Fox News' Special Report left out necessary context when previewing former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's upcoming interview with 60 Minutes in which he stated, "it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq."
During his September 19 coverage of Panetta's statement, host Bret Baier depicted Panetta's account of the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as the latest in "a very public back-and-forth between the White House and the Pentagon." Baier added, "Now this weekend, 60 Minutes has an interview with former CIA director and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in which he will say the U.S. should not have pulled out all of its troops out of Iraq in 2011":
But Baier failed to mention that the Iraqi government refused a deal to allow U.S. military forces to stay in Iraq. As the New York Times reported in 2011, "Iraqis were unwilling to accept" the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement to leave thousands of troops as a residual force. Fox News has repeatedly failed to mention this important detail.
During his 60 Minutes interview with Panetta, CBS' Scott Pelley provided the crucial bit of context that the Iraqi government "didn't want the U.S. force." Watch:
CBS News, currently under fire for airing a dubious 60 Minutes report that relied on discredited source Dylan Davies, aired a report on the Affordable Care Act based entirely off selectively leaked partial transcripts from ACA opponent, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
On the November 11 edition of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on supposed "security risks" surrounding the law's exchange website, HealthCare.gov. Host Scott Pelley alleged that the project manager in charge of building the site "was apparently kept in the dark about serious failures in the website's security." Pelley speculated that this could eventually lead to "identity theft among people buying insurance.":
The basis for this report was a "partial transcript" obtained by CBS correspondent Attkisson and provided to her by House Oversight Chairman Rep. Issa.
As MSNBC's Steve Benen pointed out, the CBS report leaves out "pretty much every relevant detail that points in a more accurate direction," most importantly that the supposed security risk relates to a part of the website that won't be active until Spring 2014 and has nothing to do with the parts of the website that are currently in use. The Hill reported:
A Democratic Oversight committee staffer said the security issue relates to a function of the website that isn't currently active and won't be until early next year.
"It's hard to understand why anyone would trust the accuracy of Chairman Issa's press releases when they consistently distort and manipulate the truth," the staffer said. "The chairman's staff basically sandbagged this witness with a document he had never seen before and then failed to inform him that it has nothing to do with parts of the website that launched on Oct. 1."
"Rather than seeking out the truth, this press release tries to scare the public by capitalizing on confusion caused by the chairman's own staff," the staffer added.
Problematic for CBS is that Issa has earned a reputation for leaking misleading and partial transcripts in order to attack the Obama administration. On November 8, ThinkProgress reported Rep. Elijah Cumming's (D-MD) characterization of Issa leaks to the press regarding HealthCare.gov's capacity to handle only 1,100 users as "reckless and highly irresponsible." Cummings concluded that these were "unsubstantiated public allegations" and that Issa was "taking information out of context."
The use of a dubious source with a history of telling partisan falsehoods in order to spread right wing smears is even more troublesome given the context of the terrible week CBS just experienced for using a dishonest source. Following the airing of an October 27 60 Minutes report on Benghazi in which the main source of the report was proven to be unreliable, CBS received widespread criticism , was forced to retract the story, and apologized on air.
From the November 8 edition of CBS' CBS Evening News:
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From the October 2 edition of CBS' CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
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From the May 16 edition of CBS' CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
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CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley let Mitt Romney off the hook over lingering questions about his position on abortion in cases of rape.
During an interview that aired Monday night on the eve of the Republican convention, Pelley asked Romney about a plank in the GOP platform that would ban abortion in all cases, with no exception for rape. Romney responded that he has "been clear" that he supports "abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest and the health and life of the mother." The CBS segment then pivoted to a discussion between Romney and Pelley about cars.
Contrary to the perception that CBS let stand, Romney's position on abortions in cases of rape, incest, and pregnancies that endanger a woman's health has been anything but clear. This is in line with how other media outlets have failed to pin the Romney campaign down on his views on these issues. Media outlets have repeatedly reported that that Romney supports allowing abortions in cases of rape without examining how that lines up with what Romney has said about this issue in the past.
Underscoring the rhetorical contortions Romney has taken on this issue, his campaign has already walked back one of the statements Romney made during the interview: that he believes abortion should be legal in situations in which a pregnancy endangers the health of a pregnant woman. Romney's campaign has said that he does not support abortion in such cases.
The lack of critical analysis the media has given to Romney's views on abortion in cases of rape allows the Republican candidate to avoid explaining seemingly incompatible positions he has taken. While Romney has said at times that he does not support abortion bans in cases of rape, Romney has also repeatedly embraced proposed constitutional amendments that would outlaw abortions without exceptions for pregnancies that resulted from rape and incest.
From the September 26 edition of CBS News' 60 Minutes:
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On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that during interviews conducted by 60 Minutes, Sen. John McCain was asked about the financial crisis on Wall Street while Sen. Barack Obama was not. In fact, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft asked Obama several questions about the financial crisis, including, "What caused it? Who's to blame?" and "Do you think that Secretary of the Treasury [Henry] Paulson has done the right thing?"
During interviews with Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft characterized Obama's economic agenda as "ambitious and expensive," citing the costs of Obama's infrastructure, alternative energy, and health care plans, but there was no similar characterization of McCain's tax agenda by correspondent Scott Pelley, who interviewed McCain, even though, according to the Tax Policy Center, McCain's tax plan would likely add $1.5 trillion more to the federal deficit over 10 years than Obama's tax plan.
In recent interviews with President Bush, Jim Lehrer and Scott Pelley did not challenge several false or misleading claims that President Bush made about Iraq.
Several media figures, including news reporters, echoed Republicans by employing the word "Democrat" as an adjective to refer to things or people of, or relating to, the Democratic Party.