During the "All-Star Panel" segment on Special Report, the Washington Examiner's Bill Sammon and Roll Call's Mort Kondracke blamed the Louisiana state and local governments for their handling of Hurricane Katrina while excusing or ignoring the failures of the federal government. Sammon concluded that "to the extent that anybody failed [during Katrina], I think it was state and local, and in this case [the California wildfires], the state and locals have stepped up." However, two congressional reports -- while not excusing the state and local governments -- extensively detailed the federal government's failures in its preparation for and response to Katrina.
On Special Report, The Washington Examiner's Bill Sammon asserted that, in contrast with Sen. Barack Obama's recent statement, President Bush said at a press conference, "[W]e'll go after terrorists in Pakistan, but we'll work with Musharraf to do that," as Sammon put it. In fact, Bush refused to give a direct answer about whether he would pursue terrorists in Pakistan without Musharraf's consent, and he has given conflicting statements on this issue in the past.
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In the wake of the recent thwarting of an alleged terrorist plot in Britain, numerous media outlets have posed the question of whether news of the event would benefit President Bush, often letting conservatives or Republican officials spin the news in favor of the administration. Many of the reports neglected to consider whether the news could actually hurt Bush politically.
The White House released a series of statements, reportedly initiated by new press secretary Tony Snow, attacking specific media reports and editorials as misleading. Conservatives in the media have touted the statements as indicative of a new willingness on the part of the White House communications office, led by Snow, to call the press on its misinformation. But Media Matters for America has found that, of the six "Setting the Record Straight" releases issued from May 8 to May 11, at least four are highly misleading.
Fox News journalists and commentators repeatedly -- and baselessly -- cited a correction issued by CIA leak case special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald as evidence that the Bush administration had not "hyp[ed]" prewar intelligence and that reporters had "wrongly accuse[d]" President Bush of directing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to provide false information to reporters about Iraq's supposed nuclear program to justify the decision to invade Iraq.
On Fox News, numerous media figures asserted that Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) decision to resign from Congress will hurt Democrats' ability to campaign against congressional Republicans' record of corruption -- and DeLay's part in it -- during the November 2006 midterm elections. But such predictions overlook the widening ethics scandals involving DeLay and the Republican Party.
On C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Washington Examiner senior White House correspondent Bill Sammon claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court halted the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election by a 7-2 margin; and that a study of the 2000 presidential vote in Florida, commissioned by a consortium of major media outlets, "concluded essentially that [George W.] Bush would have won even if the Supreme Court hadn't stopped the counting." Both of these statements are false
Author and Washington Examiner senior White House correspondent Bill Sammon, apparently citing a September 2005 Gallup poll, stated that only "[t]hirteen percent" of respondents "blamed the federal government" for the lackluster response to Hurricane Katrina and that "the lion's share of the blame falls on the local and state officials." In fact, 31 percent of those surveyed said either that "George W. Bush" or "federal agencies" were "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane," compared with 25 percent who assigned the most blame to "state and local officials."
During Fox News' coverage of a February 13 White House press conference in which press secretary Scott McClellan was repeatedly asked about the administration's initial failure to inform the public of the incident in which Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot one of his hunting partners, Fox News political analyst Bill Sammon called the issue "a little bit of a tempest in a teapot."
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