On Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, boxing promoter Don King claimed that the vast majority of African-Americans who supported Sen. John Kerry for president in 2004 did so "[b]ecause they didn't know any better." He also defended President Bush's handling of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, asserting that Bush is "is one of the best presidents we have ever had in the history of this country."
A Media Matters for America review has found that a July 24 report from a task force of the American Bar Association (ABA) on President Bush's use of so-called "signing statements" has been ignored by several media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, all three television networks, and Fox News prime-time shows. The ABA report concluded that Bush's practice of attaching signing statements to congressional legislation "weaken[s] our cherished system of checks and balances and separation of powers."
In an article on President Bush's threat to veto legislation expanding federal funding for stem cell research, Time magazine reported that "you could argue" that Bush "has made a career of ... holding fast to positions that many voters reject, as a sign of strength in these dangerous times." In fact, as Media Matters for America and many others have pointed out, Bush has a long history of reversing course on issues, particularly when it is politically expedient or necessary to do so.
Fox News' Megyn Kendall adopted the Bush administration's misleading defense of its controversial and frequent use of "signing statements" to challenge newly passed laws -- that throughout history, "presidents have often issued signing statements when they sign a bill into law." But Kendall failed to mention that Bush has, in his signing statements, challenged more individual statutes than all other previous presidents combined, and Bush has far more frequently used signing statements "to waive his obligation to follow" even clear provisions in the law he just signed.
Following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the news that Karl Rove would not be indicted in the CIA leak case, and other events, media figures have declared that the Bush administration is experiencing "a surge of momentum." But such assertions ignore the White House's numerous current problems.
Rush Limbaugh downplayed President Bush's low approval ratings by falsely claiming that former President Bill Clinton "was down in the 20s at one point" and suggesting that Clinton had "parallel poll results" to Bush during the equivalent point in his second term. In fact, Clinton's approval rating never dropped below 36 percent, and remained above 58 percent in the Gallup poll throughout 1998, the equivalent year in his presidency to 2006 for Bush.
On Fox News' The Journal Editorial Report, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Robert Pollock said that "at some point, we're going to have to come to a realization that negotiations" with Iran over that country's apparent nuclear programs and apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons are "not responsible" as a course of action but are, "in fact, a dereliction of the president's fundamental duty, which is to defend the American people."
Loading the player leg...
Fox News' Jim Angle uncritically reported Karl Rove's assertion that President Bush's "personal approval rating is around 60 percent." In fact, recent polling shows that Bush's favorability ratings have been in the 30s and 40s in 2006, not the 60s.
Major media outlets have largely ignored reports by The Boston Globe's Charles Savage documenting President Bush's apparent willingness to disregard congressional authority through the use of "signing statements" asserting "that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution." The media have also ignored the response by Democrats to Savage's reports.
Chris Matthews left unchallenged Family Research Council president Tony Perkins's false suggestion that President Bush has never "led the nation in prayer." In fact, Bush has issued 17 separate proclamations for a total of 25 national days of prayer since he took office -- including one in which he led the nation in prayer after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Robert D. Novak claimed that "Bush has explained that he has not vetoed any spending bills because they [Congress] generally follow his overall limits even though individual earmarks are unacceptably high." Bush, however, has stated in unqualified language that Congress has "met those targets" he has set for spending and has declared his willingness to veto "if they overspend," despite the fact that Congress has -- on at least one occasion -- exceeded Bush's limit by billions of dollars.
On Special Report with Brit Hume, NPR's Mara Liasson, again asserted, in defiance of NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, that "whenever there's any kind of a contest or a contrast between the person at the podium in the White House briefing room and the press corps, the press corps generally loses. ... I think that happened in this case, too." Dvorkin has previously admonished NPR reporters for going on programs "that are looking to appear fair and balanced" and expressing their opinions rather than simply recounting what their reporting shows.
Bill O'Reilly repeatedly accused the "heavily liberal" media of "looking to undermine" the Bush administration "for their own ideological purposes." O'Reilly also declared that "with the rise of the internet" the "far left now dominates the liberal agenda. ... To these Kool-Aid drinkers, no personal attack is out of bounds, no distortion too dishonest to use. They're all about the end justifying the means."
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz described Democrats' use of the term "incompetent" to describe President Bush as "an act of political cowardice," adding, "voters can smell that kind of cowardice a mile off." But a poll by the Pew Research Center reported that "incompetent" was the most frequently cited one-word description for Bush, and that, overall, negative impressions of Bush -- measured by respondents' selection of words such as "incompetent," "idiot" or "liar" to describe Bush -- outweighed positive ones, 48 percent to 28 percent.
In discussing Sen. John McCain's endorsement of President Bush in the March 9-12 Southern Republican Leadership Conference presidential straw poll on MSNBC's Hardball, Chuck Todd, editor in chief of the National Journal's The Hotline weblog, asserted that, for McCain, "right now, rallying around the president is the maverick thing to do."