On Special Report, Mara Liasson said of President Bush's handling of the Iraq war, "I think that history will judge him pretty kindly," but made no mention of the ongoing debate over whether the United States should have initiated the war in the first place or whether it has been worth the cost in lives, money, and diverted attention and resources. She also described Bush as "handing over a war that's pretty manageable, if not almost won, to his successor." Liasson's words closely tracked Bush's own recent descriptions of progress in Iraq, as he has repeatedly discussed the legacy of his presidency.
On Fox & Friends, following co-host Steve Doocy's remark that Caroline Kennedy "is a constitutional lawyer," co-host Brian Kilmeade asked: "Is that American Constitution?"
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Fox News hosts and executives have, on several occasions, defended themselves against charges that Fox News leans conservative by pointing to the purported conservative/liberal balance that Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes represent. However, Fox News will reportedly debut a new show next year starring Hannity in the time slot in which the channel currently airs Hannity & Colmes. Fox News already provides Hannity with his own weekend show, on which he has offered up a slew of misinformation, smears, and a guest with a long history of anti-Semitic and racially charged comments.
In the absence of any allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, media figures continue to warn that a "cloud" hangs over Obama or assert that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity repeated the baseless claim that "the Obamas pa[id] $300,000 below market value" for their house. Additionally, after recounting that the Obamas purchased land from the adjacent lot owned by Antoin Rezko, Hannity asserted: "And then, as state senator, he helped funnel money to these housing projects that Tony Rezko and other friends were working on." In fact, Obama's letter in support of a Rezko housing project was written seven years before the Obamas purchased their home, and both parties have reportedly said that Rezko did not solicit the letter.
Fox News' Brian Kilmeade echoed a false assertion made in a December 11 AP article by claiming that President-elect Barack Obama said, "I'm confident nobody on my staff talked on my behalf when it comes to filling my seat." The AP had reported falsely that "President-elect Barack Obama said Thursday he didn't discuss his vacant Senate seat with disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich and said he's confident nobody on his staff did either." In fact, during a December 11 press conference, Obama did not claim that nobody on his staff "talked on his behalf" to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich; rather, he stated, "I'm confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat."
On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity asserted that "the word 'president-elect' was mentioned ... 44 times" in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which, Hannity said, "is a pretty high, high number." Hannity had previously described the number of mentions of the word "president-elect" in the complaint as "pretty troubling." In fact, with one exception, none of the 44 instances in which "president-elect" was used in the complaint actually mentioned any alleged conduct or statement by President-elect Barack Obama, much less any conduct or statement amounting to wrongdoing. The one exception was an allegation that Blagojevich complained that Obama would not give him anything other than "appreciation."
In the absence of any actual allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several media figures have in recent days ominously asserted that a "cloud" hangs over Obama because of the Blagojevich scandal, or that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
On Hannity & Colmes, discussing reports that "Senate Candidate 5" in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rob Blagojevich is a reference to Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Sean Hannity asserted that Jackson "gave an emotional -- and he gave a very passionate defense of his conduct here" and that "he came off as very credible and believable to me." Hannity added, "[B]ut there's always a skeptical side of me. You know, in the back of my mind I hear that voice, 'I did not have sex.' You know, I hear Bill Clinton."
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On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way," echoing his previous assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, including several techniques intended to make detainees "uncomfortable."
On Hannity & Colmes, Hannity asserted that President-elect Barack Obama is "all over" the criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, adding, "The pres -- the word 'president-elect' is mentioned 44 times in the document. Pretty troubling." However, nowhere in the complaint was a single allegation against Obama made. Further, U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald stated during a December 9 press conference that the criminal complaint "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct."
Disregarding U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's warning to "not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed" in the criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, several in the media have used the scandal as an opportunity to engage in suggestions of guilt-by-association against President-elect Barack Obama, by rehashing Obama's purportedly "questionable associations," or suggesting that Obama is a product of corrupt "Chicago politics."
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity stated that under President George W. Bush, "We created 10 million new jobs, lower unemployment than in the last four decades' average." In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States has gained 2,866,000 net private-sector jobs between 2001, when Bush took office, and the first quarter of 2008.
On Hannity & Colmes, Dick Morris revived the myth that Sen. Hillary Clinton became a New York Yankees fan only after she decided to run for the Senate, saying: "What I've always hated about Hillary is the phoniness. 'I'm from New York.' 'I'm a Yankee fan.' 'Oh, I love to chug-a-lug.' 'I'm a hunting -- or a hunter.' You know, all of this absolute garbage that you know isn't true."
On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Andrea Tantaros falsely claimed that "[t]his past weekend," President-elect Barack Obama said that "the economy is only gonna get worse." Tantaros continued: "Well, you can't say that kind of thing when you're president. ... He's got to be more positive." Co-host Bill Hemmer did not point out in response to Tantaros that Obama did not say "the economy is only gonna get worse"; he said the economy would get worse but would subsequently recover.