Many television news outlets touted a USA Today/Gallup poll putting President Bush's job approval rating at 44 percent as a success for Bush, asserting that his rating is "the highest it's been in a year." But four days earlier, the same news organizations ignored a Pew Research Center poll showing Bush's approval rating at 37 percent.
Wolf Blitzer left unchallenged John Bolton's claim that "the Europeans have been saying, the Security Council has said, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said" that Iran must suspend its enrichment of uranium as "the precondition" for negotiations on its nuclear capability. But moments earlier, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux had reported that U.S. officials "will allow the Europeans to continue to talk with the Iranians."
In his recent interview with President Bush, Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Bush on his statement that he "[a]bsolutely" would give the order to pursue Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. In a previous press conference, Bush had asserted that the United States could not send troops into Pakistan to hunt for bin Laden unless it was "invited" to do so, because Pakistan is a "sovereign nation."
A Media Matters for America review of cable and broadcast networks and major newspapers showed no coverage of a September 17 front-page Washington Post report by Rajiv Chandrasekaran detailing the process by which many individuals who "lacked vital skills and experience" were assigned to positions in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq based on their "loyalty to the Bush administration."
On CNN's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz asserted that CBS News' "Jim Axelrod, and some of the other White House correspondents, sounded almost offended that Bush delivered what they considered to be a partisan speech on the 9-11 anniversary." But there was a reason reporters might have reacted as they did to Bush's speech: Before the address, the White House had repeatedly pledged that Bush's September 11 address to the nation would not be "political," but rather a "reflection" of what the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks meant to him and to America.
The Associated Press and CNN's The Situation Room reported on a press conference organized by Sen. George Allen, in which female Naval Academy graduates criticized challenger Jim Webb for a 1979 article in which Webb wrote, "There is a place for women in the military, but not in combat." However, neither outlet noted that Allen has also spoken against women serving in combat.
House Majority Leader John Boehner received widespread media coverage for his remark about Democratic colleagues: "Sometimes, based on the votes that get cast, you wonder whether they're more interested in the rights of the terrorists than in protecting the American people." Sen. Mary Landrieu responded to similar criticism in the Senate with an indictment of the Republicans' counterterrorism policies. Will the media highlight Landrieu's comments as they did Boehner's?
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, GOP strategist Ed Rollins asserted that Nancy Pelosi would not "get tough" on national security issues if she were speaker of the House because she "comes from San Francisco, one of the bastions of lawlessness in this country." However, in 2004, an independent research company ranked San Francisco as the ninth-safest of the 32 U.S. cities with a population greater than 500,000.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz suggested that "liberal hypocrisy" was inherent in Democrats' objections to ABC's "docudrama" The Path to 9/11. Kurtz highlighted radio host Michael Medved's criticism of Democratic objections to the film and appeared to adopt Medved's assertion that Democrats are seeking to "censor" the film. But Kurtz neglected to discuss the "hypocrisy" in the reaction to the film by some conservatives -- including Medved.
Hosts on CNN, ABC, and Fox News failed to raise key issues while interviewing Thomas H. Kean about his role as a senior consultant to the ABC's The Path to 9/11 -- specifically, the terms of his arrangement with ABC and the possible benefit of Kean's high-profile promotion of the conservative-skewed miniseries to the campaign of his namesake son, who is running as a Republican for a Senate seat in New Jersey.
Various news media have uncritically reported ABC's statement that criticism of The Path to 9/11 is "premature and irresponsible," because the film has not yet been finalized, even though the network reportedly said the previous week that the film was "locked and ready to air," screened the film at the National Press Club, and has provided preview copies to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and a number of right-wing bloggers.