In their January 17 coverage of the Bush administration's "innovative" new approach to domestic surveillance, numerous television outlets called the development a "major change," a "sharp reversal," and an "about-face," but not one noted that the administration's explanations of its new approach have been highly ambiguous, leaving significant questions about the extent to which the administration is actually ceding authority to the courts.
Brit Hume asserted as fact that Lewis "Scooter" Libby was "not responsible" for leaking the information that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer. However, Libby's indictment alleges that he did discuss Plame's CIA employment with reporter Judith Miller before it was made public, and Miller herself reported this.
Fox News' Brit Hume said that the Associated Press "has been vindicated" over its report of six Iraqis who were purportedly burned alive, after the source for that article, Jamil Hussein, whose existence has been a subject of dispute among many conservative bloggers, was reportedly confirmed by Iraq's Interior Ministry to be an Iraqi police captain.
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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.
Several media outlets have reported that if Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who recently had brain surgery, were "incapacitated" or "unable to serve in any way," that South Dakota's Republican governor would be responsible for selecting his replacement. However, the U.S. Constitution does not provide for circumstances in which an "incapacitated" senator can be replaced.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume falsely characterized the Iraq Study Group's report as a "stay-the-course document" that "did not reject the president's policy on Iraq." In fact, the ISG report specifically states that "[c]urrent U.S. policy is not working, as the level of violence in Iraq is rising and the government is not advancing national reconciliation."
In recent days, Brit Hume, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck have all asserted that media bias was to blame for a dearth of coverage on the controversy surrounding Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke." To the contrary, the story has consistently been the top story on network- and cable-news broadcasts and has been the subject of front-page stories in most major newspapers.
Fox News' Brit Hume baselessly smeared House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), stating that she "is not a popular figure or respected figure nationally." Hume asserted that having Pelosi as speaker of the House "would not be terrifically positive" for "the possibility of Hillary Clinton being nominated or even elected in 2008," but he cited no specifics to support this claim, and recent public opinion polls do not back up his suggestion that the public has formed a negative view of Pelosi.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume asserted that there is a "difference" between the Democratic and Republican parties because former Republican Rep. Mark Foley is "out of office and in total disgrace in his party" after allegedly engaging in sexually explicit communications with underage congressional pages, while President Bill Clinton and Rep. Barney Frank were not similarly reprimanded for their "inappropriate behavior." However, neither the Clinton nor the Frank allegations involved minors.
Brit Hume reported claims by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that "security has actually improved in the last year" in the country, citing the decrease in car bombings in Baghdad. But Hume did not cite recent reports showing a marked increase in the number of civilian casualties and attacks in Iraq in recent months.