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.
On CNN's Larry King Live, right-wing activist and author David Horowitz again defended right-wing pundit Ann Coulter's recent attacks against widows of victims from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, declaring that "Ann has done us a service."
In their coverage of Ann Coulter's attacks on the widows of 9-11 victims, both Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz and ABC's Jake Tapper denounced Coulter's inflammatory rhetoric while asserting that her underlying point -- that Democrats deliberately put forward "infallible" advocates in order to squelch honest debate -- is "valid" and "perfectly acceptable." But a closer examination of the specific examples of "infallible" advocates cited by Coulter turns up evidence that, in every case, these individuals have faced strong Republican opposition and, quite often, ad hominem attacks from conservatives.
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On CNN Live Today, CNN reporter Mary Snow falsely claimed that "renowned forecaster" William Gray "accurately predicted last year's hurricane season better than the National Hurricane Center." Gray is a scientist from Colorado State University who has spoken against the notion that human beings are responsible for global warming.
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou Dobbs suggested that right-wing pundit Ann Coulter is the right-wing counterpart to filmmaker Michael Moore. Coulter responded, "I reject that. ... I think I am the right-wing [H.L.] Mencken, the right-wing Mark Twain. I am not the right-wing Michael Moore."
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During interviews with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on CBS' Face the Nation, Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, and CNN's Late Edition, the shows' hosts noted that the Bush administration's recent offer to hold direct talks with Iranian officials on its nuclear program is a significant shift for the White House. But none of the hosts asked Rice to explain why the shift in policy came now rather than in 2003, when the U.S. reportedly rejected an overture from Iran in which the country pledged to suspend its "endeavors to develop or possess WMD" in exchange for concessions from the United States.
Discussing U.S. negotiations with Iran over its purported nuclear program, CNN senior national correspondent John Roberts commented that "Iraq endured 11 years of sanctions, and, you know, we still had to go to war to get rid of what it was that they had." As professional journalists, host Wolf Blitzer and Roberts are undoubtedly aware that no weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear or otherwise -- were found in Iraq. Nevertheless, Blitzer responded: "Good point, John."
On NBC's Today, Philadelphia-based radio host Michael Smerconish falsely claimed that "no one died at Abu Ghraib" -- a detention facility operated by U.S. forces in Iraq -- and that the abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel at Abu Ghraib was merely "a lot of ridiculous actions ... carried out by nine knuckleheads." Additionally, in a report that aired repeatedly on CNN, senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre falsely reported that "[n]one of the abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib died." In fact, detainee Manadel al-Jamadi reportedly died at Abu Ghraib during an interrogation by CIA personnel on November 4, 2003. The Pentagon has labeled al-Jamadi's death a "homicide," indicating that it resulted from the treatment he received at the prison -- not from natural causes.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, conservative blogger Hugh Hewitt pointed to Rush Limbaugh as a model of the type of media figure that could help the mainstream media get Americans' "trust back."