CNN host and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz suggested that an account of the scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley on Harper's magazine's website is evidence that "Democratic operatives" were "involved in spreading the story to the press" and may have had "partisan" reasons for doing so. But Kurtz ignored the evidence in the Harper's article leading to its author's conclusion with "absolute certainty" that "there was never a plan to undermine the G.O.P. or to destroy [House Speaker J. Dennis] Hastert personally," as well as ignoring a report by his own newspaper, The Washington Post.
Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman has been inconsistent in his public statements about his relationship to disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In recent interviews, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and U.S. News & World Report staff writer Will Sullivan passed up the opportunity to challenge Mehlman about these inconsistencies.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux reported that President Bush "threw" Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) "a lifeline for the speakership" when Hastert "came out publicly, taking responsibility" for the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, but she ignored recent comments by Hastert that undermine his assertion that he is "taking responsibility" for the scandal.
CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight and the Washington Post editorial board devoted significant attention to "serious questions" surrounding a land deal involving Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, but both treated with relative nonchalance reports that Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert made almost $2 million on the sale of land in Illinois after taking an active role in the passage of a transportation bill that included an earmark for a highway project near the property.
Glenn Beck touted a slew of misleading numbers to claim that "half of the real news is being intentionally withheld from you" because the media have "an agenda" and "it seems like the agenda thing is working right now." But Beck's evidence for this "agenda" included a series of false and misleading claims about the economy and the war in Iraq.
Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's misleading statements about the Bush administration's justification for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- that there were "[t]oo many unanswered questions about [Saddam Hussein's] weapons of mass destruction program," despite the Bush administration's pre-war claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that "[i]n the post-September 11 environment, [Iraq] was a threat that needed to be dealt with."
The Washington Post, NBC, and ABC all uncritically covered Sen. John McCain's attack on the Clinton administration's North Korea policy, in which he argued that the 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea had been a "failure." All of these outlets ignored the fact, however, that the Clinton White House successfully prevented North Korea from producing any plutonium for eight years.
The scandal surrounding the sexually explicit electronic communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to underage former congressional pages -- and the House Republican leadership's alleged cover-up of Foley's behavior -- have produced a wave of misinformation. To aid members of the media in covering the scandal, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of the top myths, falsehoods, and baseless assertions surrounding the controversy.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, National Review contributor editor David Frum baselessly suggested that Democrats, unlike Republicans, "have the impulse to protect and shield their own when their own are guilty," comparing the Democrats' response to allegations that Rep. William Jefferson accepted bribes with the Republican leadership's handling of the Foley matter to make his point.
During separate interviews with former Clinton officials Gov. Bill Richardson and William Cohen, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked them to respond to what "some Republicans" are saying, that President Clinton was "duped" or committed a "huge blunder" in his negotiations with North Korea. By contrast, in his interview with Bush administration official Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state, Blitzer did not ask Hill to respond to Democratic criticism of the Bush administration's North Korea policy.
In their coverage of the Foley scandal's political effects, numerous media figures have suggested that conservative Christians are most likely to react negatively to the Foley scandal. In doing so, they presume that so-called "values voters" are more concerned than others with protecting children.
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Pat Buchanan baselessly asserted that there is "a large element of hypocrisy" in comments by an aide to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that if "we had seen Mark Foley's inappropriate emails or instant messages to House pages, we would have immediately acted to protect the kids" because Pelosi "has marched in gay pride parades in which they've had floats of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, which wants to eliminate all age of consent laws." Buchanan also called Foley a "flamer" and baselessly connected Democratic criticism of the handling of the Foley scandal to opposition to the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay scoutmasters.
During his interview with Virginia Democratic Senate candidate James Webb, CNN's Wolf Blitzer repeatedly pressed Webb about his position on women serving in combat and a 1979 article, in which he wrote that a U.S. Naval Academy* residence hall is a "horny woman's dream." By contrast, during his interview with Webb's Republican opponent, incumbent Sen. George Allen, Blitzer did not press Allen on his "aspersions" or "macaca" comments.