A Drudge Report headline, which linked to an Associated Press article by John Solomon and Kathleen Hennessey, misrepresented a business transaction involving Sen. Harry Reid as a "sweetheart land deal." Rush Limbaugh read the AP report on his radio program, praising Solomon as "an AP writer that I have trusted. John Solomon's stuff is good." However, as Media Matters for America has documented, Solomon has a history of misleading reporting on Senate Democrats.
The scandal surrounding the sexually explicit electronic communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to underage former congressional pages -- and the House Republican leadership's alleged cover-up of Foley's behavior -- have produced a wave of misinformation. To aid members of the media in covering the scandal, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of the top myths, falsehoods, and baseless assertions surrounding the controversy.
In reporting on House ethics committee chairman Doc Hastings's announcement that the committee would investigate the scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley, numerous media outlets ignored questions regarding Hastings's appointment as chairman in February 2005 and his conduct since taking over the post.
In reporting that North Korea has recently declared that it intends to conduct its first nuclear weapons test, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times failed to note that North Korea's nuclear arsenal has grown significantly during the Bush administration.
Media outlets that uncritically reported House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) recent claims -- that Democratic operatives knew "all along" of Rep. Mark Foley's (R-FL) alleged behavior toward underage congressional pages and have orchestrated the ongoing scandal -- ignored media reports that the source for Foley's emails was a Republican.
In reporting on the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, a number of media outlets have reported simply that the House Republican leadership claims to have been aware only of "over friendly" emails Foley sent in 2005, without noting that House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert appeared to have made no effort to determine the actual content of the emails -- including one in which Foley wrote of an underage male page: "[H]es [sic] in really great shape."
In their coverage of the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, only a few major media outlets have noted that Foley is the third Republican congressman to leave office in scandal within the past year. A fourth Republican congressman, Rep. Bob Ney, has pleaded guilty to corruption charges but not resigned his seat.
The Associated Press and NBC's Nightly News uncritically reported Tony Snow's dismissal of the National Intelligence Estimate's findings that the Iraq war has fueled terrorism. Snow claimed that the NIE is "a snapshot ... of what's going on in the region." However, work on the NIE reportedly began in 2004, and, as CBS reported, the NIE "is really a forecast" that "analyzes the nature of the threat terrorist groups will pose during the next five years."
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.
In reports on the dispute over the Bush and Clinton administrations' anti-terrorism policies and their culpability in failing to prevent the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Associated Press and Newsday presented the two sides of the argument without exploring the factual basis for either.
In their coverage of the Clinton-Wallace interview, the media largely ignored the substance of former President Clinton's criticism of the Bush administration's efforts to combat terrorism, instead focusing on Clinton's behavior during the interview or the possibility that his reaction was motivated by politics.
At a White House press conference, President Bush described Americans who think the Iraq war has made the country less safe as "naïve" and rebutted claims that the conflict has contributed to the growing terrorist threat by repeating his illogical argument that "[w]e weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th." But reporters failed to challenge his non-responsive remarks, and several print outlets uncritically reported them shortly thereafter.
CNN and the Associated Press reported without challenge Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's misleading response to former President Bill Clinton's recent assertion that the Bush administration failed to adequately address the growing terrorism threat during the eight months prior to September 11, 2001.
The Associated Press' Bob Lewis advanced FactCheck.org's misleading analysis of a recent ad criticizing Sen. George Allen on his 2003 vote against an amendment that would have increased National Guard funding for modern body armor. Lewis cast doubt over the ad's veracity by repeating the misleading claim that body armor was "never mentioned" in the floor speech introducing the measure.