In his interview with President Bush, NBC's Brian Williams allowed Bush to falsely claim that "we delivered" on the promises Bush made during a September 2005 address to the nation in New Orleans; that Saddam Hussein had an active weapons of mass destruction program prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq; and that Bush had never suggested ties between Iraq, Saddam, and the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Williams also left unchallenged Bush's objection to the argument that the Iraq war has acted as a recruitment tool for terrorists.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough baselessly claimed that "[s]ome Democrats" are "suggesting" that the recently foiled British terror plot "was just some ploy by the Republicans and the president and Tony Blair's government to justify their actions in the war on terror." In fact, Media Matters found no examples of Democrats questioning the veracity of the terror plot.
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.
Conservative media figures have jumped to the defense of Mel Gibson after he made a series of anti-Semitic remarks when he was arrested for driving under the influence.
Chris Matthews, Fred Barnes, and The New York Times uncritically repeated Bob Novak's claim that the Bush administration official who originally disclosed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to Novak did so inadvertently. In fact, Novak has been inconsistent on the question of the motivations of his sources, and administration officials had reportedly disclosed Plame's CIA employment to other reporters even before Novak received the information from his primary source, suggesting not inadvertent disclosures but, rather, a concerted effort to get the information out.
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Now that right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has been accused of numerous instances of plagiarism, will the many media outlets on which she has made recent appearances to promote her latest book continue to provide her with a platform to shout her twisted rants, and if so, will they confront her with these charges?
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.
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.
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.
Guest-hosting MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Michael Smerconish trivialized reports of detainee abuse as "naked pyramid pictures" and "play[ing] Christina Aguilera music a bit too loud." Smerconish claimed to be criticizing "the people who worked themselves into a lather" over reports of detainee mistreatment while ignoring the "dirtbags" who are "thinking about whose head they want to chop off next."