On Special Report, discussing controversial statements by Jeremiah Wright, Bret Baier claimed that "it seemed to take Barack Obama a long time to denounce" Wright's statements, while, Baier said, Sen. John McCain denounced controversial statements from his supporters "right away." However, McCain has yet to address controversial comments John Hagee has made about homosexuals, women, Islam, and slavery, or any of the controversial comments by pastor Rod Parsley.
On Special Report, Wendell Goler falsely asserted that "the president is trying ... to get the House to pass a permanent extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA]" and that "[t]he president threw down the gauntlet, said he's not going to accept any more extensions, that this act must be permanently renewed before it expires in two days." In fact, FISA is not set to expire February 15; the Protect America Act's revisions to FISA are set to expire.
On Special Report, Bret Baier uncritically aired President Bush's statement that "[i]f the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces" in Iraq. But neither Baier nor host Brit Hume noted that regardless of the level of security in Iraq -- as Wendell Goler reported on Special Report the previous day -- Bush's "military advisers have told him he can't keep the current deployment in Iraq beyond April or the Army itself will suffer."
In a report on the revelation that Vice President Dick Cheney exempted his office from an executive order requiring the executive branch to protect classified materials, Fox News' Bret Baier read a statement from the vice president's office in which it claimed that it "protects the nation's secrets from unauthorized disclosure," but Baier did not mention several recent controversies surrounding the handling of classified information by aides in Cheney's office.
Washington Post staff writer Peter Baker and Fox News' Bret Baier uncritically quoted President Bush's claim that "it has now been 57 days" since Bush asked Congress for more money to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, neither noted that in 2005 and 2006, the Republican-controlled Congress took significantly longer than 57 days to act on Bush's funding requests for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reporting on allegations by anonymous U.S. military officials that Iran is supplying explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) to Shiite fighters in Iraq, neither CBS' David Martin nor Fox News' Bret Baier mentioned that Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has reportedly said that he has seen no evidence directly linking the Iranian government to the EFPs in Iraq.
In a report on Sen. Bill Nelson's recent visit to Syria, Fox News' Bret Baier falsely suggested that "despite warnings and disapproval" from various administration officials, only Democratic lawmakers would defy the administration and meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He did not mention that Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican, is also reportedly expected to go to Syria.
Brett Baier reported that President Bush had "praised the report and the members on the Iraq Study Group [ISG] for tying any withdrawal to commanders' assessment of the conditions on the ground in Iraq." In fact, the ISG's recommendations run counter to Bush's policies and assumptions regarding U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
Reporting on President Bush's announcement of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, media outlets, with few exceptions, have avoided characterizing Bush's assertion the previous week that he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as a "lie" or intentional misrepresentation -- this, despite Bush's own admission of a deliberate deception. Some outlets even failed to acknowledge Bush's previous statement that Rumsfeld would stay on as defense secretary until the end of his presidency.
When Fox News' Brett Baier asked Tony Snow to comment on Sen. John Kerry's remarks on Iraq a day earlier, Snow "was clearly ready" to respond and attack, even providing a "fuller quote" of Kerry's statement -- although the comment had, at the time, appeared in only local media and on conservative radio shows and weblogs. This raises the question of whether Snow and Baier coordinated to push Kerry's comments into the national media.
Numerous media outlets reported without challenge President Bush's assertion that the "ultimate accountability" for the Iraq war "rests with me" -- some even asserting that he "took full responsibility for the war." But these reports ignored Bush's consistent pattern of deflecting questions regarding his judgments on Iraq by stating that he defers to others, including top generals, the intelligence community, and the Iraqi government, in making such decisions.