Media figures have attributed Democratic gains in the House and Senate in the midterm elections to the number of wins by conservative or moderate Democratic challengers and have suggested that because the party's victory in the House was purportedly "built on the back of more centrist candidates," the incoming Democratic majority will be sharply divided. However, a Media Matters for America survey of the policy positions of 27 victorious House candidates found that they all agree on a core set of issues, including raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security.
On November 6, all three major network evening news broadcasts pointed to "new polling" to assert that the midterm elections are "tightening." In doing so, these outlets ignored several polls released during the same period that indicate the gap between Democrats and Republicans is stable or widening.
The AP's Terence Hunt and NBC News' David Gregory both reported President Bush's "veiled swipe" at the Clinton administration's North Korea policy, in which Bush said, "I appreciate the efforts of previous administrations. It just didn't work." But neither noted that, following the Clinton administration's signing of the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, that country did not produce any plutonium until 2002, when the Bush administration abandoned the agreement.
ABC, NBC, and CBS reported that, during a recent press conference, President Bush stated that he is "open" to changing the administration's Iraq war policy, but did not note that, during that same press conference, Bush reiterated his claim that the United States will not "leave before the job is done."
The scandal surrounding the sexually explicit electronic communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to underage former congressional pages -- and the House Republican leadership's alleged cover-up of Foley's behavior -- have produced a wave of misinformation. To aid members of the media in covering the scandal, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of the top myths, falsehoods, and baseless assertions surrounding the controversy.
Reports on National Public Radio and NBC's Today uncritically repeated House Speaker Dennis Hastert's false claims that Democrats generated the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley. Similarly, an October 6 Washington Post article also failed to note reports that directly contradict Hastert's claims.
The Associated Press and NBC's Nightly News uncritically reported Tony Snow's dismissal of the National Intelligence Estimate's findings that the Iraq war has fueled terrorism. Snow claimed that the NIE is "a snapshot ... of what's going on in the region." However, work on the NIE reportedly began in 2004, and, as CBS reported, the NIE "is really a forecast" that "analyzes the nature of the threat terrorist groups will pose during the next five years."
NBC's David Gregory claimed that "no one questions whether this president has been tough on terror," and that "Democrats charge the U.S. is creating more terrorists because of Iraq." But several reports have called into question Bush's "toughness" in the war on terrorism, and contrary to Gregory's suggestion that only Democrats are claiming "the U.S. is creating more terrorists because of Iraq," that assertion is one of the "key judgments" of recently declassified portions of the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate.
Evening newscasts on ABC and NBC uncritically aired President Bush's nonsensical non-responses to questions about declassified portions of a National Intelligence Estimate; NBC and CBS presented misleading reports on the NIE's conclusions, both asserting that the declassified portion of the report at least in part backs up Bush.
A Media Matters for America review of 12 reports on network evening news broadcasts covering President Bush's speeches and statements on Iraq, terrorism, and national security policy in the week preceding September 11 showed that the reports included responses from just five Democratic officials.
NBC News and the Associated Press uncritically reported Vice President Dick Cheney's claim that the absence of an Al Qaeda attack in America since 9-11 is proof that the Bush administration has done "a pretty good job" or "a hell of a job" with counterterrorism. But neither outlet contrasted Cheney's assertion with investigative reporter Ron Suskind's recent disclosure that many CIA analysts believe Al Qaeda leaders have declined to attack the U.S. again for strategic reasons.
Despite Sen. John McCain's numerous flip-flops, reversals, backtracks, and inconsistencies, the media continue to describe him with words such as "honest" and "authentic." Is there anything John McCain could do that would cause the media to stop portraying him as a "straight talker"?
On NBC's Today, David Gregory provided Pat Buchanan a forum to discuss Buchanan's newly released book, which includes a claim that the United States must keep "Americans of European descent" from becoming the "minority" in order to "survive."
After a federal judge recently struck down the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program, some media figures have repeated the false Republican charge that critics of the program are opposed to wiretapping in general. In fact, critics of the program say that the Bush administration is violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by conducting surveillance of U.S. citizens and legal residents without obtaining a warrant from the FISA court
On Meet the Press, NBC News' David Gregory failed to rebut or question Sen. John McCain on several assertions he made on the show regarding Iraq, terrorism, and the Connecticut Senate race that were either false or open to challenge.