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.
Geraldo Rivera claimed that "in the last 35 years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat" than Sen. John Kerry, adding that Kerry's Senate amendment to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq by July 2007 "only aids and abets the enemy."
Fox News host John Gibson falsely claimed that "human-rights groups" haven't "sa[id] a word" about reports that two U.S. soldiers had been brutally tortured and murdered by an insurgent group in Iraq. In fact, two major human-rights organizations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, denounced the killings and alleged torture as potential "war crimes."
Ann Coulter refused to explain -- and even expanded upon -- her recent claim that Rep. John P. Murtha is "the reason soldiers invented fragging," military slang meaning the intentional killing of a member of one's own unit. On a Denver radio show, Coulter referred to her fragging comment as one of her "best lines" and refused to confirm that she was not "suggesting that anybody should off John Murtha," stating only: "It is what it is." On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Coulter further expanded upon her statement, asserting that if Murtha "did get fragged, he'd finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts."
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While CNN continued to hype the divisions among Democrats on the issue of U.S. redeployment from Iraq, stemming from the debate over two Senate proposals on the issue, the network entirely ignored a recent display of dissention within the Republican Party, as did Fox News and MSNBC.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "most Americans have no tolerance for what they call amnesty" in the Senate immigration bill, and Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich called the bill "absurd" because "it will be very unpopular." But recent polling almost universally shows that Americans support a path to citizenship -- provided for in the Senate bill -- for some illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
Fox News' John Gibson and Sean Hannity hosted segments hyping the threat posed by reports that North Korea will soon conduct a test launch of a long range missile. Most notably, Fox News analyst Col. David Hunt baselessly suggested on Hannity & Colmes that North Korea could attack the U.S. with a nuclear weapon at any moment.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly again suggested that Iraq should be run as it was under Saddam Hussein, stating: "Saddam was able to control Iraq, as you know, and defeat insurgencies against him. The new Iraqi government can do the same, but it needs to get much tougher." O'Reilly also declared that the American Civil Liberties Union, the BBC, and Air America Radio "are helping the terrorists."
The Associated Press and Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume uncritically reported Vice President Dick Cheney's claim that he did not "think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered" in Iraq, as well as Cheney's claim that when Cheney said in May 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes," he was referring to "the series of events that took place in" 2005. In fact, some did anticipate a violent insurgency if the United States invaded Iraq, and Cheney explicitly based his "last throes" assessment on the insurgency's "level of activity, from a military standpoint."