Over the past year, CNN hosts, anchors, and reporters have repeatedly commented on the Democratic Party's purported lack of a clear plan or concrete set of alternatives on issues ranging from Social Security to the war in Iraq. When a large coalition of Democrats stood together on March 29 to unveil a unified national security platform, CNN largely ignored the news.
A Media Matters study of guests on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight shows that far more Republican and conservative guests have appeared on the show during the first two months of 2006 than have Democratic or progressive guests.
Lou Dobbs posed this question in his nightly poll: "Which do you believe Senator Hillary Clinton is most out of touch with?"
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin asserted that "social, largely religious conservatives" forced the withdrawal of Harriet Miers's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund responded to Toobin by naming two conservative religious leaders who had been Miers's "biggest backers" and claiming, "It was economic conservatives, including The Wall Street Journal, that were skeptical" of her nomination. In fact, following the disclosure of a speech by Miers in which she said that "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and school prayer, numerous social conservative groups and leaders demanded that Miers's nomination be withdrawn.
CNN's Lou Dobbs reported on an Associated Press article published that day that he said demonstrated "the huge influence of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff in Congress" by showing that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had written "at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Abramoff." But the AP article left out important details of two incidents that purportedly link Reid to Abramoff -- details that undermine Dobbs' assertion that it demonstrates any influence Abramoff had with Reid.
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN's Ed Henry and Bill Schneider reported on the dispute over lobbying reform between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama -- uncritically touting McCain's "years of work" on lobbying reform. However, in doing so, they both ignored a number of relevant facts.
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin claimed that "a recent poll ... shows that [President] Bush ... is held in much higher regard than congressional Democrats." Goodwin did not cite a specific poll, and neither Ed Rollins nor John Fund, the other two guests, challenged his claim. However, the two major recent polls that pitted Bush against congressional Democrats in the same question show that more Americans think congressional Democrats will do a better job of handling most key issues.
Various media outlets have failed to challenge the claims of Republican senators that they disregarded ideology when voting to confirm Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer in the 1990s. In fact, both Ginsburg and Breyer were consensus nominees, suggested to President Clinton by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and had reputations and judicial records of moderates at the time of their nominations.
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a contributor to National Review, falsely suggested that FISA did not apply in wartime because due process "in wartime is not the same as" due process "the rest of the time." In direct contradiction to McCarthy's claim, FISA does, in fact, contain specific wartime provisions.
On CBN's The 700 Club, Pat Robertson falsely claimed that Jamie Gorelick, while serving in the Clinton administration, said the president has "absolute authority to conduct domestic wiretaps in war against enemy agents." On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs failed to challenge a similar claim.