Reporting on President Bush's announcement of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, media outlets, with few exceptions, have avoided characterizing Bush's assertion the previous week that he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as a "lie" or intentional misrepresentation -- this, despite Bush's own admission of a deliberate deception. Some outlets even failed to acknowledge Bush's previous statement that Rumsfeld would stay on as defense secretary until the end of his presidency.
Tom DeLay falsely claimed that Alan Colmes told a "lie" when Colmes noted that the House ethics committee, in the course of admonishing DeLay for objectionable fundraising and improper use of a federal agency, called on DeLay to "temper your future actions to ensure you were in compliance with House ethics rules." In fact, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct did indeed ask DeLay to "temper [his] future actions" to assure "full compliance ... with the applicable House rules and standards of conduct."
On Fox & Friends First, Kelly Wright suggested that Vice President Dick Cheney's decision to spend Election Day "in Wyoming," rather than on the campaign trail, could be a "sign" that Cheney "isn't worried or nervous at all about the outcome of tomorrow's election." Other anchors also uncritically stated that the reason Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is not appearing with President Bush at a campaign rally is "so he can hit other cities." None of the anchors mentioned the fact that both have low approval ratings -- Cheney nationally and Bush in Florida.
Fox News' Steve Harrigan underwent what he described as three "phase[s]" of the controversial interrogation technique known as "waterboarding," on camera, concluding that the technique is "a pretty efficient mechanism to get someone to talk and then still have them alive and healthy within minutes." Psychologists have asserted that "such forms of near-asphyxiation" can lead to long-term psychological damage.
On Fox News Sunday, National Public Radio's Juan Williams acknowledged that "most people are telling pollsters that they trust the Democrats more on taxes than they do the Republicans," but then said, "To me, that's crazy." On The Chris Matthews Show, Chris Matthews again falsely suggested that the issue of taxes favors Republicans, even though recent polling shows otherwise.
Fox News' John Gibson repeatedly asserted -- falsely -- that because The New York Times reported that the United States had posted Iraqi documents related to constructing an atomic bomb, the Times "said today Saddam had nukes." Similarly, conservative radio host Pat Campbell falsely suggested that the Times reported Iraq was "a year away from making the atomic bomb" at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. In fact, Iraq did not have nuclear weapons in 2003 or at any time -- including prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War -- and Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program in 2003.
During Tony Snow's recent series of appearances on cable news channels, interviewers on CNN and Fox News left unchallenged a number of false, misleading, and baseless Republican talking points on a variety of issues. After allowing Snow to misrepresent the Democratic position on the surveillance and detention of suspected terrorists, CNN host Wolf Blitzer told Snow that he is "a straight shooter."
Fox & Friends co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson touted articles on right-wing website WorldNetDaily.com and in the The New York Sun purporting to show that, in Carlson's words, "[s]enior terrorist leaders" have indicated "that they hope Americans sweep the Democrats into power because of the party's position on withdrawing from Iraq."
In recent days, Brit Hume, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck have all asserted that media bias was to blame for a dearth of coverage on the controversy surrounding Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke." To the contrary, the story has consistently been the top story on network- and cable-news broadcasts and has been the subject of front-page stories in most major newspapers.
A political attack that started with a posting on the website of Rep. John Boehner's political action committee -- promoting the claim that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has made no recent public appearances -- then moved to the Drudge Report website and ended up in reports on Fox News and MSNBC, with MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O'Donnell asking of Pelosi, "Where's she been the last week?"
When Fox News' Brett Baier asked Tony Snow to comment on Sen. John Kerry's remarks on Iraq a day earlier, Snow "was clearly ready" to respond and attack, even providing a "fuller quote" of Kerry's statement -- although the comment had, at the time, appeared in only local media and on conservative radio shows and weblogs. This raises the question of whether Snow and Baier coordinated to push Kerry's comments into the national media.