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.
In reports on the Meet the Press debate between Sen. George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb, the Associated Press and The New York Times noted Tim Russert's questioning of Webb about his position in 1979 that "[t]here is a place for women in the military, but not in combat." However, both failed to mention that Allen also faced questions about his far more recent statements opposing the presence of women in combat.
Numerous print and television outlets uncritically reported President Bush's response to a reporter's question about a letter by former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in which Powell argued that "[t]he world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism." Bush stated: "If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic. I simply can't accept that." In fact, neither the question nor Powell's letter made any such comparison.
The Associated Press and CNN's The Situation Room reported on a press conference organized by Sen. George Allen, in which female Naval Academy graduates criticized challenger Jim Webb for a 1979 article in which Webb wrote, "There is a place for women in the military, but not in combat." However, neither outlet noted that Allen has also spoken against women serving in combat.
NBC News and the Associated Press uncritically reported Vice President Dick Cheney's claim that the absence of an Al Qaeda attack in America since 9-11 is proof that the Bush administration has done "a pretty good job" or "a hell of a job" with counterterrorism. But neither outlet contrasted Cheney's assertion with investigative reporter Ron Suskind's recent disclosure that many CIA analysts believe Al Qaeda leaders have declined to attack the U.S. again for strategic reasons.
Various news media have uncritically reported ABC's statement that criticism of The Path to 9/11 is "premature and irresponsible," because the film has not yet been finalized, even though the network reportedly said the previous week that the film was "locked and ready to air," screened the film at the National Press Club, and has provided preview copies to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and a number of right-wing bloggers.
New York Times and Associated Press reports about ABC's miniseries The Path to 9/11 described former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the 9-11 Commission, as a "senior consultant" for the film. But while both articles noted that Kean has defended the miniseries from those who have criticized its reported falsehoods, neither addressed whether Kean has been paid in his role as a consultant and promoter of the film.
In recent reports, the Associated Press claimed that Republicans in Congress will use "their strength" by highlighting national security issues, and National Public Radio asserted that they will hold a vote on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to "embarrass" Democrats. However, the AP's most recent poll found that respondents trust Democrats more than Republicans to do a better job protecting the United States.
On September 5, both CNN's Ed Henry and the Associated Press' Merrill Hartson reported that President Bush's September 5 speech regarding the fight against terrorism was an attempt to fight American "complacency."
Several media figures and news outlets have uncritically repeated or lent credence to the false Republican talking point that Democrats, for all their criticism of the Bush administration's Iraq war policy, have no plan of their own to deal with Iraq, terrorism, and national security in general. In fact, Democrats have offered several plans for addressing various issues related to U.S. involvement in Iraq and national security.
In two articles, Associated Press writer Andrew Miga wrote that Howard Dean "abandoned" Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman after his loss to Ned Lamont. In fact, Dean is upholding his pledge to support the winner of the Democratic primary in Connecticut.