Media Matters documents the misleading or false claims advanced by media figures and Bush administration supporters in the wake of news that the National Security Agency had since 2001 been secretly collecting records of phone calls made by millions of Americans.
On CNN's Live From, CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry suggested that only Democrats are criticizing the just-exposed National Security Agency program that collects phone call records of millions of Americans, as first reported by USA Today. Henry ignored immediate questions and criticism from prominent congressional Republicans such as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (PA), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (SC), and House Majority Leader John Boehner (OH).
NBC's Lisa Myers and CNN's David Ensor both asserted that data collected by the National Security Agency through a just-exposed program include only "phone calls made and received, but not customers' names and addresses." But they failed to inform viewers about a key point made by USA Today, which broke the story -- that the NSA can easily obtain this information through other databases.
Commenting on the two Vietnam veterans who recently mailed their military decorations to President Bush in protest over the administration's foreign policy, Miles O'Brien asked: "[I]s it the patriotic thing to do?" He also said, "If I were a soldier in Iraq ... I would feel somewhat betrayed to hear that veterans were doing this. Is that, in some way, not showing support for the men and women who are risking their lives over there?
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Glenn Beck devoted the opening monologue of his CNN Headline News show and first guest interview to an attack on illegal immigrants, suggesting that they are "try[ing] to conquer our culture." Later, Beck said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "sounded ... a lot like Michael Moore" in a letter to President Bush and suggested that an appropriate punishment for convicted 9-11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui would be having sexual relations with syndicated columnist Helen Thomas and actress Bea Arthur, "with David Hasselhoff singing." Finally, Beck again complimented CNN Headline News anchor Erica Hill's physical appearance.
On the May 8 premiere of his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck devoted a segment to misrepresenting and attacking a University of California-Berkeley study for finding that children with more positive personality traits tend to develop more liberal political leanings, while children with negative personality traits more often develop conservative views. Beck also mocked one guest, author Eric Schlosser, and subjected another -- CNN Headline News anchor Erica Hill -- to a number of sexually suggestive comments.
CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed Glenn Beck to discuss immigration. Even though Beck asserted during the interview that he has "no problem with immigrants coming in" to the United States, Cooper neither noted nor asked Beck about recent comments he made regarding illegal immigrants, Mexicans, and Mexico.
A Christian Science Monitor article cited a May 3 Zogby poll that found "[b]y a 2 to 1 margin" likely voters prefer the more punitive, enforcement-only immigration bill passed by the House in December over the comprehensive proposals currently being considered by the Senate. CNN host Lou Dobbs also cited the poll to claim that "voters overwhelmingly believe the House of Representatives has a better plan than the Senate." But the Zogby poll -- which was commissioned by an anti-immigration group -- misrepresented both proposals, and most polls on the issue run counter to Zogby's conclusions.
On the May 5 edition of his radio program, Glenn Beck aired a mock commercial for a fictional amusement park called "Cinco de Flag," that touted rides such as the "tractor-trailer run," in which "[w]e simulate an 18-wheeler full of illegal immigrants trying to cross the border when the INS breaks in."
During an interview on CNN Headline News' Nancy Grace, right-wing radio host and new Headline News hire Glenn Beck said of himself, "I like to say I'm a work in progress, a recovering scumbag."
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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.