In the wake of reports that Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden would be nominated to replace outgoing CIA director Porter Goss, numerous news outlets cited as a source of likely controversy Hayden's role in developing and overseeing the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program. But none of these outlets mentioned Hayden's misleading testimony before Congress in 2002, in which he said that the National Security Agency complies with the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in conducting surveillance on citizens or legal residents of the United States. Nor did they mention his shifting and contradictory defenses of the domestic surveillance program or his failure to answer questions regarding whether the program has been used to spy on U.S. residents with no ties to terrorism.
Recent media coverage of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has focused largely on his presumptive bid for the 2008 Republican nomination for president. Certain media outlets, however, are seemingly reluctant to look past Giuliani's reputation as "America's mayor" and note that Giuliani's career as a political figure -- both before and after the 9-11 attacks -- has been marked by numerous controversies and incidents that, at the time, were considered politically damaging.
A Washington Post article on the ethics-reform bill passed by the House of Representatives buried a crucial fact: The bill had provoked widespread criticism from Democrats and government watchdog groups. In addition, the article noted that eight Democrats crossed party lines and voted for the bill, but did not similarly note that more than twice as many Republicans crossed party lines to vote against it. Other major print outlets similarly omitted crucial context regarding the House bill.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Tony Snow pushed for and obtained "unscheduled access to the president" and that this "arrangement could be helpful as Snow, 50, attempts to build trust with a White House press corps that had an adversarial relationship with his predecessor and as he tries to help Bush recover from low public approval ratings." The previous day, however, Snow appeared on Fox News and said he will have the same access to Bush as did his predecessors.
In reporting on President Bush's announcement that he would suspend fuel deposits into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to reduce rising gasoline prices, numerous news outlets failed to note that Bush had previously criticized both the Clinton administration and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for proposing to use the reserve to lower prices.
An April 23 Los Angeles Times editorial falsely asserted that President Bush "has acknowledged with increasing explicitness that he was wrong to believe that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction [WMD]." In fact, while Bush has described the intelligence as "wrong," has accepted responsibility for "the decision to go into Iraq," and has said he was "responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities," he has never stated he was wrong to believe the flawed intelligence or assumed responsibility for the intelligence failures.
On April 17, numerous news outlets -- including NBC, CBS, NPR, and Fox News -- covering former Illinois governor George Ryan's conviction on corruption charges failed to mention that he is a Republican. Time magazine went a step further, omitting Ryan's Republican affiliation while reporting that "the current administration of Democrat Rod Blagojevich is also being investigated."
Both the AP and the Los Angeles Times reported President Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein was to blame for the sectarian violence in Iraq, but neither news outlet noted that the Bush administration bears considerable responsibility for the escalating conflict between the ethnic groups there.
The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and Knight Ridder uncritically reported Republican criticism of the Democratic national security proposal, including a claim by Vice President Dick Cheney that the proposal was "totally inconsistent" with the Democrats' past behavior.
In articles on President Bush's appointment of Joshua B. Bolten as his new chief of staff, The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times ignored the rising deficits that are the defining characteristic of Bolten's three-year tenure as director of the Office of Management and Budget, the White House's budget operation.
Since a March 27 New York Times article confirmed that a leaked British memo appears to contradict President Bush's repeated claim prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that he wanted to avoid war, media have failed to note the full significance of the document and in some cases ignored the story altogether.
After the contentious exchange between Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas and President Bush during Bush's March 21 press conference, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and several other conservative commentators rushed to attack Thomas. O'Reilly accused her of "hat[ing] Bush and try[ing] to undermine everything he does," and even suggesting that if he were Bush, he "would have laid her out." Several other conservative media figures -- including Jonah Goldberg, Fred Barnes, Glenn Beck, and Tucker Carlson -- have followed suit, sometimes with highly personal attacks.
Los Angeles Times columnist Jonah Goldberg professed to be "baffle[d]" that "the only argument" that opponents of the Iraq war claim that President Bush made in justifying the March 2003 invasion of Iraq is that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and planned to use them against the United States. In fact, it was Bush himself who stressed in the weeks leading up to the invasion that disarming and removing Saddam were necessary because of the threat that he would use WMD against the United States.
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 17 that "Republicans added nearly $1 billion to tighten security at seaports," but did not note that GOP senators voted down a separate Democratic proposal to boost port-related funding by an additional $1.7 billion. The article also made no mention of House Republicans' March 16 rejection of a Democratic amendment to increase port security funding by $1.2 billion.
In covering President's Bush's March 13 speech, the media reported that Bush effectively laid out a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq by setting a "goal of having the Iraqis control more territory than the coalition by the end of 2006" but completely ignored the numerous statements Bush and other administration officials have made denouncing timetables for withdrawal, and attacking those who propose them.