Reporting on President Bush's announcement of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, media outlets, with few exceptions, have avoided characterizing Bush's assertion the previous week that he wanted Rumsfeld to stay on as a "lie" or intentional misrepresentation -- this, despite Bush's own admission of a deliberate deception. Some outlets even failed to acknowledge Bush's previous statement that Rumsfeld would stay on as defense secretary until the end of his presidency.
Matt Lauer asked former White House chief of staff Andrew Card whether he "question[s] the timing" of a New York Times report that documents that weapons experts say "constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb" were posted on a government website functioning as a clearinghouse for documents found in Iraq. Separately, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell asked NBC's Andrea Mitchell if the report "helps the [Bush] administration by reminding people about potential weapons of mass destruction that were developed before the first Gulf War."
Despite the significance of President Bush's November 1 pronouncement that Donald Rumsfeld will remain defense secretary until the end of his presidency, multiple media outlets have devoted much greater attention to the controversy over Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke."
NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer suggested that when Rush Limbaugh "said perhaps Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease" in a recent campaign ad, Limbaugh was "just say[ing] what a lot of people were privately thinking." Also on Today, radio host Laura Ingraham baselessly claimed that just because people are "unhappy with the current situation" in Iraq "doesn't mean you redeploy as John Murtha says or John Kerry or most of the Democrats"; in fact, polls have shown that Americans overwhelmingly favor withdrawing from Iraq.
On NBC's Today, Matt Lauer referred to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as "controversial"; however, polls do not show that the public views Pelosi as controversial. The notion that Pelosi is "controversial" has been advanced by Republicans and media figures ahead of the midterm elections.
Media outlets that uncritically reported House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) recent claims -- that Democratic operatives knew "all along" of Rep. Mark Foley's (R-FL) alleged behavior toward underage congressional pages and have orchestrated the ongoing scandal -- ignored media reports that the source for Foley's emails was a Republican.
Matt Lauer failed to ask Sen. John McCain if he still trusts the White House to abide by the terms of a deal on detainee treatment, in light of President Bush's signing statement accompanying McCain's anti-torture bill in December 2005.
Many television news outlets touted a USA Today/Gallup poll putting President Bush's job approval rating at 44 percent as a success for Bush, asserting that his rating is "the highest it's been in a year." But four days earlier, the same news organizations ignored a Pew Research Center poll showing Bush's approval rating at 37 percent.
In separate interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Matt Lauer and Robin Roberts failed to question Rice about President Bush's contradictory statements on the search for Osama bin Laden, as well as a recent report that the administration hired individuals to rebuild Iraq based on their "loyalty to the Bush administration."