Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz presented Fox News' Brit Hume as the "Low-Key Voice of Conservatism on Fox News" who rarely -- if ever -- runs afoul of the facts on his nightly news program. Kurtz's profile of Hume largely ignored the numerous false and misleading statements Hume has made during his tenure as a Fox News host and commentator, and even presented some of Hume's falsehoods as the truth.
Introducing a report on illegal immigration, Fox News' Brit Hume told viewers that "some unintended consequences" had arisen from "President Bush's proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship." Bush, however, has offered no such proposal and has refused to say whether he would support an "earned citizenship" plan with bipartisan backing in the Senate.
Brit Hume asserted that the seven retired generals calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation are doing so exclusively "based on an old argument" about prewar planning for the invasion of Iraq, and that the generals are not linking their criticism of Rumsfeld to "what's happening now" in Iraq. But contrary to Hume's assertions, several of the generals have criticized what Rumsfeld is "doing now" in Iraq.
Brit Hume reported that the revelation that President Bush authorized I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to leak classified portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction had the "rare and unusual result" of bringing "together the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post." Contrary to Hume's claim, however, the Post editorial board has often expressed views shared by the Journal -- a frequent source of conservative misinformation.
CNN's David Ensor, reporting on the revelation that President Bush "authorized" the disclosure of classified portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate pertaining to Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction, simply asserted without elaboration that unnamed "experts" say Bush's actions were "legal," and that the president has "the right" to declassify such information. Similarly, Fox News' Brit Hume said that both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "have the legal authority under an executive order signed by the president to make public classified information. So that takes the unauthorized out of it." Neither Ensor nor Hume challenged the notion that the president has the authority to leak classified information, questioned whether Bush -- assuming he has that authority -- properly declassified the information, or made any effort to explore the ramifications of the president's exercise of that alleged authority.
In an interview with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), Brit Hume misleadingly claimed that the scandal involving former lobbyist and DeLay associate Jack Abramoff has resulted in "charges against one of" DeLay's former aides and "possibly against a second." In fact, two former DeLay staffers have pleaded guilty to felonies in connection with the Abramoff scandal, and a third former DeLay staffer is reportedly under investigation.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume echoed a previous comment by Rep. Tom DeLay, claiming that the Democratic Party is "as a whole, unserious about national security."
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Following recent demonstrations in which protesters marched against proposed legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers, some in the media have criticized the demonstrators for carrying Mexican flags. But these same media figures have not complained about people waving other nations' flags, such as Irish flags at St. Patrick's Day events, Italian flags at Columbus Day events, or Israeli flags at Israel Day events.
The campaign against purportedly biased reporting on the Iraq war -- forwarded by President Bush, White House officials, and array of conservative media figures -- has continued on the airwaves and in print.
In reporting on The Washington Post's decision to hire Republican activist Ben Domenech as a blogger on its website, Fox News' Brit Hume claimed that the Post hired Domenech "to quiet grumbling about liberal [Post] columnist Dan Froomkin." However, Hume ignored Domenech's own criticisms of Froomkin, including his labeling of Froomkin as a "hack," "a lying weasel-faced Democrat shill" and "one of the dozen or so people in the world" that he detests.
Fox News host Brit Hume and nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer misrepresented public support for the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program, claiming that Americans "overwhelmingly" support the program. In fact, while Americans generally support spying on suspected terrorists, polls consistently show that most Americans disapprove of conducting surveillance without seeking or obtaining a warrant.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume falsely claimed that Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) "has never said that he wasn't fully briefed" on President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program. In fact, in a July 2003 letter to Vice President Dick Cheney, Rockefeller stated that the briefing he received on the program left him "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse" the wiretapping program, and that "[w]ithout more information and the ability to draw on independent legal or technical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received" on the program. Hume acknowledged Rockefeller's letter but called it "one weak little, weird, sort-of-slightly-incomprehensible letter ... which was followed up by him in no way whatever."
Discussing immigration legislation, Brit Hume asked: "Is it fair to say the Republicans want these people to stay here so they can work, and Democrats want them to stay here so they can vote?"
A March 13 CBS News poll showed President Bush's approval rating at 34 percent -- unchanged from a February 28 CBS poll, despite a substantial increase in the number of Republicans polled relative to Democrats and independents. Conservative media figures attacked the earlier poll's validity, arguing that CBS' sample included a higher percentage of Democrats than they contended accurately reflected the general population. Now that CBS has released an updated poll showing that a roughly equal percentage of Democrats and Republicans produced the same approval rating for Bush, will the same media figures who denounced the prior poll report on the newest results?
An article in the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill made a poorly substantiated claim that "tax experts" believe that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonprofit government ethics watchdog group, may have violated IRS regulations governing nonprofit organizations by filing ethics complaints with the Justice Department and Federal Elections Commission against mostly Republican members of Congress. The claim against CREW was forwarded by Republicans, but the article downplayed the claim's partisan nature. In fact, no complaint has been filed with the IRS, and two of the three "experts" cited in the article demonstrated either incomplete or inaccurate knowledge of the issue.