On Fox News Sunday, Michael Barone falsely claimed that Democrats would prefer to "hang up the phone and go to court," rather than "listening to what ... terrorists are plotting." In fact, Democrats -- and numerous Republicans and conservatives -- have said nothing of the sort, pointing to a provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which the Bush administration has apparently violated, that allows the government to undertake surveillance in emergency situations for up to 72 hours before obtaining a warrant.
Sean Hannity suggested that major media outlets were "bias[ed]" against Republicans in choosing not to report that Sen. George Allen's campaign had identified what it called "simply disturbing" portions of novels written by James Webb, "until 11 days out" from the midterm elections. But when discussing a story that could hurt Republicans instead of Democrats, the Mark Foley scandal, Hannity suggested that the purported withholding of the disclosure until closer to the election had the opposite effect.
CNN's Glenn Beck and Fox News' Jim Angle repeated the misleading claim that President Bush was "the first" president to allow funding for human embryonic stem cell research, even though the Clinton administration drafted guidelines to fund embryonic stem cell research, but those rules had yet to take effect when he left office and were suspended by the Bush administration in favor of its own, stricter set of rules.
On Fox News, Ann Coulter asserted that Democrats "ought to be picking up 60 or 70 seats" in the House of Representatives in this November's midterm elections or "they may as well go away as a party." Coulter based her assertion about Democratic gains on her false claim that "[t]he average of the midterm election pickup since World War II is about 40 seats." In fact, since World War II, the average gain in the House after a midterm election has been about 25 seats.
Despite widespread reports of the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan, Bill O'Reilly baselessly claimed that it is a "myth" that "Afghanistan's going backwards" and declared that "the Bush administration has won a victory in Afghanistan." O'Reilly also asserted that "10 years ago, nobody [had] even heard of" Iraq; in fact, the United States led a coalition against Iraq in Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Numerous media outlets reported without challenge President Bush's assertion that the "ultimate accountability" for the Iraq war "rests with me" -- some even asserting that he "took full responsibility for the war." But these reports ignored Bush's consistent pattern of deflecting questions regarding his judgments on Iraq by stating that he defers to others, including top generals, the intelligence community, and the Iraqi government, in making such decisions.
If Bill O'Reilly is "not a partisan," as he consistently claims, Media Matters asks: Why was he in Birmingham, Alabama, appearing at an event with the state's Republican governor, helping raise money for an organization whose goal is to elect "conservative," mainly Republican candidates?
On Good Morning America, Sean Hannity accused Michael J. Fox of, as host Diane Sawyer put it, "shilling" for Democrats, claimed without elaboration that Fox's campaign ad in support of Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill contained "factual inaccuracies," and baselessly defended Rush Limbaugh's accusation that Fox was "exaggerating the effects of the disease" in the ad. Similarly, on The O'Reilly Factor, Culture Campaign president Sandy Rios falsely claimed that Fox was "lying" in his advertisement.
MSNBC and Fox News uncritically reported claims by the Bush administration, including that "wages for the average middle-class American today are actually higher than they were just a couple of years ago," ignoring a report alleging that the median hourly real wage has "declined 2 percent since 2003."