "[t]he port deal should go ahead."
In reporting on the Bush administration's decision to approve the takeover of the British firm that manages six U.S. ports by a state-controlled Dubai company, articles in USA Today and The Washington Post obscured or misrepresented lawmakers' objections to the deal, failing to make clear that their criticisms center on the fact that the acquiring company is owned by a foreign government with what The New York Times editorial board has referred to as a "mixed" record on fighting terrorism.
A Washington Post editorial adopted several claims that the Bush administration has made in defense of its agreement to let a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) manage six U.S. ports, even though those claims are contradicted by the Post's own news reporting. News reports in the Post and The New York Times also cited without challenge the administration claims about the length of the review, even though their own previous reporting directly contradicted the claims.
NBC's David Gregory reported that the Bush administration "extracted extra security concessions from Dubai Ports World [DPW] as a condition for the $7 billion contract" through which the company would assume control of six major U.S. seaports. Gregory did not mention that these "extra security concessions" appear to be little more than pledges to comply with U.S. law, nor did he report that the administration exempted DPW from other obligations typically required by the United States.
Keith Olbermann crowned Bill O'Reilly the "Worst Person in the World" on both the February 22 and 23 editions of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, based on comments first noted by Media Matters for America. Olbermann also recognized Rush Limbaugh on February 23 for his assertion that Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter is "a girl."
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Fox News featured two onscreen captions during a segment on escalating violence in Iraq that read: " 'Upside' To Civil War?" and "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"
In reporting on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ports controversy, NBC's Brian Williams failed to inform viewers that Dubai Ports World is owned by the government of Dubai, a member of the UAE. NBC's David Gregory later indicated that the company is state-owned but entirely ignored the significance of this. In doing so, they obscured the source of the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's approval of a deal to grant the company control of six U.S. ports.
The Los Angeles Times, in two articles about the Dubai Ports World deal to acquire operational control of six U.S. ports, omitted reference to a U.S. law calling for further investigation of business deals with possible national security implications and to a government report sharply criticizing what it called an overly narrow application of that law.