Recent media coverage of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has focused largely on his presumptive bid for the 2008 Republican nomination for president. Certain media outlets, however, are seemingly reluctant to look past Giuliani's reputation as "America's mayor" and note that Giuliani's career as a political figure -- both before and after the 9-11 attacks -- has been marked by numerous controversies and incidents that, at the time, were considered politically damaging.
New CNN Headline News hire Glenn Beck defended with falsehoods his September 9, 2005, on-air statement that "when I see a 9-11 victim family on TV or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh, shut up!' I'm just so sick of them because they're always complaining." Beck claimed that he was merely drawing an analogy between the 9-11 families "complaining on television" and the looters in New Orleans "that are stealing the televisions" because both groups are "trying to benefit from the tragedy." In fact, Beck did not specifically criticize looters in his 2005 remarks but, rather, referred to "those who were left in New Orleans, or who decided to stay" as "scumbags."
After airing a clip of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld being questioned by an audience member at an event in Atlanta about his prewar statements regarding Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, CNN's Wolf Blitzer went on to conduct "some quick fact-checking," noting Rumsfeld's comment on March 30, 2003: "We know where they [WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Nonetheless, Blitzer then referred to the audience member's criticism as "anti-Rumsfeld ranting."
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Right-wing radio host Glenn Beck is set to host a one-hour talk show as part of CNN Headline News' prime-time programming, beginning May 8. Media Matters for America has previously questioned CNN's decision to hire Beck and now offers a compilation of Beck's latest outrageous statements.
CNN's Lou Dobbs raised the question of whether it was a reflection of the mainstream media's purported "liberal bias" that Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert's lampooning of President Bush at the White House correspondents' dinner "was not more heavily criticized." But Dobbs's assumption that the media tilts to the left is contradicted by the imbalance on his own show, which regularly hosts far more conservative guests than liberal ones.
Following the White House Correspondents' dinner, numerous news outlets trumpeted President Bush's performance at the event, but entirely ignored the scathing routine delivered by the night's featured entertainer, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert. In his act, Colbert mocked the White House's current woes, slammed a wide range of Bush administration policies, and lampooned the mainstream media.
Glenn Beck claimed that there are three reasons that an illegal immigrant "comes across the border in the middle of the night": "One, they're terrorists; two, they're escaping the law; or three, they're hungry. They can't make a living in their own dirtbag country."
CNN's Dana Bash falsely claimed that a controversial provision inserted into an emergency spending bill by Mississippi Republican Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran would fund a rail line that Lott and Cochran "want to be built." In fact, the $700 million appropriation would fund the senators' efforts to move the existing CSX freight line despite the fact that, following Hurricane Katrina, CSX rebuilt the line at a cost of between $250 million and $300 million.
On April 24 and 25, CNN and ABC reported that congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, were calling for President Bush to investigate possible price gouging by the oil industry. But none of the reports noted that Democrats had previously called for a price-fixing probe, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, who had called for such an investigation at a press conference a week earlier.
In reporting on President Bush's announcement that he would suspend fuel deposits into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to reduce rising gasoline prices, numerous news outlets failed to note that Bush had previously criticized both the Clinton administration and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for proposing to use the reserve to lower prices.
On CBS' 60 Minutes, former high-ranking CIA official Tyler Drumheller proved that the Bush administration dismissed clear-cut evidence undermining President Bush's central case for war -- that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. But in the nearly two days since this explosive report aired, the media have almost entirely ignored the story.
CNN's Lou Dobbs allowed Rep. Peter King to advance a misleading Republican claim Dobbs himself had previously repeated on the program -- that Democrats bear responsibility for a controversial provision in the immigration bill passed by the House of Representatives that would make unlawful presence in the United States a felony.
Three days after CNN's Wolf Blitzer missed an opportunity to quiz CNN political analyst William Bennett about his comment that the journalists who recently were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their work publicly disclosing the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program and the CIA's alleged use of secret interrogation sites across the globe should not be rewarded but jailed, a CNN anchor finally asked Bennett about the controversial statement.