Mary Matalin said discussion about Sen. Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, is "really about nothing" and responded that co-host Alan Colmes should "get a sense of humor" after Colmes requested that Matalin ask her "conservative friends to drop the 'Hussein.' " CNN's Jeff Greenfield had similarly claimed that he was joking when he likened the style of Obama's clothing to that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
On The Big Story, Fox News' Megyn Kendall reported that, during a speech, Sen. Patrick Leahy criticized the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, even though, she later claimed, he "doesn't know that much about" it. She later falsely suggested that "those who have been briefed on the program don't see any problem" with it. In fact, several members of the House and Senate committees have criticized the program.
On his television program, Bill O'Reilly asked "why," if children suffer no psychosocial deficit from being raised by same-sex parents, "wouldn't nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake?"
Neil Cavuto allowed Tom DeLay to repeat the common GOP claim that Democrats gained control of the House and Senate in the 2006 midterm elections by running candidates DeLay called "Republican-lites." In fact, all of the Democratic candidates who had won Republican-held seats backed central issues in the Democratic platform -- raising the minimum wage, changing course in Iraq, and opposing any effort to privatize Social Security.
In a report on Sen. Bill Nelson's recent visit to Syria, Fox News' Bret Baier falsely suggested that "despite warnings and disapproval" from various administration officials, only Democratic lawmakers would defy the administration and meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He did not mention that Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican, is also reportedly expected to go to Syria.
Several media outlets have reported that if Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who recently had brain surgery, were "incapacitated" or "unable to serve in any way," that South Dakota's Republican governor would be responsible for selecting his replacement. However, the U.S. Constitution does not provide for circumstances in which an "incapacitated" senator can be replaced.
Bret Stephens claimed that "a relatively small, very effective think tank," the Competitive Enterprise Institute, "has been consistently pointing out the flaws in some of the political conclusions that have been reached" about global warming. But contrary to Stephens' assertion about the quality of CEI's work, Media Matters has documented that two of CEI's television ads contained misleading statements about global warming.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume falsely characterized the Iraq Study Group's report as a "stay-the-course document" that "did not reject the president's policy on Iraq." In fact, the ISG report specifically states that "[c]urrent U.S. policy is not working, as the level of violence in Iraq is rising and the government is not advancing national reconciliation."
Following a confrontation between Tony Snow and NBC's David Gregory, numerous conservative media figures attacked Gregory, calling him "angry," "partisan," "grouchy," and "ignorant," and claiming that he is "doing this for personal gain."
Conservative media figures, including Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, have attacked both the members of the Iraq Study Group and its report: Kristol has called the report "an evasion" and "not a serious document"; Limbaugh asserted that ISG members are "doing everything they can to unite the American people" in "defeat" and "surrender"; while Beck has called the ISG report "Operation White Flag."
Brett Baier reported that President Bush had "praised the report and the members on the Iraq Study Group [ISG] for tying any withdrawal to commanders' assessment of the conditions on the ground in Iraq." In fact, the ISG's recommendations run counter to Bush's policies and assumptions regarding U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
On Special Report, correspondent Molly Henneberg uncritically aired Sen. James Inhofe's false claim that "[i]t was warmer in the '30s than it is today," and Inhofe's baseless assertion that "it was warmer in the 15th century than it is today."
Media Matters for America has identified six findings in the Iraq Study Group's report that major news outlets have largely overlooked. They include: that the Pentagon has significantly underreported the extent of violence in Iraq, that U.S. officials possess little knowledge about the sources of the ongoing attacks, and that the situation in Afghanistan has grown so dire that U.S. troops may need to be diverted there from Iraq.