Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "abolition of all anti-terror measures" is one of John Edwards's "major campaign themes." But in making that claim, O'Reilly ignored a recent speech in which Edwards called for "a comprehensive new counterterrorism policy that will be defined by two principles -- strength and cooperation" and suggested the creation of "a new multilateral organization called the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Treaty Organization."
Discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's new television advertisement, Howard Kurtz began an article: "In a stark, black-and-white ad that pictures her in a mask at Ground Zero, Hillary Rodham Clinton is treading on Rudy Giuliani's turf." Similarly, on CNN's American Morning, John Roberts said that Clinton's ad "really is a shot across Rudy Giuliani's bow to say, 'You're not the only one who has a claim to 9-11 here.' But is she going too far? Is she politicizing 9-11?" Roberts did not ask whether Giuliani, who has repeatedly discussed 9-11 in campaign settings, is "going too far" or "politicizing 9-11."
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, author Phil Kent asserted that "back in 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union, of all people, rejected some Ford and Rockefeller grants because of fear of terror links." Guest host Kitty Pilgrim did not challenge the claim. In fact, the ACLU has stated that it rejected funding from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations because their "restrictive funding agreements ... might adversely affect the civil liberties of the ACLU and other grantees."
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh claimed that he gets Sen. Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden "confused," stating that bin Laden's call in a newly released tape "to invade Pakistan and declare war on Pakistan and [Pakistani President] Musharraf ... puts him on the same page with" Obama. However, Obama has said he "never called for an invasion of Pakistan."
The New York Times stated that attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey "has repeatedly spoken out to support the administration's claim to broad powers in pursuing terrorist threats, especially in conducting electronic surveillance of terrorism suspects and in imprisoning them before trial." But Mukasey's ruling as a district court judge on the detention of terrorism suspects went beyond what the Times reported. In the case of Jose Padilla, Mukasey ruled that the government had the legal authority to imprison Padilla, a U.S. citizen arrested within the United States, without trial.
On CNN Newsroom, Marine Sgt. Marco Martinez claimed that "if we were to pull out prematurely, the terrorists would follow us home, and it would be disastrous for both us and Iraq," a statement that anchor Betty Nguyen did not challenge. As Media Matters has repeatedly noted, this claim is contested by a wide range of U.S. intelligence officials, security experts, and military analysts.
Among the reasons cited by Charles Krauthammer that Al Qaeda has not and cannot "hit us" is because the Bush administration has waged an "incredibly effective war in Afghanistan" that he said has "expelled Al Qaeda and scattered it, and has kept it off-balance for six years now." In fact, the July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Al Qaeda "has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability" including a "safehaven" in Pakistan. Krauthammer also credited "secret prisons and the interrogation which yielded and interrogated people like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed"; but even supporters of the CIA's interrogation and detention program reportedly acknowledge that much of the information that coercion produces, including information gathered from Mohammed, is unreliable.
On Meet The Press, Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody asserted: "At the end of the day ... this issue [terrorism] helps the Republicans more than the Democrats because they're going to be able to enforce this idea that the Democrats want to go at this with law enforcement and the Republicans don't." Neither Tim Russert nor his other guest, CNBC's John Harwood, challenged Brody's assertions; in fact, Democrats have offered strategies for fighting both Al Qaeda in Iraq and the main Al Qaeda terrorist organization.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume asked Juan Williams, "Who are we fighting there [in Iraq] now, Juan?" then answered his own question: "Al Qaeda in Iraq. They were there before we got there, and they're there now." In fact, U.S. military and intelligence officials have reportedly stated that Al Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, didn't pledge its loyalty to Osama bin Laden until October 2004, and isn't controlled by bin Laden or his top aides. Further, the 9-11 Commission found "no evidence" that contacts between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Al Qaeda "developed into a collaborative operational relationship" before the Iraq invasion.