On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz continued his pattern of raising the issue of media bias by repeating conservative claims in the form of questions when he asked on November 12 if "journalists [are] quietly rejoicing over the Democratic takeover of Congress." He then wondered: "[W]ill they cover Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as aggressively as they once scrutinized Newt Gingrich?"
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In reporting that Sen. Mel Martinez had accepted an offer to become chairman of the Republican National Committee, CNN's John King failed to mention Martinez's admission in April 2005 that his office had authored a memo touting the Terri Schiavo case as "a great political issue" for Republicans because "the pro-life base will be excited" and it "is a tough issue for Democrats." King also ignored the controversies surrounding Martinez's 2004 Senate campaign.
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.
Media figures have attributed Democratic gains in the House and Senate in the midterm elections to the number of wins by conservative or moderate Democratic challengers and have suggested that because the party's victory in the House was purportedly "built on the back of more centrist candidates," the incoming Democratic majority will be sharply divided. However, a Media Matters for America survey of the policy positions of 27 victorious House candidates found that they all agree on a core set of issues, including raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security.
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CNN's Wolf Blitzer again failed to identify a member of Sen. George Allen's campaign who spoke favorably of Allen; this time, Mary Matalin, who was identified as a "Republican Strategist," on-screen, while Blitzer called her an "informal adviser" to Dick Cheney and "close family friend" of the Cheneys. Blitzer also failed to challenge Matalin's repetition of the GOP smear that Nancy Pelosi has gone into hiding in the week before the midterm elections.
During Tony Snow's recent series of appearances on cable news channels, interviewers on CNN and Fox News left unchallenged a number of false, misleading, and baseless Republican talking points on a variety of issues. After allowing Snow to misrepresent the Democratic position on the surveillance and detention of suspected terrorists, CNN host Wolf Blitzer told Snow that he is "a straight shooter."