Media outlets have uncritically reported the comments of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who, during interviews, have asserted that U.S. laws on detaining suspected terrorists should be modeled after British laws that allow the United Kingdom to detain a suspected terrorist for up to 28 days without charges. However, none of the media outlets noted the administration's expanded use of material witness warrants to detain people for indefinite periods.
After the recent arrests of terrorism suspects in the United Kingdom, numerous media outlets asked whether President Bush's approval ratings would benefit from the news or even claimed outright that his ratings already had benefited. Subsequent polling has shown the arrests resulted in little or no benefit for Bush. Media Matters now asks: Will these media outlets report on the true effect of the arrest on Bush's ratings?
In reporting on Sen. George Allen's use of the racially derogatory word "macaca" to refer to one of his opponent's campaign volunteers and his claim not to know what the term means or why he used it, the majority of media outlets left out a fact that might shed light on the claim's veracity -- Allen's mother was born and raised in Tunisia, a former French colony in North Africa, as Allen has repeatedly noted in the past.
Several media figures, including news reporters, echoed Republicans by employing the word "Democrat" as an adjective to refer to things or people of, or relating to, the Democratic Party.
CNN political analyst and former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts baselessly claimed that "Republicans aren't going to allow Democrats off the hook on national security" because the American public has "the perception that Democrats don't care about national security, just like they say Republicans don't care about poor people." In fact, polls show a significant decline in the advantage Republicans held on the issue of national security and indicate that Americans now trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle the "campaign against terrorism."
Since the recent U.K. terrorism arrests, numerous media outlets have suggested that the news would help increase President Bush's approval in the polls. In fact, the three major polls at least partially conducted since the arrests show little or no improvement in Bush's overall job approval rating.
On CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, radio host Roe Conn said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, "Is it a surprise to you that [former President] Bill [Clinton] was running out on her all the time?"
In appearances on CNN and Fox News, Pat Robertson claimed that comments he made about a stroke suffered by former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon had been "misquoted" and "misrepresented" by media. But in his remarks about Sharon, Robertson emphasized that, according to the Bible, "God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' " He went on to say of Sharon, "[H]ere he is at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course."
On CNN's The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Bay Buchanan's assertion that the public would not back Democrats if they pushed for a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq. An August 3 CNN poll found that 57 percent of Americans backed a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
On his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck aired a segment mocking the names of 11 Egyptian students who went missing on July 29.
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During their August 9 coverage of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, the three major broadcast networks' morning news programs interviewed Sen. Joseph Lieberman but failed to host the winner, Ned Lamont, or any of his representatives. Additionally, NBC's Today and CBS' The Early Show aired twice as much footage of Lieberman's statements following the election as they ran of Lamont's statements.
CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash twice uncritically reported that Republicans planned to cast a victory by businessman Ned Lamont over incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as evidence that Democrats are "defeatist" and "weak on security" because of Lamont's criticism of Lieberman's support for the Iraq war, but she did not point out in either of her reports that a majority of Americans oppose the Iraq war.
Discussing incumbent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's defeat in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, CNN host Anderson Cooper and senior political correspondent Candy Crowley both suggested that the election result shows that "moderates" or "centrists" cannot win a Democratic primary race. Their assertions are based on a false premise: that on the issue on which challenger Ned Lamont primarily ran -- the Iraq war -- Lamont's view that the United States should withdraw is one held only by liberals, and that Lieberman's opposition to withdrawal is the "centrist" position.
CNN's Candy Crowley reported that Sen. Joe Lieberman is "opposed to leaving [Iraq] before the job is done." But Crowley's description of Lieberman's stance on the Iraq war falsely suggested that those calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces want to abandon "the job" of establishing a stable, secure, and democratic Iraq.
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