Members of the media, including Tucker Carlson, Fred Barnes, Juan Williams, and George Stephanopoulos, have continued to suggest that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism of Donald Rumsfeld during a recent Senate committee hearing was motivated solely by politics.
On Fox News' The Beltway Boys, Fred Barnes again denied the broad scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to global warming.
Numerous conservative pundits offered highly optimistic predictions about the U.S. invasion of Iraq regarding the conflict's duration, difficulty, and human and financial costs -- nearly all of which have proven to be wrong. But rather than hold these "Pollyanna pundits" accountable for their past misjudgments, the media have again provided a platform for their views about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. And echoing their rhetoric on Iraq, these conservative pundits have advocated further military action by the United States and its allies.
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Morton Kondracke stated that if Ned Lamont defeats Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) in Connecticut's Democratic Senate primary, it will be "bad news" because Lamont "represents a triumph" for "the MoveOn.org-Howard Dean-Daily Kos-Michael Moore left wing of the Democratic Party," which is "just as nasty and mean on the left as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage ... on the right." Fred Barnes responded that these Democrats and progressives are "[m]uch meaner."
Chris Matthews, Fred Barnes, and The New York Times uncritically repeated Bob Novak's claim that the Bush administration official who originally disclosed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to Novak did so inadvertently. In fact, Novak has been inconsistent on the question of the motivations of his sources, and administration officials had reportedly disclosed Plame's CIA employment to other reporters even before Novak received the information from his primary source, suggesting not inadvertent disclosures but, rather, a concerted effort to get the information out.
On Special Report, Fred Barnes claimed that the so-called "Bush doctrine" of U.S. foreign policy did not include the use of unilateral military action, saying that it had "never been a policy of the president." In fact, the Bush administration's 2002 National Security Strategy explicitly stated, "[W]e will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively."
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
During a discussion on Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume about the global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes claimed, "It's not known for certain or anywhere near certain whether the small increase in temperature over the last hundred years is caused by man or not." However, there is little debate within the scientific community about whether human activity is responsible for the increase in global surface and water temperatures, save for a small group of skeptics, many of whom are tied to organizations with a financial stake in combating global-warming theory.
Fox News' John Gibson claimed that the "biggest difference" between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent letter to President Bush and "Democrat talking point[s]" is that the Iranian president "was actually nice about Jesus and Christians." The previous day, on Fox News' Special Report, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes had similarly asserted that Ahmadinejad's letter "reads ... [like] some left-wing document."
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On Fox News' Special Report, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes claimed that Pentagon war planners and the Bush administration had not "expected" the looting that occurred in Baghdad immediately after Saddam Hussein's regime fell. But a 2003 New York Times article reported that the administration and the Pentagon were warned repeatedly by exiled Iraqi leaders that "without a strong plan for managing Iraq after toppling Saddam Hussein, widespread looting and violence would erupt."
On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes said he was "tired of hearing" the complaints of people who are "so upset about gas costing too much." Barnes said: "[I]f it costs a lot to fill up the tanks and they don't like that, well, demand that the supply increase. Demand that oil be drilled offshore, in ANWR [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], and so on." He added: "Otherwise, look, shut up."
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Fox News journalists and commentators repeatedly -- and baselessly -- cited a correction issued by CIA leak case special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald as evidence that the Bush administration had not "hyp[ed]" prewar intelligence and that reporters had "wrongly accuse[d]" President Bush of directing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to provide false information to reporters about Iraq's supposed nuclear program to justify the decision to invade Iraq.
Fred Barnes claimed that "only the press" refers to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) as "the Hammer." But The New York Times reported that a tribute dinner held by DeLay supporters in Washington, D.C., in May 2005 included numerous references to DeLay's nickname: "Mr. DeLay was served a red-white-and-blue cake festooned with sparklers and plastic hammers -- a reference to his nickname, the Hammer -- while the band played 'If I Had a Hammer.' "
Several media figures have misrepresented public opinion polling on immigration issues in order to falsely suggest that the public opposes providing a temporary work program and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In fact, polling has consistently shown that most Americans favor some form of temporary guest worker program or path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the United States.