ABC World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas failed to note the apparent conflict between a newly released videotape that shows President Bush receiving a warning that New Orleans levees could be topped and Bush's later comment that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell similarly failed to note this contradiction during an interview with deputy White House press secretary Trent Duffy.
MSNBC Live anchor Alex Witt falsely claimed that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid received political contributions from former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Chris Matthews claimed that a comment made by President Bush in April 2004 that "[a]ny time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires ... a court order" was "pre-9-11."
In a January 23 speech defending his warrantless domestic surveillance program, President Bush claimed that Congress' 2001 authorization of force, upheld by the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, establishes his authority to conduct the program. But numerous legal authorities have objected to Bush's claim that the high court affirmed his authority to wiretap U.S. residents without a warrant. Despite these objections, several news outlets repeated Bush's claim without challenge.
In reporting on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearing, NBC correspondent Pete Williams noted that despite a 1985 job application expressing Alito's "very strong" personal belief that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," Alito's supporters say his personal views "don't count, that when he puts on a judge's robes, he follows the law, including the legal precedent upholding abortion rights." But Williams ignored the distinction between an appellate judge, who is bound by higher court precedents, and a Supreme Court justice, who might not be.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews minimized the Jack Abramoff scandal, saying: "It's not going to be part of a larger story of Washington this year, I think."
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