MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell wrongly claimed that, in a hypothetical presidential campaign between President Bush and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bush would win because Clinton has "a question about likability and authenticity and a sense of trust." In fact, public opinion polls indicate that Clinton has a higher favorability rating and is viewed as more trustworthy than Bush, and their likability ratings are roughly equal.
On Hardball, Chris Matthews left unchallenged White House communications director Nicolle Wallace's claim that "there is no way" The New York Times could discuss "terrorists already knowing about" a Treasury Department finance-tracking program reported by the Times and other newspapers "unless they're talking to terrorists." In fact, the Treasury Department's efforts to track terrorist finances by obtaining international banking records were already a matter of public knowledge prior to the publication of the Times article.
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
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On MSNBC's Scarborough Country, ABC's John Stossel attacked former Vice President Al Gore and delivered a stream of false and misleading claims on global warming. Noting that Gore "implies the argument" about global warming "is over," Stossel repeatedly attempted to downplay, obscure, or deny the threat posed by human-induced global climate change, as depicted in Gore's documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. In fact, the vast majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that human activity is contributing to the problem.
In response to the reports describing a Treasury Department program designed to monitor international financial transactions for terrorist activity, President Bush and other White House officials lashed out at the media -- and The New York Times in particular -- for purportedly undermining the government's antiterrorism efforts. But as with the disclosure of the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance and domestic call-tracking programs, the administration and its supporters in the media have relied on numerous false and misleading claims to support their arguments.
Chris Matthews failed to challenge Rep. Peter King's false claim that The New York Times is "acknowledging" that a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions "is legal." However, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller has stated that "[i]t's not [the Times'] job to pass judgment on whether this program is legal." The Times has also reported that banking experts, as well as banking executives and Bush administration officials familiar with the program, have concerns about its legality.
Bill O'Reilly railed against The New York Times' disclosure of a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, falsely claiming that "by all accounts" the program is "entirely legal" and that "[n]obody is asserting that they [the Bush administration] overstepped their authority." Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter similarly asserted that "no one thinks" the program "violates any laws." In fact, some legal experts and politicians have indeed questioned the legality of the newly disclosed program.
Numerous conservative media figures have lashed out at The New York Times and its executive editor, Bill Keller, over an article describing a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, arguing that the publication of the article was a treasonous act and suggesting that the newspaper is "sid[ing] with al Qaeda" and "aiding and abetting the terrorist movement."
On Scarborough Country, Ann Coulter purported to defend her attacks on some of the widows of September 11 victims, claiming that she has "heard from lots of 9-11 widows who think I wasn't harsh enough."
Joe Scarborough baselessly claimed that "the majority" of Senate Democrats, by voting against a proposal by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to redeploy troops from Iraq by mid-2007, "voted with George Bush" to "maintain the course in Iraq." In fact, 37 of 43 Senate Democrats voted in favor of a nonbinding amendment sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) calling for "the beginning of a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year," which all but one Republican voted against.
Recent reports on the reported activation of the U.S. ground-based missile defense system have overstated its ability to defend against an actual attack and uncritically reported administration claims about its effectiveness. Government Accountability Office reports indicate that the system has no proven ability to shoot down a hostile missile.
Keith Olbermann handed out his nightly "Worst Person in the World" awards, with Geraldo Rivera receiving runner-up honors, behind Saddam Hussein, for saying that "in the last 35 years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat" than Sen. John Kerry. John Gibson was awarded third place for claiming that "human-rights groups" hadn't "sa[id] a word" about reports that two U.S. soldiers had been brutally tortured and murdered.
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell accepted as true Sen. John McCain's false assertion that he "refuse[s] to use" the words "cut and run" to describe plans to redeploy U.S. forces out of Iraq. In fact, McCain has repeatedly used those words to describe such plans, and to attack Democrats who support them.