The Republican National Committee's (RNC) new political ad -- featuring clips of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists making threats against the United States and clips of explosions -- has not yet aired as a paid advertisement, but broadcast and cable news networks have already played portions of it several times as part of their news programming -- essentially giving the RNC the opportunity to fearmonger on their airwaves free of charge.
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During a segment on vulnerable members of Congress on MSNBC News Live, John Gizzi of Human Events Online omitted -- and anchor Contessa Brewer failed to point out -- the Democrats Gizzi named are all leading in polls.
MSNBC anchor Melissa Slager falsely claimed that one of the three House members who resigned this year because of ethical scandals was a Democrat; in fact, all three who resigned over the past year were Republicans. MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell presented a "scandal scorecard" noting that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) "is facing a Senate ethics probe," overstating the amount of profit Reid allegedly made in the deal and ignoring a transaction in which House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) reportedly made an even bigger profit on the sale of land near a highway project for which he reportedly included an earmark in a transportation bill.
Norah O'Donnell failed to correct Republican strategist Brad Blakeman's false claim that Rep. Barney Frank "admitted" to "running a prostitution ring out of his townhouse." In fact, a House investigation cleared Frank of such allegations in 1989.
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.
Discussing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's performance before, during, and after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with author Wayne Barrett, Norah O'Donnell asked Barrett: "[Y]ou can't honestly say he [Giuliani] could have predicted that that area [the World Trade Center complex] would have been attacked?" In response, Barrett pointed out that the World Trade Center complex "was at the top of the vulnerability list that [Giuliani's] own police department prepared."
Since the recent U.K. terrorism arrests, numerous media outlets have suggested that the news would help increase President Bush's approval in the polls. In fact, the three major polls at least partially conducted since the arrests show little or no improvement in Bush's overall job approval rating.
Given Michael Smerconish's history of intolerant, inflammatory comments, Media Matters asks: Why is MSNBC allowing him to host one of its programs?
MSNBC hyped Ann Coulter's interview with CNBC's The Big Idea host Donny Deutsch, during which she said of former President Clinton: "[T]hat sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality." The interview, characterized by MSNBC as "must-see TV," coupled with an upcoming appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews, will mark at least the sixth and seventh times NBC, or one of its cable news channels, has hosted Coulter since the publication of her latest book, Godless.
Following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the news that Karl Rove would not be indicted in the CIA leak case, and other events, media figures have declared that the Bush administration is experiencing "a surge of momentum." But such assertions ignore the White House's numerous current problems.
Following President Bush's announcement of his proposal to deploy as many as 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended the administration's plan to bolster border protection in numerous media appearances and interviews. But in their coverage, media generally failed to mention that in December 2005, Chertoff characterized the deployment of the National Guard for border protection as "a horribly overexpensive and very difficult way to manage this problem."
On MSNBC News Live, host Contessa Brewer admonished right-wing activist David Horowitz for calling Citizens for Legitimate Government founder Michael Rectenwald -- appearing opposite Horowitz -- a "communist," "pro-terrorist," and "a menace." Brewer said: "All right. OK, here's what we're not going to do, is to call guests names on the air."