Bill O'Reilly railed against The New York Times' disclosure of a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, falsely claiming that "by all accounts" the program is "entirely legal" and that "[n]obody is asserting that they [the Bush administration] overstepped their authority." Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter similarly asserted that "no one thinks" the program "violates any laws." In fact, some legal experts and politicians have indeed questioned the legality of the newly disclosed program.
Numerous conservative media figures have lashed out at The New York Times and its executive editor, Bill Keller, over an article describing a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, arguing that the publication of the article was a treasonous act and suggesting that the newspaper is "sid[ing] with al Qaeda" and "aiding and abetting the terrorist movement."
Several conservative media figures baselessly asserted that "a lot" of Democrats, including Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA), had asked The New York Times not to publish an article disclosing a secret counterterrorism program that involves tracking bank records. But Times executive editor Bill Keller named only three people outside the administration (two of whom were Democrats) who Keller said contacted the Times regarding the story; moreover, he did not say whether the two Democrats advocated against publishing the article.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich asserted that "the most logical explanation" for Rep. John P. Murtha's (D-PA) criticism of the administration's handling of the Iraq war is that Murtha thinks "bashing America, and bashing the military, and repudiating everything I've stood for my whole life" will help him achieve greater political power. Gingrich's assessment of Murtha's motivation came in response to guest co-host Mike Gallagher, who asked, "Is [Murtha] having some kind of mental meltdown? Is he crazy like a fox or just plain crazy?"
On The Journal Editorial Report, Wall Street Journal editorial writer Bret Stephens asserted that an internal White House poll "reflects the fact that Americans want a strategy for winning ... not for pulling out," but failed to note that the most recent Journal poll, as well as other recent public polls, show that Americans do support pulling troops out of Iraq.
On Fox News Watch, Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton asserted that "the press turned on the Iraq war several years ago" and now chooses to "frame" its coverage of the war in two ways: "One is, the U.S. military is evil" and two, "the U.S. military needs to be carefully restrained with legal rules and procedures." Pinkerton suggested the media portray American servicemen and women as "bad people" and "killers."
Commenting on Fox News' Your World, private investigator Bo Dietl argued that the recent arrest in Miami of seven men on charges of conspiracy, which allegedly included plans to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago, illustrates that "we can't go off ... where we are going with [racial] profiling." Dietl referred to the men as a "crew of mutts" and stated that law enforcement officials should "[g]o into your 7-Elevens or go into one of these stores that keep rotating young men who are Muslims," and say "identify yourself."
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume derided The New York Times' justification for revealing a Bush administration program that monitors international financial transactions. Responding to the notion that it is "a matter of public interest," Hume said: "Well, that can apply to almost anything. ... That applies to ball scores. And you know, I mean, women with their breasts exposed are a matter of public interest to some people."
Recent reports on the reported activation of the U.S. ground-based missile defense system have overstated its ability to defend against an actual attack and uncritically reported administration claims about its effectiveness. Government Accountability Office reports indicate that the system has no proven ability to shoot down a hostile missile.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that Notre Dame professor Don Wycliff, in a June 22 Chicago Tribune op-ed that criticized O'Reilly, wrote that "the United States government bears more responsibility ... than the terrorists" for the recent deaths of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq who were also apparently tortured. In fact, Wycliff criticized O'Reilly in the op-ed for attacking "the press or the Democrats or the ACLU or Air America" for the soldiers' deaths rather than blaming the Bush administration officials responsible for conducting the war "for whom you have been a cheerleader."
Fox News' Brit Hume, John Gibson, and Jim Angle, as well as nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Janet Parshall, continued to ignore conclusive assertions of intelligence officials that the degraded chemical munitions found in Iraq and hyped by Sen. Rick Santorum and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra were not, in fact, in the category of "weapons of mass destruction" that the U.S. was looking for at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Fox News' Jim Angle understated -- and ABC's Charles Gibson omitted -- the poor flight test record of the ground-based missile defense system that the Bush administration reportedly activated in response to North Korea possibly testing a long-range missile.
On The Big Story, John Gibson criticized The New York Times and its former editor Howell Raines, whose new book Gibson takes aim at during the "My Word" segment of the show. Gibson goes on to say, "There are tons of differences between Fox and The New York Times, starting with, we don't make this stuff up, and they have."
On June 21, hosts and guests on several Fox News programs hyped a false assertion by Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Peter Hoekstra that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, despite the network's own reporting that discredited the claim.
Several news outlets missed a key point in their reporting on the Senate's defeat of two Democratic amendments calling for U.S. redeployment from Iraq: The Democrats' claim that their position reflects public opinion is backed by polling data showing that a majority of Americans support some form of withdrawal.