On Glenn Beck, Howard Kurtz said that Keith Olbermann has described Fox News as a channel that "poses as a news organization and puts out dangerous misinformation [and] is a cheerleader for the Bush administration, that it is misinforming our society." Kurtz added: "But you know what? They're entitled to do that."
Supporters of the Iraq war -- rather than waiting for testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on the effect of President Bush's troop increase in Iraq -- have engaged in a campaign to convince the media and public that progress is being made in Iraq and that the "surge" is "working." Media Matters has compiled some of the most pervasive myths and falsehoods advanced by opponents of withdrawal in service of the "surge is working" message, which many in the media have been complicit in perpetuating.
During a discussion about U.S. efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, Wolf Blitzer did not ask presidential homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend about the cease-fire agreement between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and pro-Taliban leaders in Pakistan's tribal areas, which the Bush administration reportedly "reluctantly endorsed."
On Hannity & Colmes, Republican pollster Frank Luntz cited Republican focus group responses to an exchange over Iraq policy between Mike Huckabee and Rep. Ron Paul, and, echoing Huckabee's assertion about needing not "to lose our honor," declared: "Clearly, principle won out in this exchange." Luntz cited no evidence that the focus group participants favored Huckabee's comments because they thought that the comments -- in contrast with Paul's -- were based on "principle." In fact, Paul's position on the Iraq war has been consistent, though originally sharply at odds with public opinion.
CNN's Jessica Yellin uncritically reported Sen. Mitch McConnell's claim that a recently released report on the Iraq war by the Government Accountability Office was "not equal" in significance to an upcoming report from the Bush administration because the administration's report "is written into law." In fact, the GAO report is required by the same law as the president's report.
In recent days, NBC, CNN, and Fox News have all aired reports or discussed the case of Norman Hsu, who The Wall Street Journal suggested may have funneled illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Hillary Clinton. However, when Mitt Romney's national finance committee co-chairman Alan Fabian was charged with mail fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice, the three networks did not report or discuss it during programs available in the Nexis database.
CNN's Christine Romans repeatedly claimed that American troop deaths in Iraq "are down this summer" and also reported that "[t]he Pentagon today is citing the surge in Iraq as a reason for a drop in troop deaths this summer." However, statistics compiled by the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count show that the 260 U.S. troop deaths in Iraq during June, July, and August 2007 make this the deadliest June-August of the Iraq war for U.S. troops.
Continuing a pattern of uncritically calling Sen. John McCain a "maverick" and a "straight talker," CNN's Wolf Blitzer and MSNBC's Chris Matthews suggested that, because McCain has called on Sen. Larry Craig to resign, he is espousing "straight talk from the Straight Talk Express" and "is very much the maverick" -- despite other Republicans having called for Craig's resignation as well.
In the only coverage that CNN has given to Tucker Carlson's August 28 comments, Jeanne Moos said of Sen. Larry Craig's arrest during an investigation of "lewd conduct": "It's causing commentators to tell personal stories you'd never expect. MSNBC's Tucker Carlson described how he was once bothered in a men's room." Moos then aired a brief clip of Carlson explaining how he responded to being "bothered": "I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and ... [h]it him against the stall with his head, actually!"
In an interview with Sen. Chuck Schumer, CNN's Wolf Blitzer omitted the context from Sen. Hillary Clinton's remarks that "[w]e've begun to change tactics in Iraq, and in some areas -- particularly in Al Anbar province -- it's working," to assert that "even some Democrats are now suggesting that maybe the military part of the troop buildup, the so-called surge, is making some progress." But Clinton was attributing successes in Al Anbar to a change in tactics, not President Bush's so-called "surge" strategy.
In airing President Bush's assertion that "[s]ectarian violence has sharply decreased in Baghdad. The momentum is now on our side," CNN's Ed Henry gave no indication that he attempted to verify Bush's assertion. By contrast, recent articles by the Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers have challenged claims about decreases in violence in Iraq.
Discussing replacements for outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Larry Sabato asserted that if President Bush nominates Michael Chertoff, "[u]ndoubtedly, the Democrats are going to revisit Katrina. They're going to use the nomination hearings ... to talk about something that happened two years ago in a completely different realm, but that's politics." Similarly, Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez, apparently referring to a potential Chertoff nomination, stated that the "Democrats have already announced this is going to be another piece of political theater," adding that they "want to rehash Katrina, different allegations, start more investigations."