Despite Sen. John McCain's numerous flip-flops, reversals, backtracks, and inconsistencies, the media continue to describe him with words such as "honest" and "authentic." Is there anything John McCain could do that would cause the media to stop portraying him as a "straight talker"?
Numerous media figures have asserted that a recent report purportedly identifying former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as Robert Novak's original source for Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative prove that Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were not involved in the leak of her identity. However, Armitage's role as Novak's first source is not inconsistent with Rove's and Libby's involvements in the leak -- both were original sources of the information for two other reporters.
The Washington Post reported that Republican activist and discredited former congressional staffer David Bossie had "earned a reputation as a relentless sleuth -- or right-wing hit man, depending on one's political persuasion." CNN host Kitty Pilgrim interviewed Bossie but made no mention of his highly controversial past.
On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Ken Mehlman's false claim that the American public is opposed to setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The two polls taken in August that asked about a timetable found that a majority of Americans support the idea.
CNN's Kitty Pilgrim uncritically repeated White House senior adviser Karl Rove's dubious claim that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program "might have prevented" the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In fact, the Bush administration had information on two of the 9-11 hijackers more than a year before the attacks occurred, and according to the 9-11 Commission and congressional investigators, it was primarily bureaucratic problems -- rather than a lack of information -- that resulted in their escaping detection.
Reporting on Sen. John McCain's press release restating his "determination not to leave Iraq," CNN's Wolf Blitzer completely ignored McCain's backtracking on his earlier criticism of the Bush administration's public statements about the Iraq war.
Various print and television news outlets discussing a House report of U.S. intelligence on Iran characterized the report as "bipartisan" without noting that it was primarily written by Republican staff members and came under criticism from House Democrats.
On his CNN Headline News program, in discussing the "politically correct world we live in," which, he said, will not allow "stereotypes or sensitive questions" to be broached, Glenn Beck claimed that Braille on walls (used to identify rooms for blind people) "drives me out of my mind."
The documentary CNN Presents: In the Footsteps of Bin Laden reported that the insufficient deployment of U.S. troops to Tora Bora in 2001 allowed the Al Qaeda leader to escape, but it failed to note investigative reporter Ron Suskind's recent disclosure that President Bush ignored specific warnings from the CIA that more troops were needed.
In reports on Hurricane Katrina survivor Rockey Vaccarella's August 23 appearance with President Bush, Fox News' Brit Hume and CNN's Carol Costello mentioned Vaccarella's praise for Bush's handling of the storm, but neither noted that Vaccarella once ran for local office as a Republican.
CNN's Kyra Phillips allowed Katrina survivor Rockey Vaccarella to repeatedly praise or deflect blame from President Bush over his handling of Hurricane Katrina, yet failed to note that Vaccarella once ran for local office as a Republican. Phillips also failed to challenge Vaccarella's various attempts to excuse the federal government's slow response.
McClatchy Newspapers misleadingly reported that legislation proposed by Sen. Arlen Specter is "intended to put the surveillance program under the jurisdiction of a special court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA]." In fact, under a deal reached between the White House and congressional Republicans on the legislation, the president has the option of asking the FISA court to review the program. CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin claimed that the Specter bill would "be a compromise" on the domestic surveillance program; many Democrats and progressives, however, have called the Specter bill an "end run" around FISA.