In the wake of the recent thwarting of an alleged terrorist plot in Britain, numerous media outlets have posed the question of whether news of the event would benefit President Bush, often letting conservatives or Republican officials spin the news in favor of the administration. Many of the reports neglected to consider whether the news could actually hurt Bush politically.
Interviewing Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman on Meet the Press, David Gregory allowed Mehlman's false claims to go unchallenged, and Gregory himself suggested that if Sen. Joseph Lieberman won re-election, it could "expose the Democratic Party as divided and weak."
On NBC's Meet the Press, David Gregory failed to question Michael Chertoff about an August 12 report by Gregory's own network that, while British officials had intended to continue surveillance on the suspects of the foiled British terror plot, U.S. authorities had pressured them to arrest the suspected plotters sooner. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos noted this report, but left the false impression that the allegations were the product of the "blogosphere."
During their August 9 coverage of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, the three major broadcast networks' morning news programs interviewed Sen. Joseph Lieberman but failed to host the winner, Ned Lamont, or any of his representatives. Additionally, NBC's Today and CBS' The Early Show aired twice as much footage of Lieberman's statements following the election as they ran of Lamont's statements.
Several news outlets portrayed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's harsh criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a purely political maneuver to "find the exact middle" in the Democratic Party or to position herself for a potential 2008 presidential run.
Numerous media outlets failed to challenge Donald Rumsfeld's claim to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that he had "never painted a rosy picture" about the Iraq war, despite Sen. Clinton's proffer of specific instances in which she claimed he did just that.
In a July 31 report on the Food and Drug Administration's purported endorsement of the over-the-counter sale of the "morning-after" pill, or Plan B, for women 18 and older, NBC News correspondent Tom Costello falsely reported that the conservative Concerned Women for America "advocates" allowing women 18 and older to obtain the drug.
On The Chris Matthews Show, CBS News contributor and U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Gloria Borger stated that former Sen. John Edwards might be able to defeat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination because "he's a more authentic person than Hillary Clinton." Borger's comment met with agreement from the panel.
A Media Matters for America review has found that a July 24 report from a task force of the American Bar Association (ABA) on President Bush's use of so-called "signing statements" has been ignored by several media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, all three television networks, and Fox News prime-time shows. The ABA report concluded that Bush's practice of attaching signing statements to congressional legislation "weaken[s] our cherished system of checks and balances and separation of powers."
NBC's Today hosted Bill Bennett on its July 26 edition to discuss the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, continuing the major morning shows' pattern of allowing Republicans and conservatives to dominate the shows' analysis of the topic.
The three major broadcast networks' morning programs have hosted far more commentary on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict from Republicans and conservatives than from Democrats and progressives. The shows have hosted nine solo interviews of Republicans and conservatives, but only two of progressives.
In Media Matters' third examination of guest appearances on ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, and NBC's Meet the Press, research demonstrated that Republicans and conservatives outnumbered Democrats and progressives from April to June of 2006.
On NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MSNBC host Chris Matthews again predicted that "the next president of the United States will be Rudy Giuliani."
On NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer let Newt Gingrich repeat and promote his claim that current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, with what Gingrich reported as a fear of Hezbollah attacks elsewhere, amounts to World War III. Despite media reports that Gingrich intends to promote the World War III rhetoric to give Republicans an edge in the 2006 congressional elections -- and that he is also urging President Bush and congressional Republicans to use war rhetoric for political gain -- Lauer failed to question the validity or motivation of Gingrich's characterization.
Chris Matthews continued his practice of praising former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a strong potential presidential candidate in 2008, comparing him to President John F. Kennedy. And when NBC News chief foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell attempted to bring up criticism Giuliani received for pushing President Bush to nominate former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to the post of Homeland Security secretary, Matthews interrupted her and changed the subject.