Now that right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has been accused of numerous instances of plagiarism, will the many media outlets on which she has made recent appearances to promote her latest book continue to provide her with a platform to shout her twisted rants, and if so, will they confront her with these charges?
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
After featuring a segment in which he purported to explain why his CNN Headline News show "doesn't talk more about politics," Glenn Beck declared: "You get stupid people voting, you know who's president? John Kerry. No, I'm kidding." The following day, Beck stated that Democrats are now "so Hollywood in their approach, it's like they don't even understand the heartland of America." He later added that "I like George W. Bush," and vouched that Bush will "do what it takes to keep us safe and our families safe."
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In a commentary on CNN.com, Focus on the Family's James C. Dobson criticized senators who voted against a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage for "turn[ing] their backs" on the "most basic social institution" and mischaracterized the debate to baselessly suggest that there is strong public support for the amendment. But while some recent polls indicate that most Americans believe same sex marriage should be illegal, that was not the issue before Congress.
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Recent reports on the reported activation of the U.S. ground-based missile defense system have overstated its ability to defend against an actual attack and uncritically reported administration claims about its effectiveness. Government Accountability Office reports indicate that the system has no proven ability to shoot down a hostile missile.
While CNN continued to hype the divisions among Democrats on the issue of U.S. redeployment from Iraq, stemming from the debate over two Senate proposals on the issue, the network entirely ignored a recent display of dissention within the Republican Party, as did Fox News and MSNBC.
CNN's Paula Zahn told Sen. Joe Biden that the Democratic Party is "getting creamed as the party of cut-and-runners, the wobbly, the weak," adding: "[D]o you understand why that divisiveness compromises the credibility of your party?"
As Senate Democrats debate two proposals regarding U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, news outlets have gone out of their way to frame the Democratic differences over how soon to redeploy forces as politically favorable for the Republicans while not reporting that the Democrats' position is shared by a majority of Americans, that the war supported by Republicans is deeply unpopular with the American public, and that the GOP's alternative plan appears to involve remaining in Iraq indefinitely.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman's false attacks on Democrats over the Iraq war and immigration policy.
On June 18, The Washington Post published a cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq that detailed the deteriorating conditions observed in Baghdad in recent months. Despite the clear significance of the document, the media have almost entirely ignored its publication.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, CBS News contributor Gloria Borger acknowledged that the media "are suckers" because of their coverage of President Bush's surprise June 13 trip to Iraq. Borger concluded: "[Y]ou know you're being used, but in a way you kind of like it because it's good pictures."
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Numerous news outlets -- including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, ABC, and Fox News -- joined President Bush in highlighting a split among Democrats on the issue of the Iraq war. But in mentioning only the Democrats' disagreements, these outlets are promoting the false impression that there are not significant divisions among Republicans regarding the Bush administration's wartime policies.
Following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the news that Karl Rove would not be indicted in the CIA leak case, and other events, media figures have declared that the Bush administration is experiencing "a surge of momentum." But such assertions ignore the White House's numerous current problems.
After the release of a picture depicting White House counselor Dan Bartlett and press secretary Tony Snow wearing helmets and flak jackets while riding in a helicopter in Iraq, CNN chief national correspondent John King reported that President Bush also wore protective gear during the helicopter ride, but that members of the media "did not get to photograph" Bush because official personnel "didn't want us to get any pictures" of him entering or exiting the aircraft. In contrast, on Fox and Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and E.D. Hill claimed Bush wore no protective gear, but cited no evidence supporting their claim.