Several media outlets have reported that if Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who recently had brain surgery, were "incapacitated" or "unable to serve in any way," that South Dakota's Republican governor would be responsible for selecting his replacement. However, the U.S. Constitution does not provide for circumstances in which an "incapacitated" senator can be replaced.
On November 29, The Washington Post reported that incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to work with Democrats on parts of their agenda but failed to mention the decision by congressional GOP leaders to put off work on several government spending bills for fiscal year 2007 until Democrats take control of the Congress next year. The day after, in its profile of McConnell, The New York Times followed suit.
The Washington Post reported that incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "[s]ound[ed] a conciliatory note" and "vowed ... to work with Democrats" when they take control of Congress next year. But the article made no mention of the Senate Republican leadership's reported decision not to deal with several government spending bills for fiscal year 2007 in the lame-duck session, placing the burden on Democrats to finish them.
In a weblog post, ABC News' Jake Tapper reported that two Republican senators told Sen. Joseph Biden that they plan to "break with the White House Iraq strategy," but only after the midterm elections. Only three other media outlets have reported the disclosure.
The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press reported House Majority Leader John Boehner's suggestion that Democratic opponents of the GOP-backed detainee legislation were refusing to "work with Republicans." Neither outlet noted that Democrats had offered 15 amendments to the bill that were barred from consideration by the Republican-led House Rules Committee.
Matt Lauer failed to ask Sen. John McCain if he still trusts the White House to abide by the terms of a deal on detainee treatment, in light of President Bush's signing statement accompanying McCain's anti-torture bill in December 2005.
Washington Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a GOP bill that would essentially codify the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program. But Weisman ignored a bipartisan bill passed by the same committee that would reaffirm the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court approval for all domestic eavesdropping for foreign intelligence purposes.
Neil Cavuto claimed that incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman "is 12 points ahead in the polls right now" in the Connecticut Senate race. In fact, three polls taken after the poll that Cavuto apparently cited have shown a closer race.
In a New York Times article, Jennifer Medina wrote that "it was not clear" what Sen. Daniel Inouye was referring to when he issued a statement saying he "was most disappointed and unhappy when Senator [Joe] Lieberman remarked that the Democratic Party no longer represented the mainstream of America, and that the Democratic Party had lost its values" -- even though Medina had previously reported that Lieberman had pledged to "bring the Democratic Party back ... to the mainstream."
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "most Americans have no tolerance for what they call amnesty" in the Senate immigration bill, and Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich called the bill "absurd" because "it will be very unpopular." But recent polling almost universally shows that Americans support a path to citizenship -- provided for in the Senate bill -- for some illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
A New York Times article that reported on the divisions among Republican members of Congress over immigration reform failed to quote a single Democrat on the issue. By contrast, recent Times articles focusing on similar divisions among congressional Democrats have made sure to include Republicans' viewpoints.