Following a pattern on Fox's Special Report, Angle cropped Reid's quote to remove statement that "legal scholars" think Bush's wiretapping is "illegal"

››› ››› JOE BROWN

Fox News correspondent Jim Angle cropped a quote from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to falsely suggest that Reid did not agree with Sen. Russ Feingold that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program is illegal. Angle's report marked the second consecutive day that a reporter for Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume cropped a quote from one of Feingold's Democratic colleagues to falsely suggest that Feingold is alone in having legal objections to the program.

In a March 14 report on Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) resolution to censure President Bush for apparently violating the law by authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct surveillance of U.S. residents without a court order, Fox News chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle cropped a quote from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) to falsely suggest that Reid did not agree with Feingold that the warrantless domestic wiretapping is illegal. Angle omitted a portion of Reid's remarks -- made during a March 14 press conference -- in which the senator stated that "most legal scholars around the country think that what is going on [under Bush's program] is illegal," as well as an earlier remark from the same press conference, in which Reid said he personally believes the program is "illegal and unconstitutional." Angle's report marked the second consecutive day that a reporter for Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume cropped a quote from one of Feingold's Democratic colleagues to falsely suggest that Feingold is alone in having legal objections to a program that even many Senate Republicans agree violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Angle himself previously cropped a remark by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) to suggest that Kennedy did not believe the program is illegal.

Reporting on Feingold's Senate resolution, Angle stated that "even the Democratic leader seemed to argue [the program] should be ratified by Congress, not dismantled." Angle then aired a video clip from a March 14 press conference in which Reid stated that "the president should have the legal authority to do whatever is necessary to find out what these bad people [terrorists] are trying to do to America. He should have that authority." But Angle left out the next portion of Reid's remarks, in which he stated that "most legal scholars around the country think that what is going on [under Bush's wiretapping program] is illegal." In an earlier portion of the press conference, Reid had also stated that he personally believes Bush's wiretapping program to be "illegal and unconstitutional."

From Reid's March 14 press conference:

QUESTION: Senator, do you think the president broke the law [inaudible] warrantless wiretapping?

REID: As I've said before, I think what he is doing is illegal and unconstitutional based upon what I've read and what I've been told. Not told in any of the briefings that I've had.

But I think what we have before us now is a functionless Intelligence Committee. They refuse to look at pre-war, pre-9-11 intelligence manipulation. And now they have refused every step of the way to give the Congress the ability to find out what the president's doing.

On the Senate floor yesterday, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee [Arlen Specter (PA)], when asked questions in a colloquy he was having with another senator -- he was asked whether he thought the program was illegal, he says, "I don't know. I don't know what the facts are."

So as far as the Feingold resolution legislation, if it were handled properly what would happen is it was referred to the Judiciary Committee, and it was. And the Judiciary Committee should hold hearings on this, so that the American people and Congress can find out what's going on with the program.

[...]

QUESTION: Senator Reid, I'm wonder how you would react. Senator Feingold said to some of us that Democrats are cowering on the issue by not voting on the censure resolution. But your consultants are telling you that this particular issue is a losing issue. And he quoted that.

REID: Senator Feingold I don't think said it in the context that you talked about. Because there's no way to vote on it, I mean, at this stage. And I don't think Senator Feingold wants a vote until he has a hearing. He hasn't called for a vote on this immediately. That's one reason I protected him out there yesterday.

There is a process on legislation. And that's what the Senate is all about.

And first of all, understand on the NSA spying, the president should have the legal authority to do whatever is necessary to find out what these bad people are trying to do to America. He should have that authority.

And we have reached out to the president. We've reached out to the president and said, "Is there something we need to do to change the law?" Because most legal scholars around the country think that what is going on is illegal, that much that we know about it.

So there's not a question that Democrats don't believe these people should be able to be listened to. It's just that we believe it should be done legally.

From the March 14 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

ANGLE: Polls do show considerable support for the NSA program, and even the Democratic leader seemed to argue it should be ratified by Congress, not dismantled.

REID [video clip]: The president should have the legal authority to do whatever is necessary to find out what these bad people are trying to do to America. He should have that authority.

ANGLE: Democrats are torn between wanting to criticize the president on one hand, but on the other not wanting to torpedo a potentially valuable program to gain intelligence on terrorists. So, when frequent critics of the president were given another opportunity to embrace the Feingold effort today, they declined.

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Domestic Spying
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Jim Angle
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
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